This post is a post I am writing and honestly, not sure if I will actually post it. But the thoughts and understanding are rattling around in my brain and need to come out and come alive. So, dear readers, know that this post is both my confession and my processing at the same time. On this note, you may want to just close this blog and head on to other more important things you probably have to do the week of Christmas!
I’m not sure I’ve ever been so happy for a year to end. And at the same time, I want to delay the end of 2010. Sounds like I contradict myself? Let me explain. I’m so happy for this year to end because I reached way past my limits and didn’t take care of myself. So, in this way I want the year to end so I can do 2011 differently than 2010! I don’t want 2010 to end because I reached way past my limits and didn’t take care of myself and I need to have this rest time!
I’m not sure about you, but some lessons in life are so painful that there is no way in the world I want to not get the lesson. I am starving to learn. You know what I mean? I’m asking God, teach me, teach me, teach me everything because I don’t want to take this class again!
The lessons are plentiful and I’m so glad for them even though they come at a great cost to me and others. I think that’s the hard part. Lessons involve making mistakes and mistakes mean I’ve sinned and well, truth be told, sin is definitely a messy business! My mistakes don’t affect just me. Darn, I wish that weren’t true. But it’s irresponsible of me to not accept that truth. So, what have I learned? Ah, let me share. Because if you could learn via me and not learn via experience, well then that makes some of the pain worthwhile!!
Lesson #1 – Know what pace you are keeping. As I started into 2010, I knew that I had a lot on my plate. When I look at what I had on my plate first quarter alone, I knew that was going to really take a lot out of me! I started out by scheduling a down weekend every month. Thinking that if I can just rest one weekend per month, I can hold this pace. Well, that was probably a great plan. But, I didn’t carry out the plan. One thing led to another and the weekends of rest didn’t happen. I lived 2010 at a sprint pace when I needed to be operating under a marathon pace. If I were in a race for a marathon, the difference in my minute per mile pace and my heart rate compared to a sprint would be huge! Probably a 30 beat difference in heart rate and probably a 2 minute difference or more in per mile pace. So, I would NEVER dream of trying to keep a sprint pace during a marathon. I wouldn’t dream of it because the consequences would be painful – barely finishing, not finishing, passing out, blowing up and getting very sick, etc… So, why in my life do I run at sprint pace when I know the race is a marathon? I’m stupid, prideful( I can do this..it’s not that bad. I can continue. November is coming. If other people can do this, then so can I, etc..), not being able to see that I am tired, recognizing signs of burning out and down playing them. In a race, if I saw symptoms of going too hard, and not being able to continue that pace, I would absolutely slow down. I have a pace I need to live by that is an endurance pace and I lived last year at a sprint pace. So, I know now that the cost of living at a sprint pace longer than a sprint is supposed to be is very unwise. Just like I can’t do a half-ironman triathlon at my sprint triathlon pace – I’d blow UP. It’s not that I can’t do the distance, it’s just I can’t do the distance at that pace!! What will I do differently? I will keep my weekends of rest and not let things creep in. I will recognize that the mess created by carrying on a sprint pace in life is too messy and painful – not just to me but to those I love. I have a responsibility to keep the right pace not just for me, but just as importantly I owe it to those I love to maintain the right pace. I can do all things through Christ but He didn’t say do “all” things and He didn’t say do them right now!
Lesson #2 – Spend time like money. Last year, Robert and I took a finance management course called Financial Peace. It was a remarkable class and changed our lives. Each week we sit down and budget, everything, yes, everything! We intentionally spend our dollars and tell them where to go. It’s amazing how when you tell your money what to do, it does it! I need to spend time like money. It’s easy to just squeeze in something here or something there and think – that’s just an hour. Or that’s just 30 minutes. But, when you add up the things that you slip in they add up. Just like spending money. A few dollars here and a few dollars there. Well, that adds up. If I overdraw my checking account, it’s very expensive. If I overdraw my time, that too is very expensive. The important/non-urgent stuff gets neglected to manage the less important! What will I do differently? I will realize and determine the cost of my time and spend it on the most important things first! Just like Robert and I are protective of our money, trying to make the most of it and spend it in the wisest way, I’ll need to make those same decisions about my time. I have to add up everything – is an hour appointment an hour? No, there’s time to get ready for it, the time in the appointment, the time to travel there and back, etc. It is much more than an hour! Last week, I tracked nearly every minute of my day! Tedious to do let me tell you. But it was an eye opener about how long things take. For example, I make a menu each week for our lunches and dinners, from this menu, I create a grocery list and then I grocery shop. Then, I usually spend a few hours making the lunch stuff and then every other day I spend time making the dinners. It took me 45 minutes to figure out what to make for lunches and dinners – ok, I’m picky, I try new stuff all the time, etc… 45 minutes..and I do this every week? I’ve done this since easily 1992 or 1993! Guess what? I used to have the time to do that. I don’t anymore. So, my solution, I’m going to make a menu of lunches and dinners for one month – 4 weeks. We’ll eat the same stuff each week for 4 weeks. Robert could care less. Now, I’ve reduced my planning time and my grocery list will be the same for 4 weeks! Other than the fresh stuff, I should be able to buy all the non-perishables once at the beginning of the month and then weekly, just pick up the necessary fresh stuff. I have found a lot of time and we can still eat great, healthy food!!
Lesson #3 – REST. Each week. God created the earth and all it’s living things in 6 days and then He rested. If He needs to rest, why don’t I? Am I not made in His image? Why, yes I am! Rest, what is rest? I think I’ve thought rest is a day off. A day off from work and a day off from training. But, then I do all that running around and house stuff and life stuff. At the end of my “rest” day..am I rested? Have I rested? Nope! I have not. This past Saturday I rested. I did some laundry, I cooked some food, I took a nap (ok, I took 2), I read from 2 different books that I’m reading. I walked the dogs with Robert. I watched the Hawaiian Ironman with Robert at a friends house. I went to church with Robert. I was in bed before 9 pm. Now, that’s a rest day! It was awesome on Saturday to identify what a rest day was!! I want to be home, I don’t want to be running around. I want to read. I love to cook without being in a rush. I love to take naps. I love triathlon and I’m happy to watch and talk triathlon any time with anyone. I love, love, love church! I love, love, love being with Robert! And I love being home alone for a few hours too. That’s a rest day for me. What does a rest day look like for you?
Lesson #4 – Be clear about relationships. Choose them carefully and wisely. Manage them, understand them, develop them. This takes time, investment, trust and clearly seeing yourself and those you are in relationship with. I read a book this fall called, Spirit Controlled Temperament by Tim LaHaye. The title doesn’t sound very fun or slick does it? But, wow! What a read. The first part of the book identifies 4 personality types, the most commonly found blend of these types, the strengths and weaknesses of each. It was totally enlightening. Not only to see myself clearly but it was even more exciting to also see others more clearly. It really changed everything and will, as I understand it more help me to be a better wife, friend and coach. But, that part of the book was not the best part of the book – it was just an “intro” and set up for the best part of the book! The second half of the book talks about God’s plan for using our strengths and getting rid of our weaknesses. Oh, as I read I cried. The hope of strengthening my strengths and God, through the Holy Spirit developing the Fruits of the Spirit in me to replace my weaknesses! Only God could be so cool as to have this plan. The Fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control. You can find them in Galatians 5:22, 23. This is going to take time. I am asking God to transform me. I’m reading the book again. Robert and I are reading the book together.
So, my confession is, in 2010 I didn’t manage my pace, I didn’t manage my time, I didn’t rest and I didn’t manage my relationships well. My processing are the four lessons I’ve listed above. Fear is a powerful motivator and the right amount of fear can motivate positively. I will not have 2011 be a repeat of 2010! This fear will motivate me to live out the lessons I’ve shared above. I need to live at the right pace for me, I need to spend my time like money, I need to rest and I will work with God and my dear friends to strengthen my strengths, start getting rid of the weaknesses and start developing Fruits of the Spirit.
These are big changes, but I know that God has helped me to see and to learn my lessons..so I’m confident that with His help and with my determination to be all that God has designed for me to be that 2011 will please Him more than 2010!!
The Lord’s love never ends. His mercies never stop. They are new every morning. Lamentations 3: 21, 22.
I thank the Lord for His mercies!!!
Next blog….here’s the teaser:
I’ve been reading Zig Ziglar’s book Over the Top – it is fabulous. Towards the end he gives this acronym for goals.
Godly Objectives Assurring Lasting Success