The Day My Life Changed Despite COVID-19

Two weeks ago today, my life suddenly changed. And I didn’t even know it was coming.

No, it wasn’t a spiritual transformation. But it did have elements of water baptism….let me explain…

Fed up with this COVID quarantine, one afternoon our family snuck over to a friend’s house to have some much needed face to face time with other human beings.

Fifteen minutes after our arrival, the kids all went down to the “swamp” on this friend’s property and the adults stayed up at the house discussing the deep and funny things of life.

Needing some sunshine, the adults decided to walk outside and talk gardens and chickens and tractors. I guess there was a lull in the conversation and my friend had the bright idea to go find the kids. She asked if I was up for it, and naively I said, “Sure! I’d love to see this famous swamp my kids always talk about.”

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How Did We Know This Was It?

A few weeks ago a friend asked me a thought provoking question. We were talking about dating and relationships among teenagers and she said, “So how did you and Adam KNOW this was it? I mean did you really know the first day that you would get married? What did all that look like?”

Good question right?

Those of you who know our story know that Adam and I met when we were 16 – summer of our sophomore year. We dated the remaining 2 years of high school and then married two months after graduation.

That being more than 20 years ago, I had to blow some dust off the old memory files to properly answer my friend’s question.

How did we know we had something special?

In a way, relationships are like panning for gold. At first glance the gold nuggets look like all the other pebbles around it. It’s not until you shake off some dirt and rinse them off that you discover that little pebble of dirt is really gold!

I hear people say it was love at first sight and I knew from day one we would get married. And maybe they did. But I think some of that is easier to say in hindsight. For me, I didn’t know that first day.

What I did know was: this guy is cute, there’s a twinkle in his eye that says he likes me and I’d like to get to know him more.

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Who Knew Slowing Down to Speed Up was a Thing?

So I have signed up to run a 15K race in about three weeks. I have never run that far before. My running career up to this point has been 3-5 miles.

There was something about this race that challenged me. Actually it doesn’t take much to challenge me. One day a friend of mine said Hey, you should run the Fresh 15 with me. That’s all it took. Challenge accepted!

Being more of a short distance runner I had no idea how to train for long mileage except to just run longer. So I tried that. Just running longer. At the same speed. And guess what happened….I couldn’t do it. I thought there is no way I can run 9 miles. I’m gonna die!

I did a little 15k training research online. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had been pushing myself too hard. (My husband laughed when I told him this!) The only training methodology I had was go as far as you can as fast as you can. And for short distances, maybe that’s OK. But for running over 9 miles…I was right…I couldn’t do it.

As I researched further I learned the trick. The trick is to slow down. To not run every day at 90-100%. Run at 60-70% and train your body in that middle endurance heart rate zone. It’s totally counter-intuitive to me but I see it working! Who knew the key to speeding up was slowing down?

Well life feels about like that right now. For 20 years Adam and I have operated on go as fast as you can as far as you can each day. That’s what’s been required. But now, especially after our Independence Day, it’s like God has slowed down the intensity level and is developing something different. Developing the middle ground endurance zone.

And just like how running at half speed is hard for me, doing life at what I consider half speed is hard for me. It feels like I’m not doing enough. I’m used to pushing myself to failure, as Caleb calls it. He’s a heavy weight lifter, and failure is that rep that you can’t get up. He says it’s not healthy to hit that point at every workout.

I hate to admit it, but that’s what I naturally do. I push myself – both in running and in life – to failure, or the breaking point, regularly. Somehow I’ve trained myself to go and go until I hit that point and that’s how I know I’ve given 100%, because there’s nothing left. Honestly, there’s a satisfaction in knowing I gave 100%.

And now, the Lord is asking me to be OK with giving what I think is 60-70% and saying this is OK. You can’t live all of life in heart-rate zone 5. That’s for sprinting. Short distances. It’s not sustainable over a marathon. WHICH IS LIFE!

The Lord’s asking me to find joy and satisfaction with the less exciting things of life. The things I perceive as less effort but in reality are just less crisis and stress.

And I’m struggling why?

Because I’m crazy and what I call a closet adrenaline junkie. I’ve caught myself thinking up ways to create a crisis just so I can attack it and feel the adrenaline again. But then I asked the Lord to take those thoughts away! Haha.

I know not everyone shares this struggle, and I have put off sharing this post for weeks because I didn’t think it would be relevant for others to read. But the Lord keeps bringing this struggle back to mind and using it teach me, so I have to share.

This is one reason I love running. The Lord has used it so many times to teach me and speak to me. It’s not just the physical training that matters, it’s the inner heart training. What is that in your life? What are little life examples that God uses to speak to you?

 

Making Time for Special Things

One of my goals this year is to do things that are special. And by special I mean those things that when I do them, time stops. I can’t tell if 5 minutes or 5 hours have gone by.

When I make these special things a priority, I feel an increased capacity to deal with the daily problems. Whether it’s figuring out how to diagram direct objects or explaining how to reduce fractions, somehow I have more to give than when I chased getting all the things done and pushed off doing my special thing until the work was done.

I often think of the verse in Hebrews that says, ”…He [Jesus] sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 10:12) When Jesus finished his work, He sat down. I try to emulate that and not sit down till I’m finished. The problem is, I’m never finished. There are always more dishes to wash – or unload, more clothes to wash – or fold – or put away – or what’s that called – iron?! There’s always more I think I need to do.

Finding time to do special things feels like a reward I need to earn and so it gets pushed back to tomorrow, and tomorrow and next Wednesday, and when I can do a better job, be more organized, not have so much going on, when the kids aren’t toddlers, or teenagers, when I’m not tired, when I don’t have to wash my hair…

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