I first drafted this in 2016, the year I completed a REV3 70.3 triathlon. It was one of my greatest moments as an athlete, and crossing that finish line with my family was worth every bit of the work. The lessons here are still very much prevalent, though now I’m preparing for a two-week backpacking trip instead of a triathlon. The seasons of my personal life are different, but the lessons remain the same.
I’m learning something I don’t want to learn. I see the path I’m on, and somewhat reluctantly, I’m staying the course. Patience, they say is a virtue. It’s not one I have. I chose a profession (journalism) mostly based on instant gratification. I work on a story for a few hours or sometimes days, turn it in, and the next day, my byline is in the paper. In cycling, my discipline is sprinting. Quick effort, quicker reward.
Why I picked an endurance sport to fall in love with is beyond me, but learning to be patient is difficult. Learning to slow down and trust the plan is even harder.
The mental growth in training for a 70.3 triathlon is something hard to describe unless you’ve done it. The spiritual growth in trusting God as you wait for answered prayers is equally hard to explain.
But here I am, in this season of waiting and trusting in the two biggest arenas in my present season.
I’m trusting my coach and trusting that all these individual workouts will add up to a finish line victory in May. I’m trusting God on the promises in scripture and promises he has whispered to me through the years. Waiting is hard. It is challenging, and it is exhausting.
Some days, I want to quit—quit training and quit hoping. But I keep moving forward in faith—faith in someone more educated than me on endurance sports, faith in someone who laid down is life so that I could live free. It may seem strange to you, but the parallels aren’t lost to me. No matter how much I wish I could race tomorrow and see fulfillment in prayers answered tomorrow, I also see the value in the journey and in the waiting.
But neither work that way. Life is not a sprint. It’s not a byline the day after the work. It’s a slow process full of discipline and growth, strength and perseverance. There are no short cuts. I have to run and bike and swim just like I have to spend time reading scripture, praying and seeking God. But the rewards of the work are great. Tremendous, really.
So here I sit, tired and sometimes burnt out. But still I move forward.