By Patrick Polomsky
This time of year always seems to throw me for a loop. Whether it be the hour time change that makes 6pm feel like midnight or the shift to cold and gloomier weather that seems to make any sort of outdoor activity difficult to bear, it is hard to pinpoint the root cause. I spend most of the year following a relatively strict schedule, training for different races, and being smart about how I spend my time.
Once that last race is over, I pump the brakes on the training and allow my body to heal and recover.
Although, being left with excess time when it’s cold and dark outside makes me feel anxious. Long lost are the days where I come home from work, go for a bike ride or run in the park, and still have time to eat dinner and read out on my porch before the sun goes down.
There is a parallel between how I feel and react to this “drought” in my normal routine and my experience in allowing God into my life. I wrote in a prior post how I enjoy having a schedule and this is where I feel doing so can pay dividends. So I have two questions.
1) Have you ever taken some time off of training and when you tried to get back out there a month or two later it was surprisingly hard? Or have you ever studied for a big exam to realize after the test that you forgot a lot of the material? 2) Have you ever been in a situation where you missed going to mass consistently on the weekends or found you haven’t prayed daily for a long time?
Just as hard as it is to pick up training again or remember the material I once studied, so too is it hard to pick up my relationship with God after a long time with little to no activity.
My relationship with God needs to be constant and when “breaks” are taken, I’ve noticed its only that much harder to pick it up again.
There are a lot of parallels between training for a race and improving my relationship with God. 1) Each activity requires daily work, whether its a daily reflection/prayer or stretching every single day I need to do something. 2) Both activities have temptations that prevent me from attending a volunteering event or get up early to beat the heat for a longer training session. 3) It is much harder to tackle the situation by myself, so having a mentor or spiritual guide as well as having a training partner can offer a lot of benefits as well keep me honest. 4) There are going to be “big” days in both instances and in the end it is I and I alone who am put to the test. 5) Hitting that snooze alarm in the morning means I am already starting off my day procrastinating. I’ve never been upset or regretted the times where I got up early for a workout or the times I made it to Church even when I felt like I had a lot to do.
Instead of just packing up my running shoes and bike only to collect dust for when the eventual snow melts, I’ve buckled down, renewed my gym membership because
I am not giving up that easily.
The same goes for maintaining my relationship with God because taking a break and trying to kick-start our relationship after a long drought is difficult. Trying to set up a daily or even weekly schedule making God the priority always seems to help me get back on track.
When I first started running, I started with a 5k race. At the time it seemed like a big undertaking for a number of reasons and after I made it through, I found that I was always wanting more. This desire led me to a half marathon, a full marathon, sprint and Olympic triathlons, and a half and even attempting a full Ironman triathlon. The same goes for my relationship with God. He usually starts us off small but realizing the benefits from these smaller tasks helps drive me to want and do more and achieve truly great things through my relationship with God.
Every moment of every day, every situation, and every person we encounter is an opportunity to make a better version of ourselves.
No single act of love is lost, no generous effort is meaningless, and no painful endurance is wasted. So when you feel like “packing up your fitness gear” or “taking a break for awhile”, don’t! It only serves as a setback.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Patrick attended Xavier University where he earned a degree in Finance and Mathematics. In his free time he enjoys hanging out with friends and family, listening to music, and going for bike rides, swimming, and running. He recently completed a half-Ironman this summer and is training for a full-Ironman in the Fall. “The best part about the future is that it comes just one day at a time” – Abraham Lincoln