After more than seven months since the injury, I’m happy to report I am finally back to running double digits, which I suppose is enough to qualify as “long slow distance” (emphasis on the SLOW).
They say long slow distance running is key for stimulating development of the cardiovascular system. As we’re slogging through the miles, our hearts change, becoming stronger and more efficient. By building the network of blood vessels, we also develop the infrastructure necessary to improve delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscles. These changes seem slow and are virtually imperceptible at first, but their effects become evident over time, as we are able to go farther and faster and do what was once hard with less and less effort.
I’m learning that spiritual development happens much in the same way. Slow, often imperceptible at first, but over time we notice that something is different. What once was hard is now easy.
To be sure, our bodies also adapt in response to high intensity interval training, which I think is the equivalent of how we experience rapid change–often in the form of epiphanies and paradigm shifts–in response to crisis. But in training and in life, those moments of crisis make up only a small percentage of the time. Most of the real work takes place as we’re slogging through, mile after mile, day after day.
So be encouraged and keep moving forward, even if it seems like nothing’s really happening. Over time, you will see how God has been changing your heart.