I’ve always been told that the Christian life is not a sprint, but a marathon. It’s not about rushing through as fast as you can and getting to a specific destination. It’s about endurance and perseverance. I personally am a sprinter… figuratively that is, and especially when it comes to the idea of sanctification. One thing that I’ve been learning this last year is to be okay with the process of growth in my life. I’d like to think that I’ll reach perfection someday if I weed out all the bad and do all the good, but that’s not the Gospel, and I’ll be glorified and perfected only after my time on this earth is done. I don’t always make the kind of progress I’d like to… sometimes its two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes I have to relearn lessons that I thought I already knew. Life is a little more messy than my black and white mind likes to admit.
The idea that life is a marathon is a very good one in many regards. I think it has helped me and it gets its point across. However, recently I’ve been thinking about another running metaphor that might work too. As much as I joke about not being an athlete, I did run cross country and track in high school. I remember my coach making us do interval training. It was by far my least favorite day. Interval training is an intense workout where you run a set amount of time alternating between sprinting and jogging. For ten minutes you’ll be running at your top speed and then the next ten minutes you’ll be at a slower pace, and then you’ll start sprinting again.
I’ve felt like my life has reflected this the last few weeks here at Project. The month of June was intense for me. There was a lot of struggle and tears and processing and growth. And then all of a sudden everything started to click and make sense and a revelation was made. And now here I am in July, and nothing nearly as exciting as the level of growth I experienced in June has happened. As I was brainstorming about what to write about for this post, I got frustrated because I feel so uninspired by my lull in growth.
I’ve heard that if you aren’t growing, you’re dying, or going backwards in your faith. That always stressed me out and made me feel this pressure to constantly be growing at an intense pace where I am making leaps and bounds of growth every day. And when that’s not the case, it made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough or that something was wrong with me.
I think one thing I’ve seen in both my life and in those around me is that growth is not always a consistent process, and that is okay. That’s why the idea of an interval run seems to fit so well. Sometimes you are sprinting in this life. God is bringing you through an intense period of growth and learning. Sometimes you are jogging. You are still moving forward, but it is at a slower pace. Maybe God is allowing you time to process or is teaching you how to rest in Him or is preparing you for a season to come. And that is a gift! I certainly wouldn’t have the endurance to frantically sprint spiritually through my entire life, even when I am extremely grateful for the results. It is a blessing when he gives us a slower and more relaxing season, and I do think it is rare. My encouragement is to not take it for granted… learn how to humbly accept where God has you. You’re there for a reason.