I’m slowly returning to the habit of running in the mornings. I’m hesitant to say I’m there, as it’s only week 2 of my renewed habit. But so far so good. When I start running, my first few steps feel great. And in my head I’m ready to run for miles. But what I’ve noticed is that my ability to run longer distances depends greatly on the pace at which I’m running. If I start out too fast, I run out of gas when I reach the hill that is on my regular route. And that’s frustrating, because I want to run for distance, I want to reach my goal. It’s funny how God uses regular stuff in my life to teach me bigger lessons. Because the fact is that there have been stretches here lately in my life where I’ve been running at a pace that wasn’t sustainable.
It’s sometimes funny to me that God commands us to rest. That same list of commands – you know the one that says “Do not kill”, “Do not steal”, “Do not covet”, “Don’t worship gods that don’t exist,” – it commands us – “Rest.” He commands us to slow down. He commands us to party and to celebrate with parties of epic proportion. But I get it more and more all the time. The goal of my life isn’t to finish this week well. It isn’t to finish the current project. It isn’t a promotion. The goal of my life is to finish my entire life well – hopefully another 50-60 years. It’s to finish with a marriage that gets richer and deeper with each passing year. It’s to have kids that love and respect me, and to have hundreds of memories made together doing normal stuff like riding bikes, wrestling, going to the park, having family vacations, and enjoying each other to the fullest. I want my wife and kids to love Jesus when it’s all said and done. I don’t want them to resent Jesus or His church because their husband / dad gave every last bit of himself to it and didn’t have anything left for them.
So I’m learning to control my pace. I’m getting better and better at having hard lines in my calendar when I won’t meet with someone, I won’t add that other “opportunity”, I won’t travel, I won’t answer my phone. Because I want to run for distance. I want to make it to the end. The hills are going to come, I know that. There will be times when the pace picks up, but it can’t be for long stretches. And there has to be down time. There has to be rest.
So how are you doing in this? Does your calendar have hard lines in it? When you are home are you actually home or are you still somewhere else – focused on the next meeting, the last meeting? Are you always available for a phone call? How often are you checking your email? Do your wife and kids see the back of your iphone more than they see your face?
Run for distance. Take the opportunity this week to blow something off in the name of Jesus. Control your pace. No one else will care for your heart, your soul, your marriage, your family. It’s up to you.