Guest blogger Audra Turnbull of Awkward Catholic fame writes today of running and discernment in support of Julia who is running a marathon to support the nuns!

“Run for the Nuns” directly supports the work of this ministry. We need your help. We ask you to pledge $1 per mile of Julia’s marathon — that’s $26.20 that will add energy to Julia’s “get up and go” AND support A Nun’ Life Ministry. You can donate electronically or by check — DONATE NOW at aNunsLife.org/donate !

Brother Carl Wisdom, O.POne of the best articles that I’ve read in the 2011 VISION Vocation Guide, was written by Brother Carl Wisdom, O.P. The title of the article is “Get ready to run the race.” It’s about – you guessed it – running and discernment. Brother Carl compares his training for a half marathon to discerning God’s call.

While I am not a marathoner, I now look to discernment as training for a big race. Brother Carl was right when he said that It takes a lot of preparation and little craziness to meet your goal: to find where God is calling you. And while your “training days” are important, your rest days are just as critical.

There are times in my discernment where my “discernment muscles” got tired. I was overwhelmed with over-analyzing everything that might be a possible sign from God.

Just like a runner who tried to run too much, I was feeling sore, scared and frustrated. I had a race to run; a goal to meet- there was no time to stop and recover.

Luckily, God knew just the answer: I needed take a step back and become a human BEING instead of a human DOING. I needed to stop and just feel God’s presence.

Feeling refreshed, I could continue training or, actively discerning, to meet my goal.

Here are a few pieces of advice that Brother Carl gives to discerners:

  • Stay hydrated by constantly drinking at the fountain of God’s presence in prayer.
  • Load up on carbs by energizing and nourishing yourself daily at the tables of word and sacrament through the Eucharist.
  • Before each day’s run, pause and stretch your muscles of faith, hope and love are limber and agile.
  • Plan for the “caffeine boost” you will need in the middle of the race by mobilizing family and friends for spiritual support. They can serve to remind you of the nobility of your aspiration to even have begun the race.
  • When you get close, but the finish line still feels elusive, turn within and storm heaven while concentrating on each final footfall.

(Source: “Get ready to run the race” by Fr. Carl Wisdom, OP, in Vision Vocation Guide 2011)

What are your images of discernment? if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed while seeking God’s call what helped you stay on course?

Read more from Audra on A Nun’s Life and at her blog The Awkward Catholic and continue following Julia’s running posts.