Rhythms not Goals…

I’ve never been much of a runner. Have always loved fitness, just not running. However, a couple years ago, I went to Russia and met a great couple, Jerry and Amber Kaufman, they are runners, and to make a long story short, they inspired me to aim for a half marathon. Fast-forward to July 2008: through another church-planter friend, Jacob Vanhorn, I met Alissa Magrum from Communities in Schools. My relationship with Alissa started out as two individuals who represented larger entities that had the common goal of bettering the lives of students in the AISD, that relationship has blossomed, and we are now really good friends as well as our families. Last fall, Alissa challenged me to join team CIS and run the Austin 1/2 marathon. If you know me, then you know I am a sucker for challenges, and on February 15th 2009 I ran my first half-marathon. When I crossed the finish line I was thrilled, felt like I had accomplished something, and my body absolutely hated me.

Guess what, it is fall of 2009 and in just five months I will be standing at the starting line of the Austin Half Marathon, representing my church and team CIS. What’s better, is that last year, we had two people from the church run the half – Luis Sanchez and myself. This year, my wife and another guy from our Restore Community has joined, so our small ANC team within the CIS team has doubled. Last night we had our first training session at the Austin HIT Center, and needless to say I woke up very sore. I began to ponder what I felt last year as I crossed the finish line in order to send an inspirational email to the other three on the team, and what I realized as I pondered is, “I didn’t make the most of the goal I had set-it was a goal, not part of a rhythm…”, and I didn’t want the other three to repeat my lack. Hear me, my heart is not to create a fad, nor set a one-time goal to be met and then left once accomplished, but rather to create a rhythm for life. I’ll let the email explain:


First, I just wanted to thank you all for doing this, our team has literally doubled from last year’s team…it would be great for us to be so inspirational that the same happens next year…I am very proud of all of you!

Second, don’t fret about the fund-raising, we’ll make it happen…and we’ll raise it as a team, not individuals

Third, and most importantly I want to challenge us all with this journey we are embarking on. Last year when I crossed that 13 mile line I was so thrilled, but when I look back on it, I didn’t make it a holistic experience, like I should have, and I want to challenge us all in that. We started a 5-month physical journey last night, and I want to challenge us to turn it into a holistic journey. What if we all decided to pour this same type of intensity into our relationship with Christ? What if we decided to dedicate this much intensity into our marriages and families? What if one other passion in our lives – justice, refugees, single mom’s, homelessness, education were given this same sort of dedication? What if we set boundaries in our lives to make sure these dedications were sustainable?

Theoretically that all sounds great, but the truth is, that is a lot of intensity to add into our lives, which means, the ONLY way that would be possible is if we were to look for other areas that get attention they don’t deserve – that may be TV, alcohol, soda, certain types of food, time spent poorly, etc, etc…who knows…but what I know is that it would take some serious ‘house’ cleaning…

Fourth, there is a friend of mine and Sarah’s who is also a woman from our church who did a Pick 5 for 40 days in the area of food…What she did was narrow down her eating to only 5 different items. So for 40 days she only ate: brown rice, edamame, spinach, almonds, and apples and the only liquid was water. I don’t have time to go into the ‘why’ behind this journey she went on, but if you click on the link in this paragraph you can follow her journey. So, back to us training for the 1/2 marathon, I’m not sure what that may look like for you all if we expanded from food and took it to a life/priority level, but it could look something like this:

Pick 5:

  1. Relationship with God – Daily Prayer, Scripture Study/Reading/Meditating, journaling, taking time to hear God’s voice, books that challenge me spiritually, and let God lead you through a passion of yours…in other words, pick a passion like Justice and commit to read one book a month on it, jump in and serve at a whole new level…
  2. Relationship with family – Date my oldest daughter twice a month, date my wife 3 times a month, do 1-2 man dates with Ashton, and have a weekly family night, and dinner around the table, no matter what
  3. Relationship with Friends – often times new relationships or old ones get squeezed out when life gets busy, we either think of the new ones, “we weren’t that close anyway” and of the old ones, “they understand, they know me…” but what isn’t being worked on is being torn down…
  4. Unplugging – Everyday after a certain time, your computer goes OFF, schedule times in the day to check email, FB, and Twitter, and make Saturday a computer free day…That is tough for me to do
  5. Fitness – Commit to the workout calendar we all received lat night, commit to doing work outs on your own, commit to better eating habits, set a goal for the weight you would like to be at by race day…

Finally, here is the deal, you ARE going to feel like throwing in the towel. You are going to feel like jumping ship, but remember, “nothing worth doing comes easy...” but I have a feeling that at the end of five months, we will NOT be looking at our lives and thinking, “finally, I can go back to normal…” rather we will have created new rhythms in our lives that make us dance to a different tune…

There is a difference between goal setting and creating a rhythm. Goals allow me to power through, meet the dead line and walk away after the box has been checked, and that’s not always bad, but they are often momentary, and left in the past. Goals can become deadly when families and friends become ‘goals.’ But a rhythm calls you out to dance differently. You create a way of life, that causes you to clean out the clutter of your life so you can continue to play to the rhythm; you clean out the white noise so the rhythm gets louder…you subtract so you learn to dance better to that rhythm…

So this is not one of those, “Woohoo, back from youth camp excitements!” This is not a fad, that we will get over in a while once the new fad comes around. This is not works…This is simply learning to create a rhythm for your life that stewards your body, your mind, your spirit, and your relationships, where one note only complements the next note, verses robbing from it…

Am I challenging you to join the marathon team – NO, it would be cool if you did…but I am challenging you to create a rhythm for your life in which you remove the white noise, and focus on dancing to that one rhythm.



6 thoughts on “Rhythms not Goals…

  1. I’m so printing this out and putting it on my fridge.

    Life’s Pick Five.

    Love, love, love it.

    There is something in us that desires structure, desires boundaries, desires to better ourselves. We fight against it as well, an ongoing inward war raging, but when it’s said and done, we are the better for it. And with God as our goal, and His service our race, He is glorified through our life and discipline.

    (I’m so not running a half-marathon, though.)

  2. oh how i miss you and sarah. your drive. ambition. and your ability to motivate me to be a better person and live a better life. sigh. but i do wish you the best (in the 1/2 marathon and otherwise)!

  3. Holly, you and Jeff will always be one of the fondest memories to us & the greatest friends God gave us at the most needed time in our lives. You were the first I confided in when I lost my job. You two stuck by us during the time when I was probably the worst preacher on the face of this earth. You both snuck through snow with us like snow ninjas (so we wouldn’t get caught by the golden boy), spent countless evenings watching Friends, Survivor, & ER….and simply are the best memory of Davenport, Iowa we have – love ya’ both

  4. Pingback: 2010 is on its way… « EmmausLife

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