To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.
—Ecclesiastes 3:1, NKJV


Many of you who follow me on Instagram know I've become an avid gardener this year. This isn't the first year we've had a garden at the Corner of Monroe (our house). Years ago, our friend and roommate, Doc, helped build the garden in our backyard and taught us how to work the soil. Over the years I've tried to apply what I learned from her, some years brought success and others massive failures (remember lessons from my not-so-great garden last year)? But this year, I rolled up my sleeves and determined to try my hand at gardening again. Overall, it's going well.  

COVID-19 set a good stage for this year's garden. More time at home didn't only drive me to the backyard, but it opened up time in my schedule to learn. I can only take so many headlines and sad statistics about the pandemic, so many evenings this spring, I'd get off social media and turn on gardening webinars to learn the tricks of the trade.

Just about anything and everything involved in gardening can be used as a spiritual metaphor, but one lesson I'm learning in the midst of a global pandemic is this: identify what's a sprint and what's a marathon. This is important for the garden to keep growing.

Some situations require quick action, like a sprint, because time is limited and the window of opportunity won't last long. I've seen this apply not only to sowing seeds but also to situations like work projects, raising a tween daughter, helping at a racial justice event, and rescheduling a first-available colonoscopy. Fast action and quick thinking became key.

But other situations have become more like a marathon, a slow season where the effort and energy must be spread out. Planting tomatoes and melons, for example, requires patience and waiting. I've seen this flow into restoring relationships, inner healing, and things like losing weight or breaking bad habits. Even looking ahead to fall and winter, and wondering what COVID-19 will look like, requires endurance. We're in this for the long game.

I have no doubt why God put our first parents, Adam and Eve, in a garden. Everywhere you look, there's a lesson to learn. This year, a time when everything's been either changed or canceled in 2020, the garden has revealed a huge survival key. We must pace ourselves and realize the situation we're in. Sometimes, we're in a sprint. Other times, a marathon. But if we keep at it, we'll keep growing. 


  • What are some times in your life you've felt like you're in a sprint? What was that like?
  • How are you handling COVID-19, a marathon-like situation?
  • How can you activate your faith and discern if you're in sprint or marathon situations? 


Jesus, I need you! Show me what situations need quick action—where should I be sprinting? Give me patience and insight—what's a marathon? I ask for grace in every situation and season. No matter what, help me keep growing. Amen.

This devotional first appeared in the Monday Morning Survival Guide. Subscribe to get next Monday's devotional emailed to you!

This devotional first appeared in the Monday Morning Survival Guide. Subscribe to get next Monday's devotional emailed to you!  


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MMSG - sprint or marathon