The following is a guest post by my friend Gloryanna Boge. She’s a writer-runner-mama who I met through the Hopewriters writing group online. She and I share similar hearts and lots of Voxer messages across the miles.
By Gloryanna Boge
I’ve really missed coaching high school Cross Country these last couple of years. I coached for five years and after my son turned one, I decided to quit. It’s been three and a half years since I last coached.
I had several situations arise this past year that made me long to coach again. My heart got that twinge with each running opportunity that came across my path. I’d reminisce about morning practices, long runs, and competitive meets.
When coaching cross country, it’s important to keep the big picture in mind: the big race. Usually this means the regional meet where you hope your team qualifies for state.
Cross country is a unique team sport. Teamwork is incredibly important. Practices are vital. Each individual runner’s improvement over the course of the season is key to remaining competitive during the season.
To keep the big picture in mind we always coached the kids to run their best time. Not just for the team, but for personal improvement too. I’d always say to the kids, “It’s about stringing your days together. Every day you’re putting money into a savings account. With each race you make a withdrawal. Each day that we practice takes you one step closer to your goal.”
We’d be running repeats on the track and the kids would get tired of hearing me holler that this next set of 400 repeats was like putting money into their savings account.
Gosh, I miss that time in my life.
Back in January when I picked a word to focus on this year, I knew the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart the phrase, “stringing days together.” I wasn’t exactly sure what that phrase was going to look like as the year played out, but I trusted God would reveal himself to me.
Now, we are in December, and I’m just beginning to grasp what this phrase has meant for me this year. I think it will mean something for you too.
Holiday season has begun. Schedules are filling up even more so than normal. Busy is about to take over.
If you’re anything like me, I tend to hit pause on routines during the holidays. I tell myself things like, “I’m going to eat that extra cinnamon roll. It’s the holidays!” Or, “I’m going to sleep in because I was at the party late. It’s the holidays!”
“It’s the holidays” becomes an excuse. Is it just me??
This excuse somehow creeps its way into my relationship with God. The rhythms I’ve made to cultivate my relationship with Him, like prayer, Bible, or journaling time, get disrupted.
My practice of stringing days together with God (which can look like a lot of different things), becomes few and far between.
When I get this way, all the other areas of my life get disrupted.
If you think about it, we thrive when we string days together. The more we practice or discipline ourselves to do something, the more we’ll make it a practice over a longer length of time.
The more you read, the better reader you become.
The more you write, the better writer you become.
The more you exercise, the more likely you are to make it a lifestyle.
The more pictures you take, the better photographer you’ll become.
The more often you go to church, the more connected you’ll feel and as a result, you’ll go to church more often.
Here’s a fun practice. Let’s change some of the wording and replace it with “stringing days together.”
The more days you string together with exercise, the more likely you are to make it a lifestyle.
The more days you string together reading books, the better reader you will become.
The more Sundays you string together of going to church, the more connected you’ll feel (and be!) with your community.
You get the idea.
When I’m going through hard seasons, or when I feel depression knocking at my door, I have to ask myself, have I stopped stringing my days together? Have I made some big withdrawals without putting the days in to refill my account?
There is an Enemy we face every day who wants nothing more than to disrupt our stringing days together. He wants to destroy our rhythms and the relationships that draw us closer to Christ.
“It’s the holidays!” can be an easy excuse to use over the next few months, but what other excuses might the Enemy use to disrupt our stringing days together?
I know a big one for me is “I’m tired.” I’m too tired to read. I’m too tired to exercise. I’m too tired to socialize.
I use the same excuse over and over. Before I know it, I haven’t exercised in months. Maybe it’s been months since you’ve been intimate with your husband. When was the last time you spent any quiet time with the Lord?
It’s okay to miss a cross country practice here and there. But if you start missing practice regularly, come meet time, you will not be able to race your best. You’ll most likely race your worst. When it comes time to withdraw from your running account, you’ll be running on empty.
How does the play out in our life?
When I lose it with my kids and wallow in guilt and perpetuate anger in my home, I easily forget God’s truth because I haven’t been stringing days together with him.
When work gets overwhelming, I turn to coping mechanisms just to get through the day.
When we need to make a withdraw from our life saving account, our faith gets easily shaken. We’ve let our days get disrupted.
I tend to go into “fix it” mode when a specific area in my life gets all disjointed. But what if instead of reading another self-help book, or another book on parenting, I focused my attention on stringing my days back together?
Instead of seeking a quick fix from an expert online, what if we slowly tend to our souls by regularly connecting with God and absorbing His truth.
Let us surrender those daily distractions and grab hold of what God has for us instead. As the Psalmist said, “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps 90:12 ESV).
God will give us wisdom in exchange for stringing our days together with him.
All we have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.
Gloryanna is learning to look to Jesus for growth instead of Google for fixes. She encourages women to reclaim their faith from the noise of this world so they can focus more on Christ. Join her on Facebook or Instagram. Read more at www.gloryannaboge.com/blog.