Life is not a Marathon

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“People like to say life is a marathon, not a sprint,
but it’s actually more like a track workout.
We run hard and then rest hard.
We charge a hill and then chug some Gatorade.
We do some stairs, then some 200s, and then a few 400s.
In between, we rest.”

–Kevin DeYoung

I learned something interesting while doing research on unhurried living… elite athletes practice a rhythm called “periodization” — which means they give as much priority to rest and recovery as they do to practice and competition. 

I decided to apply this rhythm and give priority to my rest and refreshment this week. I left my normal surroundings for a few days and traveled to a place where I could enjoy God’s creation; I spent memory-building time with special people and took more time to read than normal.

This is not easy for me to do. I often feel guilty for taking time off. There is a age-old condemnation inside of me that says “work is good, rest is bad” (more about that later).

Thankfully, I have enjoyed running over the last few years, so I understand the idea of rest being important – even essential – to athletes. I could not run every single day or I would injure myself or burn out. I needed to care for my diet, my sleep, and my emotional state in order to run regularly.

I also understand the need for variety in the pace and activities of my workout. I alternated distances on different days and mixed in stretching, cycling, walking, and strength-building exercises as part of my well-being routine. That rhythm kept me healthy and helped me look forward to running.

This week, I am stronger, more energized, and more motivated because of the time I took to rest and recover.

Periodization is essential for athletes. It is essential for unhurried living also.

TRY THIS:

Think about your next week as a workout. How can you adjust your schedule to ensure you “run the stairs”, get refreshment, and also rest?

Feeling like a hypocrite

Well… three weeks into my renewed blogging rhythm, focusing primarily on unhurried living… and I can’t keep up! Or – better said – I didn’t slow down enough to do what I said I would do. I was too busy, not sleeping enough, and too tired to sit and reflect and clearly express my thoughts.

Ever feel like a failure? Ever feel like a hypocrite?

My guess is that your answer is a resounding “YES!”

The truth is that none of us is perfect, and we often set unrealistic goals for ourselves and leave no margin for unexpected interruptions or changes of plans. Learning to live unhurried continues to be a work in progress for me – it will be for you too.

One strong motivator for me to continue on this journey is recognizing the impact of my choices – not just for me, but also for the others connected to me.

Mark Buchanan says, “My biggest regret in life… being in a hurry… getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all that rushing.”

When I am doing well with unhurried living – or any other positive life choice, my attitude, energy, and interactions with others benefit also. I feel better about myself, and that improves the optimism, motivation, patience, and hope that I have and I reflect to others.

When I am not doing as well, I am typically more discouraged, frustrated, irritated, and ashamed. These attitudes inevitably get projected onto others through my critical spirit, impatience, withdrawal, and distracted interactions. I do not live in a bubble, and when I am not rested, refreshed, and at peace… others pay the price.

So, I am getting back on track today and looking forward to my reading time tomorrow. I’ll leave you with a great quote from a new book I started last Monday called “The Sacred Slow” by Alicia Britt Chole. I’ve just started it, but I liked it quite a bit already!

Ours is a hurried age in which speed is deified and waiting is demonized. 

Ours is a cluttered age in which noise is the norm and images constantly clamor for our attention. 

And in our hurried, cluttered age, faster has become synonymous with better, and experience has become a substitute for relationship.

The problem, however, is that faster experiences do not produce better relationships with people or with God.

How do you overcome feeling like a hypocrite and get back on track with your good goals?

What choices can you make today so that others benefit from your unhurried life?

The irony of an “unhurried” post on Black Friday

I have never really been a big fan of Black Friday shopping. Some years I couldn’t consider walking the stores with my belly still so full of Thanksgiving dinner. Often I have not yet thought through my Christmas gift list. It has never been because I have already finished my shopping, that’s for sure!

This year, I have been content to unhurrry my way through Thanksgiving, fully enjoying the special people who came to visit, without any plans for Christmas shopping yet. I know I will get drawn in to the festivities, the decorating, and even the present buying soon enough. However, I want to practice unhurried living as much as I can this season.

I have learned this… unhurried living has to be intentional. Scattered, frantic, boundary-less busyness comes naturally. Healthy rhythms of work and rest require planning. An unhurried pace requires commitment and it requires discipline. 

Kevin DeYoung says it well:

“We all know we need rest from work,
but we don’t realize we have to work hard just to rest.”

During our Thanksgiving prep, I worked hard to relax about what time we would eat and how things would look. We took time to get outside together, enjoy God’s beauty, and to thank Him for it and for the special people He has brought into our lives. We put our phones down more often – except for the mandatory beautiful food documentation 🙂 – and played games together. 

It wasn’t always easy, but it was intentional and that was progress.

How can you be more intentional about unhurried living?

SAVOR the moments. FOCUS your mind. REST your body.

Do you have hurry sickness?

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Have you got hurry sickness?

That has become a regular question in my home whenever anyone is impatient or irritated with another’s slowness. Sometimes I am asking myself. That is a rhetorical question! Some times I am asking my husband or someone else.

The symptoms have become all too familiar to us. We are more self-aware than we were years or even months ago. I’ve been told that self-awareness is a good thing, although sometimes I wish I was not so knowledgeable of my flaws and weaknesses.

Hurry is characterized by
continual rushing and hustle;
an overwhelming and continual sense of urgency and anxiousness.

As I have shared the message of unhurried living with others, some are quick to recognize and admit their own hurry sickness. Some are resistant to the idea, but become more convinced the more they think about it. Some people are VERY sick while others are less affected.

THINK ABOUT IT

Do you…?

  • work extra hours or finish work at home
  • hear from people: “I don’t want to bother you because I know how busy you are”
  • get flustered with delays and interruptions
  • often exceed the speed limit or weave to find the fastest lane
  • skip vacations
  • feel like you are always in the slowest line

WATCH THIS:   Mice Queue Video (1:37)

No matter the gravity of the sickness, the side effects are serious, so the question is worth asking… Do you have hurry sickness?

In Search of Unhurried Living

465e0c04434ee9f0fe6f21d01fde706e slow downI could easily describe myself as a recovering “hurry-aholic”.

I have a model Type A personality and a very full life that could give me plenty of excuses for living at a consistently frenetic pace.

Over the years, however, I have been learning to s…l…o…w… d…o…w…n.

It hasn’t been easy, and I still struggle at times, but all-in-all I am generally much more relaxed and at peace with my life and others. (Maybe one of the reasons you haven’t heard from me here in a long while.)

I have found that many others – maybe you? – also struggle with “hurry sickness”. So I thought I might revive my writing and share some of the things I have learned to counter our hurried life.

Some of what I plan to share comes from a “31 Days of Unhurried Living” campaign I directed last Spring. I will also add in new thoughts and content from books I will be reading. In the next few months, I am going to take three hours each Monday morning to read –  my new personal application of Unhurried Living.

So… if hurry has ever been an issue for you, or if your outer life is slow, but you would like to unhurry your heart and soul, please join with me! It could make a difference.