Wait, this is a Marathon!

2020 is shaping up to be a year full of the unexpected.  A pandemic.  Stay-at-home orders.  Violence.  Injustice.  Riots.  Closures.  Homeschooling.  Layoffs.  A forest Fire.  Just when we think the worst is behind us, something new arises.

Call me naive or overly optimistic but – am I the only one who feels like life should be back to normal by now?!  I don’t know about you, but I am feeling a little weary these days!  I began the year optimistic.  Then the pandemic.  Still optimistic I followed the rules, took precautions, took up homeschooling, and stayed home.  I adjusted to living life as a family of five in the confines of our home. Each. Day.  That was March.

Now here we are in August and not much has changed.  Aside from a summer break with the kids.  I am back homeschooling.  My husband is still working from home.  We are still staying home.  This is our new norm, but I did not expect this new norm to last so long.

I feel like I started a 5k (3.1 mile) race.  At the beginning things were fine.  Most people can complete a 5k race with little to no preparation.  You can even walk.  It’s one of the shortest distances offered.   

Starting the race I felt fine.  I can do this.  Then just past mile 3 I started wondering – where is the finish line? It should be here.  Did they move it?  Now here I am well into mile 6 and I realize – Wait, this is a marathon!  I didn’t sign up for this!

Can you relate?  I wish I had some amazing words of encouragement that would help us all feel refreshed, renewed, and ready to tackle this.  Or better yet, I wish I had a crystal ball with the end date to all that is going on in our world these days, but I don’t have either.  All I can say is I feel your pain!

I remember a woman telling me as a new mom of young children – “The days are long, but the years are short.”  2020 feels this way except both the days and the year feel long.  I keep finding myself wishing for the close of 2020 and the start of 2021.  Longing for a fresh start and good news on the horizon.

But the truth is 2021 doesn’t automatically promise good or new things just because it is a new year.  Yet, each new day has that potential.  Circumstances may not change, but each new day we have a choice to make.  Will we be optimistic?  Will we make each day the best we can?  

Each new day is a gift and we get to decide what we do with it.  Will we focus on disappointments or be grateful?  Will we intentionally love those who have been placed in our sphere and show them grace as they face hard things today too?

In my weariness I cling to my faith.  I begin each day in prayer.  When I am feeling most weary or discouraged, I turn to God.  The source of my comfort and strength.

I also pull out my gratitude list (I have mentioned this before – I am cataloging 1,000 gifts this year – I am currently at 420).  What goodness have I experienced lately?  What little blessings?  Every time I pause and do this exercise, I increase my list.  Rarely do I just add one new thing.  Once I start cataloging blessings they just keep coming – five, ten, even twenty new things at a time. 

Every time I pause to be grateful, I realize how many blessings I have experienced lately.  So often we let blessings go unnoticed at the time.  That is until we paused to reflect.

My prayer for us this week is that each day brings new hope, excitement, good and new things.  When the discouragement sets in, let us pause, and ask ourselves what are we grateful for today?  What blessings have gone unnoticed?  I guarantee we will find something we can be grateful for everyday. 

Don’t be discouraged or grow weary.  We are all in this together. We are all realizing this is not the 5k we agreed to.  We may be running a marathon.  None of us knows what exactly lies ahead, but we can look to the horizon with the anticipation of hope and good things to come.