I was praying about what to write for this blog as I went to the gym tonight. Don’t worry; I’m not one of those people. I will never post a picture of myself at the gym. I don’t think anyone needs to see me crying on Instagram. Anyways, I was hoping God would give me a kick-start to an idea, and it turns out He did.
My lady friend has been doing a heck of a lot of running lately. I’m so proud of her and so ashamed of myself. It’s like seeing a friend walk out of yoga when you’re walking out of a 5 Guys. I’m trying to be in shape, too. Trying to watch my waist line. Trying not to be out of breath from taking the recycling out. All that stuff.
Well, I did my usual dude lifts and then thought I’d give the elliptical a go. I hate those machines that tell you how many calories you’re burning as you go because it seems like I will never burn any at my rate. So I decided to push it up a few resistance notches so I could see the calorie numbers go faster. After exactly five minutes of chugging away, I felt I needed to stop. I dizzily got off the machine, waved at Brittany that I had to leave, stood outside and leaned against a tree with my head down awaiting that wonderful feeling of what was about to happen to me.
As I was waiting for a second viewing of my lunch, I was hit with this line, “You tried to do too much too fast.” It was accurate. Luckily, I didn’t have the gross outcome I was expecting and the fresh air helped; then I came back upstairs and immediately started writing this.
My efforts to take on more than I was ready to handle got me thinking about how we do that in more ways than just on a treadmill. Especially us twenty-somethings. Think about how jealous you get when you see people with job titles you want. Or driving cars you can’t afford. Or getting married while you’re sitting at home eating popcorn out of the bag. I’m betting it gets to you at times. And I’m betting that because those sorts of things get to me, too. You start feeling behind the times and like you’re failing. You feel like you’re not going fast enough to keep up.
The good news is that you’re probably right where you’re supposed to be. We’re not wired to handle too much too soon. There’s something very right about a training ground. Patience doesn’t come from getting everything you want right when you want it. The phrase “Too much too handle” might sound sexy, but when you’re clinging to a tree and dry heaving, you will start to understand how unattractive it really is. The growing and waiting process is vital in becoming someone your friends will respect and in making decisions that you will be proud of.
Look at some of these Disney Channel and MTV kids that hit it really big really soon. By financial and fame standards, America would say they are successful. Would you? Look what happens when people get everything they want without putting in any of the time. We can all list plenty of celebrities we genuinely pity.
There’s something right about setting a pace. I’ve gone running with friends who run marathons in my many attempts to get into running. (I’ve never had a runners high, and I’ve figured out what a runners high actually is—you have to be high to enjoy running.) The thing I’ve noticed about the runners who can go long distances consistently is that they are adamant about setting the right pace. And many times it’s way slower than you’d think it should be at first. I start running fast and after not too long I’m winded and laying facedown in the grass saying, “It is finished. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Distance runners know that to go farther, you don’t get there by sprinting. It’s all about pace.
Strangely enough, while I was trying to do too much too fast I was also listening to a Mark Batterson sermon. He was talking about David’s life when King Saul was chasing him down to kill him. David was told he would be Israel’s future king when he was around 15 years old and did not become king until he was 30. It’s estimated that David ran for his life from the king he was going to replace for around eight years. Eight years of fleeing. Eight years of struggling and waiting. We want to be King David but we don’t want to be running for your life David. I’d argue that we would not have the King David we all know and love had he not had all those years of waiting, training and struggling prior to reigning.
You might be headed to some pretty amazing opportunities in your life but not enjoying the pace your life is at right now. What we are enjoying or not enjoying is not always a great measuring tool to tell us if we are indeed in the right places. Celebrities can enjoy a lot of sex, drugs, and rock & roll, but as any Behind the Music episode can tell us, that fleeting enjoyment was leading to the hardest time in their lives.
Here’s a little rhyme for you: Too much too fast will burn you out and make you crash. That was fun. Can we all say it together?
So many people can make us feel like we’re behind. If you are doing all you know to do, asking questions, listening to advice and putting your trust in God, then you’re probably right where you need to be. Even if you don’t like where you are for a little while. Maybe God wants you to set a slower pace because He’s got some plans for you that won’t die out for a very, very long time.