Stamina

Lately parenting has felt like a marathon.  And I just hit the “wall”.  It’s that place that feels like an impasse….where I need to constantly choose how I will respond.  Will I jump to anger?  Will I use a calm voice?  Will I remember that I’m the boundary setter and take it seriously?  Will I follow through on my threats?  And while we’re at it, why am I threatening in the first place?!  Will I respond in love even when I’m seriously feeling livid inside?  {I know that word “livid” is pretty intense, but sometimes, I really can feel the blood boiling….}

I read this quote this week, “I will not rest until GOD and LOVE are synonymous in my own mind.” I love it.  That push to justice that is unrelenting.  But, sometimes I just want to kind of hide God and Love behind my back and pretend that they aren’t there.  Like my actions and words don’t need to be bound by them.  It’s not the kind of hiding like “I’m embarrassed about having my relationship with God be the foundational piece of what guides me.”  On the contrary, it’s the kind of hiding like “I don’t want to have to be held accountable.  I want to be hypocritical sometimes, and get away with it.  Not to be called on my unloving and irrational moments.”

The newness of our move has pretty much worn off.  And with that is great relief and yet, great fear.  A sprint is often do-able because you only have to make it full force for a short period of time.  It’s like summer camp.  When Matt and I served as the Program Manager/Director, we would often share with the staff that if the community and intensity of summer lasted all year long, no one would survive or come out unscathed.  It’s just too much.  And that’s where stamina and pacing comes in.

Stamina comes from long term, consistent, faithful practice.  It isn’t earned or given overnight.  It is hard-fought and a product of long suffering.  It comes from and through falls, mistakes and perseverance.  And yes, I know, I know…..it’s the same with parenting and setting boundaries for instance.  A training plan that is followed through on is imperative.  Consistency is a must.  And sometimes, after being up Lord knows how many times in the night and fighting off the latest virus Alex brought home, I just lose my drive and stamina is checked at the back door.

And rest, the kind Steve talked about on Sunday, true rest, seems impossible to fathom, let alone experience.  Band-aid and stop gap “rest” measures are proven inadequate.  I’m actually beginning to wonder if the true rest is only possible when we’re not sleep deprived?  How do you rest in the midst of chaos, though??  I know that Jesus, at times, pulled away from the crowds to spend time with God.  Not sure how else he could have done what he did without that time.   I know he’s God and all, but seriously.

So, stamina, must in some shape or form, be deeply connected to rest.  The most basic form of rest.  Eight consecutive hours of sleep???  WHAT??  And then from there, the chance to actually enter into active, God-saturated rest.  Intentional rest.  Rest that can lead to vision, goals, connection with the Source of our stamina.

Luckily my parents are here for a week.  They are like a perfectly placed “rest stop” for me.  Back up has arrived!  But I don’t want to use their visit as an excuse or another temporary band-aid.  It’s time to make a few decisions and remind myself of what changes need to happen for long-term survival.

For example, after tomorrow, no more Music School.

More time to enjoy the flowers….

More time to have a leisurely Saturday walk to coffee and the farmer’s market….

More time to soak up the rays and take a nap…

More time to hear the stories of others and offer them some love and compassion and friendship….

And more time to rest.

Even if it just means the shut eye kind of rest.

{c’mon, Drew, sleep through the night….

sleep through the night….

sleep through the night…}

3 thoughts on “Stamina

  1. Amen! I was thinking about this recently as I’ve been trying to wean Bea off night feeding. She & I look like we’re in a wrestling match often at 3 AM in the morning. At one point, I seriously thought that I was going to just drop her on the ground and go to bed on my own. I can’t imagine having to solo parent 2 since I can barely manage one. But good reminder that God is present and grants us rest. And consistency IS key! I never really thought about it!

  2. Love this post. I totally believe that stamina is built not by running a marathon but learning to gift yourself with moments of recovery after bouts of stress. Your heart is strengthened this way–interval training. Push hard, then rest. Push hard then rest. I used to train physically this way with running and it worked 10x better than just pure running. It is the same with life, yet we are so wired to push and run and never allow the rest!
    Sometimes it feels like young motherhood is one long run with no rest. 🙂 All the more reason to seek after a moment of recovery: a nap, a quiet moment in your bedroom staring out the window, a drive, a walk, a moment in Target all by yourself…whatever that recovery looks like for you, take it!
    I try to teach my kids this principal too. Today we stayed in our pj’s all day. Yesterday was busy. It’s okay to not do anything. It’s okay to pull your kids out of this and that, refrain from another play date so they can just come home and ride their bikes or color in their room.
    Of course, we are their biggest examples so they see it when I fail. But I am always trying to “interval train” in every area of my life. I think God smiles and agrees with my way of life. He did it too when he took his first Sabbath. 🙂

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