02 December 2009

Pacing and choices

After running 8 miles on Monday, I haven't been able to get out and run again and it's frustrating, it's actually worrying me.  It's not that I haven't felt good enough to run or wanted to run, it's that I simply haven't had the time to, that's not true either.  I haven't chosen to run, and that's what has me worried.  It's reminding me that I need to learn to pace myself better, both in my running and in my life.  I can't start out at such a torrid pace that I burn out or give up before I've even really begun.  This is the pattern of my life that I desperately, that I need to change.   

My wife and I were talking about it the other morning when we found the kitchen a mess again, and we wondered why it was that we both have a tendency to take our dirty dishes to the sink and leave them there without taking the extra step to put them in the dishwasher 3 feet away?  Why am I willing to just settle for doing things halfway?  Then I look around my life and wonder why it seems so chaotic!  I don't want running to be the same way.  I don't want to do this halfway.  I don't want to run occasionally, I feel called to be a runner.  

My struggle with all of this is that, like a lot of people, my track record shows that I'm good at making a resolution to change and do things differently, but then after a little while the old habits take over and I'm back to the same old routine.  The lazy, procrastinating me has won out and the new, better me waits until I get frustrated enough to make another resolution to change.  This up and down roller coaster of commitments and relapses just has to stop.  It has to be different this time.  If I don't do it now, I don't know when it will happen.  I can't expect there to be a better time in the future to make these changes.  There will always be a whole host of excuses to make.  As Rage Against the Machine (yes, there are pastors who like them) says, "What better place than here?  What better time than now?"

I'm sure that this is my biggest obstacle to this whole process.  I'm good at making really big commitments, but not at following through with all the little choices along the way.  Like marriage, it's not just one big commitment that you make, it's a daily, moment by moment choice.  I've made the commitment to being a runner, now the challenge is to keep making the daily choices that go along with that, otherwise the commitment means nothing.  I'm also making the commitment to change a lot of other things in my life, and I need to keep making the little choices that go along with those things, too.  

The first step is to recognize that I actually do have a choice.  I can choose to put my dirty dishes in the dishwasher.  I can choose to spend 10 minutes picking up the house before I sit down at the computer or in front of the TV or with a book.  I can choose to go to bed and wake up 30 minutes earlier to run.  I can make those choices.  The question each day and each moment is whether I will make them or not.  To quote another favorite band of mine, Alter Bridge, "I look inside of myself.  Will I find some kind of conviction?  Will I bid the hero farewell?  Will I be defined by things that could have been?  I guess time will only tell."

In the end, I know that there will be times when I fail, but I trust that by God's grace I'm forgiven and freed to continue to try.  My choices will not completely define me in the end.  My identity as a child of God is secure, and thanks to the daily gift of repentance and forgiveness, every day is a new chance to make a different choice.  The question is, what will I choose?  Each day I have to tell myself, "I choose to run."


Lindy said...

If it's not too cold out tomorrow I know you will get out and run. We will also work on other things!