We have been sprinting, friends, sprinting. Running hard and fast. We’re used to running, but this stretch, folks, has been a bit more intense than we like. I’m wondering if this is where you are.
We’re on the other side of this four-month sprint. Here are a few things we learned:
1. Anticipate sprints when you can.
We knew that these four months would be unusually stressful. Some of the stress we could anticipate. We knew a move was coming. We knew my speaking schedule was full. So, we cut everything that we could possibly could. We warned the kids that these months would not be the time for adding in lots of activities.
Additional stuff came in. A sick dog, a totaled car … life, folks, just life. And additional stuff always comes in. But, when you can anticipate a particularly sprint-y (Yes, I just invented that word) season, the life stuff just might not put you over the edge. Anticipate sprints when you can.
2. Don’t get addicted to the sprint.
There’s a certain game-on mentality that comes. Do you know what I mean? It’s necessary in the midst of the sprint. And there’s a rush that comes with it. But we are not made to sprint every day, all day.
Sabbath rhythm is good for us. Not in a legalistic-y way. (Yes, I’m on a word-making-up roll.) The rhythm of hard work, rest, connection with friends and family … so good.
But, when we start sprinting and we see how much we can accomplish in the hard press, sometimes it’s hard to pause. We like the rush. Do what you need to do, but don’t get addicted to the sprint.
3. Mark the end of the sprint.
Sprints have finish lines. Don’t lie to yourself and think that all of life is a sprint. It’s not. It just can’t be. If we treat all of life like a sprint we will burn ourselves out and hurt the people we love.
At its root, treating life like a sprint is selfish and prideful. If we’re treating all of life like a sprint we’re driving our agenda and elevating ourselves.
If you’re sprinting, look at your calendar and see when the pressure eases off. If there is no end in sight, then you probably need to talk to a friend and get a bit of perspective.
Determine the finish line and then mark it. Take a day off. Go out to dinner with your family or friends. Celebrate a well-run race. Mark the end of the sprint.
After a sprint, it takes some effort to get back to marathon mentality. This is where we are. Last week I sat down with my journal and took a bit of time to think about what I’ve learned in this sprint. I looked over my weekly commitments and thought about my big rocks.
We still have some adjusting to do.
When you find yourself in a sprint season, what helps you? How do you transition from sprinting to the day-in, day-out marathon of life? I’d love to hear from you!