I heard somewhere that we have a tendency to overestimate how much we think we can get done and underestimate how long we think it will take. Do you find this to be true? Have you ever started a day thinking, I'm going to accomplish a, b, and c, and most like d through k as well! But then you get about halfway through the day and realize you'll be lucky if you even finish a or b?
I'm not exactly sure why, but it seems like we tend to treat ourselves a little more like machines than humans in quite a lot of situations. It's almost like since we see all the incredible advances in technology around us, we assume that we too should be able to move through our lives and our tasks with greater speed and efficiency...
Why on earth does it still take me half a day to do our laundry? Isn't there a quicker way to get exercise than doing stuff that takes a whole half an hour?
How about growing strong relationships? Shouldn't I be able to streamline that process somehow? And hey while we're at it, is there some kind of faster way to make my prayers feel more meaningful and rich?
Maybe you don't have these exact questions, but I bet all of us tend to believe we should be more efficient in some area of our lives. Could it be though, that while technology keeps expanding what is possible, there are limits God has put in place that we're not meant to go beyond? If this is the case, how do we determine what those limits are and how do we keep ourselves within them?
Maybe one helpful perspective is to continually see our lives and our work as more like a marathon than a sprint. Whatever it is you're working at, there is probably always going to be a temptation to get it done faster. I feel like it is a constant battle to realize I just can't actually finish things as quickly as I wish I could. And my hunch is that this battle is only going to get more intense as the world and technology continue to progress.
I suppose there is something to be said for simply being aware of this possibility. At least this way it won't take us by surprise when we find ourselves in the midst of the battle.
If we were to start telling ourselves that we're running a marathon, not a sprint, I wonder if we would worry less when our work seems to take the equivalent of 26.2 miles rather than 100 meters. I wonder if we would pace ourselves differently. I wonder if we would celebrate each mile marker without feeling frustrated about the many mile markers we still have ahead.
I've never been a sprinter; almost all of my experiences with running were in long distance. I'm sure there are times in life when we do have a task that is more like a sprint. But I have a feeling too often we try to make something a sprint when in reality, it is meant to be a marathon.
When I ran cross country in high school, one of the workouts we would sometimes do was called a "long slow distance" run. The point was simply to try to intentionally keep a slow pace so that we could run for a long period of time. It was the slowness of our pace that allowed us to have the perseverance we needed to keep going.
Could this same concept apply to our lives as Christians? As people who pray? While everything around and perhaps sometimes even within us seems to be screaming at us to go faster, to get more done, to be more efficient, could it be that Jesus is calling us to pace ourselves differently? To slow down so that we can persevere?
I'm not sure I've quite figured out yet how to do this pacing thing well. Maybe a lot of us still have room to grow. But as we run this marathon of life, may we be encouraged to know that every little step on the way to completing the race matters. Today, as you continue running your race, I hope I can be a voice on the sidelines cheering you on and reminding you that the work you are doing may be long, slow work. But it's good. Don't give up.
Pray with me...
... for all in the ACSD community to persevere in their work day by day, moment by moment
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2
... for God to lead us individually and as a community to the work He has for us to do
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
... for a spirit of encouragement throughout all parts of the ACSD community
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Pictured above: my good friend Laura from high school, an amazing runner who now does significantly more long-distance running than I do! (instagram.com/mommyrunfast)
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly on Wednesdays throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator
Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory