Growing in Miles and Holiness

 Photo by  Ben White  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Back on January 1, I began my New Year’s Resolution: to run a marathon’s worth of miles every week.  That’s it.  26.2 miles each week without any concern over pace or hills or distance per run.  I just had to work those 26.2 miles into my weekly workouts.

It required some planning to figure it all out.   Would I run 6 miles today and then have a shorter run tomorrow when our schedule was busier?  Should I try to get the majority of my miles in over the weekend?  What if I just broke it up evenly and ran 4ish miles everyday?  I would try to plan out the week while keeping in mind my family’s needs and when I could carve out pockets of free time.  But the beauty of this plan was that it was totally flexible.  If it didn’t work out one day, I just doubled up the next day or added a mile to each of the remaining days in the week.

It also allowed me to learn how to run on tired legs (sometimes I was forced to log two long runs in a row to meet my resolution) and it taught me that showing up everyday, even if it was only for a couple of miles, was helping me achieve my goals.  I had always felt that a run wasn’t “a run” unless it was at least 4 miles.  That was the bare minimum, and if I only had 20 minutes to work out, I just wouldn’t work out because 20 minutes was not enough of “a run” in my mind.  This plan helped me retrain my brain that even 20 minutes of running was better than no running, and those 2 miles were helping me achieve my weekly goal faster than sitting home.  I also repeated the mantra “Slow Miles are greater than No Miles” because just moving forward was heading in the right direction.

Isn’t it exactly the same with our spiritual life?

Sometimes we might feel that because we don’t have time to pray a whole rosary, it’s not worth doing anything.  But God will use our one decade here and there and weave together a beautiful rosary for us.  We might be too tired to stop in to Adoration for a whole hour, so we just keep driving.  But God loves our short visits of meaningful prayer just as much as a parent loves hearing “I love you” from their child.  I don’t need my kids to perform a whole song and dance after I’ve served them a delicious dinner; just a heartfelt thank you warms my soul.  God gets it.  He knows we’re busy doing His work here on earth, and like achieving the weekly mileage, He just wants us to keep giving whatever we can, whenever we can.  He’ll keep track of the holy miles for us, we just need to prioritize our goals and keep showing up.  It may require some planning, and it may mean praying with a tired soul, but it all works for the glory of God.

After four months of keeping my running resolution, I had to ease up off the running a bit because of some pain in my hips, but I’ve been able to continue working out nearly every day and have learned so much about flexibility, perseverance, and small gains adding up to a whole lot more.   My prayer life has improved with this new mindset, and somehow I’m able to go for long runs and fit in a weekly holy hour.  It’s like God is giving me the gift of more time when I use it to serve Him better.  We just need to keep moving forward each day and not worry about how long it takes because every small step is bringing us closer to our goals on earth and in heaven.

Colleen Martin runs and writes from New England where she also works full-time as a Business Manager at a Catholic high school and raises 7 children on the side ;)  Both running and writing have offered Colleen a way to stay sane amidst all the chaos, a beautiful chaos that she thanks God for daily.  You can connect with Colleen at her blog here, and her Instagram here.