A Marathon, Not a Sprint.

Ethan Sieber at Superhero Showdown. PC: Integrated Marketing Communications

Ethan Sieber at Superhero Showdown. PC: Integrated Marketing Communications


Welcome back to Union y'all! Whether you've been at camp, home or vacationing in Switzerland, it's nice to be back on campus!

For the past two summers, I’ve worked at Cohutta Springs Youth Camp. Anyone who works at a summer camp knows how fun and how tough it is. Sometimes, I asked myself, "How am I getting paid to do this?" and other times I thought, "I should get paid more to do this."

But everyone who works at camp knows that we don't do it for the money, we do it for the cause. Our most recent camp director gave us very sound advice from years of experience: "Camp is a marathon, not a sprint. Don't let yourself burn out at the beginning, because then you won't have enough energy at the end to spare."

How true this is.

When I was in high school, I was a sprinter on the track team. In order to start quickly, I lined up in a position that was most efficient so I could pop straight into a speed sprint. As I ran, I exerted a lot of energy and was barely able feel my feet touching the ground. Half the time, I ran through the finish wondering how I got there.

Last May, I had the opportunity to experience running in a new light. I ran a half marathon for the first time. I didn't start in a position where I could pop up into the fastest sprint I could manage. Instead, I started off at a much slower pace, knowing that otherwise I would burn out far too soon.

In past semesters, I made requirements of myself, whether starting the semester or year anew. I would make a rigid schedule and start sprinting the marathon of the semester at breakneck speed, not allowing myself to stop and breathe.

And, to be honest, I burned out.

I became so stressed that the thought of studying tired me out, so instead I  resorted to sleeping or socializing and later would kick myself for not keeping up to the things I had promised myself.

Not only did this affect me academically, but also spiritually.

At the beginning of the semester, I told myself I would have a thirty minute devotion with God at the least once a day. But early on in the semester, my time with God grew shorter by the day and eventually reached a point when I would spend no time with Him at all.

I wasn't letting myself go at a pace that was slow enough to accommodate all that I needed to get done. And, by letting my spiritual life falter, I jeopardized the energy and efficiency in the other areas of my life.

This semester, pace yourself.

Be okay with "running" a slower pace. From personal experience, I would recommend that you start off your day by devoting your first five or ten minutes to God. You’ll be surprised how it changes your productivity, even though there may still be days where you can barely stay awake reading your devotions.

If you don't have a devotional book or want to get into the Bible but don't know where to start, try some of these quick worship thoughts:

  • Every Word by John Bradshaw at It Is Written (one minute length)

  • Ketter

  • ing60  by Steve and Karen at Kettering Health Network

  • Listen to your favorite worship song or hymn and meditate on that which the verse is based

  • The Adventist Book Center across the street from Union has a plethora of devotionals

  • Have prayer with your roommate every day

  • Post an inspirational thought or verse on social media and have people share their thoughts on it

God is perfect, but our relationships with Him are always improving. That’s the marathon.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31).

Kasondra Reel is a senior studying nursing.