Even six months ago, I inwardly rolled my eyes when people would come into the running store where I work and say they didn’t have time to run a marathon. The past three marathons I’ve done haven’t taken up too much of my time. I usually run two days during the week and have a long run on Saturday morning. I would inconsistently cross-train, usually swimming, two days a week as well. The mid-weeks runs creep up to 10 miles, which can be hard to fit in before or after work. The Saturday long runs may keep you out all morning, but still, not too bad overall. How can you not have time?
Well, now I am eating my words! I don’t have time to run a marathon!!! But I am in four weeks!
I’m in the process of going back to school to be a teacher which means I’m taking two online classes, student teaching one period a day, preparing for student teaching, and working two part-time jobs. Some days I’m on the go from 6 am til 8:30 pm. I know, what a sob story! But now I can really relate. I work most Saturdays and go to church on Sundays, then work again, so blocking out four hours for a 20 mile run is pretty tricky! This week, it’ll happen on Friday between 4-8pm. Talk about a happening weekend.
On the other hand, since I’m so busy, probably one of the first things to go on a full day would be a run. Knowing that I have this 26.2 mile goal ahead of me keeps me commited to running throughout the week. So in a sense, while I don’t have time to run a marathon, more than anything, I need to have a marathon to run!
An “Ah-Hah” I was thinking about that this morning and suddenly had an “ah-hah” moment that is, admittedly, cheesy. But here goes: I realized that my faith is a lot like running. In the seasons where I am most busy, most likely to watch spiritual disciplines slip off my desk, those are the times when I most need moments of rest and a chance to refocus on Christ. With running, it may feel artificial to schedule in time to hit the track or in this case, study the next chapter of I Corinthians, but that doesn’t mean the time I set aside won’t be increasing my strength for the upcoming race or my belief in God’s love for me. (In fact, my 8:30 pm track work-out on Monday was awesome! Maybe because I knew I had to make the most of my time?)
Back to Running So maybe a marathon isn’t realistic for you. But you need a goal to keep yourself disciplined no matter how busy you are. Find a 5k or 10k. Pick a park and commit to hiking all the trails. Find something that keeps you strong. This is not my season to be in two Bible studies or lead a Sunday school class. But I have to find something to keep Truth impacting my heart and life. (For instance, I’ve been listening to sermons while doing computer work at one of my part-time jobs.) Maybe that’s memorizing a passage, spending time mentoring/being mentored by one person twice a month. I think what’s important, is setting your priorities and creating practical, realistic ways to keep those first.