Last summer my family visited a hydro electric power plant. Despite how it sounds, it was actually remarkably interesting; and while learning about how they were functioning on renewable energy, we got to play a little. In fact, there was this fun wall there, which we could push on, expelling as much force as possible, in order to visualize our output of energy. The wall would light up from the point of force outwards according to the extent of force applied, and would slowly diminish as energies were depleted. Turns out, I’m not the hulk. Guess I’ll start lifting now…

So last week I did a talk on control, and I started considering how our pace can impact that inclination… and how recovery can too. Because if we expel great amounts of energy for a long time without recovery, we diminish our ability to notice. And if we don’t have time to notice, we don’t have time to discern. And if we aren’t discerning, we’re reacting in the moment instead of looking at hearts and making informed responses.

Why does this matter?

My kids need room to be imperfect without my brash response. My best moments aren’t usually found when my heart is hurried. Our lives can be as full as we want them to be with beautiful and worthy investments of our time…. but let’s not forget to schedule the margin to recover. Let’s not fill our agendas so full we become slaves to efficiency in order to keep our commitments. Let’s be willing to say “no,” not just because our people need our restful moments, not just so we can notice, not just so our children will model this glorious effort — but because this is a value that is pleasing to the God who formed us. And if he formed us for rest, wouldn’t he delight in our willingness to protect it?

What if there were words in our Bibles that we failed to understand or allow to soak in and change us, because we didn’t linger long enough? What if there were evidences of the states of the hearts around us that we missed because we had to get out the door for the next sports practice? What if there were aches or celebrations that were unacknowledged because our time was already used up? When our pace exceeds our ability to notice, we may get a lot done, but there’s a lot we don’t see. And what if we took it a step further, and didn’t just plan margin, but actually recovered?

Are you exhausted? What would recovery look like for you?

Recovery is more than just taking a break. It’s not zoning out or scrolling social. Recovery is pouring life back into your heart, preparing you to run again. Recovery allows your heart to linger over good and true and beautiful things. If we do not want to be a shallow people, we must linger in the deeps. Your recovery could look super different from your best friend’s recovery… the point is that it nourishes, pours back in, and equips you to run again. Maybe you’ll have to schedule it — that’s not weird, it’s intentional.

So lets be a people that run beautiful, powerful races marked with strategic recovery.

I’m rooting for you.