It’s A Marathon, Not a Sprint

by | Feb 22, 2020

I am sure some of my friends see this title and have started laughing. It’s something I used to say a lot in my early and mid-twenties (which is further away now than I would like to admit) – I can’t say for sure how it started but it became one of my favorite sayings.

A few days ago I was reminded of this perspective as I was talking with a doctor in passing about short term sacrifices for the long term goal and his response “It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint.”  For me these sacrifices are probably what I assume most new moms treasure and maybe at times could take for granted, like not being able to pick him up and hold when I want or simply that it requires help for me to get him out of his bed with all his IV lines, or that he can only not be an “astronaut” with his sub-atmospheric machine for about 20 minutes which occurs at feeding time. But for our long-term goal, these sacrifices I will gladly make, if it means he continues to stay in the best health possible as we wait for his new heart.

These last couple of days I have reflected on some ‘concepts and conditioning’ I learned throughout my childhood of playing competitive sports and that I have unintentionally continued to nurture into my adulthood.

I have always been more of an endurance athlete – ‘mental toughness’ as my high school basketball coach used to say is something I acquired long ago.  It has served me well in my late twenties as I decided to pursue distance running – when a goal of accomplishing 1 marathon to be apart of the 1% of runners turned into 9 or when two summers ago, I decided it was time to shift my running spirit and I dipped my toe into the world of triathlons. Although I still need to work on my cycling endurance, I have often kidded that I missed my true calling of being an endurance swimmer. Put me in a class of sprinters and I will finish dead last but put me up against those same people for a longer distance and I will thrive. Why?

Mind over matter – that seems easy enough for me, at least when it comes to athletics.  Now here, at day 16 in the hospital with no way of knowing the distance that lie ahead and this seems like a whole different ballgame. Have we even made the transition from the swim to the bike yet or have I made it to mile 13.1 where we get to say ‘It’s all downhill from here’? 

As I spent some time listening to worship music today and in prayer, I was reminded of an exercise that started when I was a freshman in high school.  I would start to “imagine” or “visualize” winning a state championship.  I have no idea where how this developed or why I started doing it but you know what? The last game of my career, we won the state championship.

It’s a practice I have used over and over again in my marathon and triathlon training, I picture myself crossing the finish line after 26.2 miles or transitioning from the swim to the bike to the run to the finish. It’s by doing this exercise in training that helps carries me during the race – when you hit the “wall” around mile 18-19 you can close your eyes and focus on the finish line which helps block out the aches, the pains, the fatigue. I know many small business owners who do something similar by creating a “Vision Board” – same concept.

Many times in prayer over the last few months, even before Townes made his debut, I would sit in the presence of Jesus and ask him show me my son.  I have been given some of the most beautiful snapshots of what has already been accomplished in the heavenly realm. I have seen Townes in footed pajamas curled up next to Tucker in his dog bed. I have seen him with his Pops playing with the train set and making cookies with Grammy in the kitchen. I have seen him with Scott.  I have even gotten a quick glimpse of him as a young adult.

“The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)  I have been given these treasures or a little “manna” (Revelation 2:17) from heaven as his Godmother would say as a foundation of hope. 

Hope in the Greek means a confident expectation of good and that is who my Savior is – Hope. So when I hit the “wall” like today, Day 16, I close my eyes and remember these sweet, precious glimpses of the future I have been given. I hold fast to these promises.  These promises keep me grounded, waiting in steadfast anticipation of seeing what has already been done in the heavenly realm manifest itself here.  My son is whole and healed and has a new heart – “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future'” Jeremiah 29:11.

Jesus has come to give life, to be our hope, to give us everything in abundance, more than we can expect – life in its fullness until you overflow (John 10:10 TPT).  So I will continue to stand still, to wait upon the Lord and when the wall hits, I will lean even more into his love because its a marathon, not a sprint.

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