Posted on November 10, 2012
Dashing out of the gate too fast in a race always comes back to bite. In a half-marathon or longer, the bite can be particularly nasty – it’s not called “hitting the wall” because it feels good. Runners know this, but it’s difficult to reign in the pace amidst the excitement, adrenaline and invincible hope surrounding the start. A well-practiced pace plan and GPS device are solutions. Alternatively, a pacer can guide a runner through a steadily-paced race. Many races provide pace leaders tasked with getting their pace group to the finish line in a specified time. Pacers monitor the math minutiae required to maintain a steady pace and talk throughout the journey, providing encouragement and distraction from the pain. My friend Margi has paced many races over the past few years. I’ve never run with a pace group, but I love hearing her accounts of runners reaching their goals in the company of a group. Whether you rely on your own sense of speed, a GPS unit, or a pace leader, having a guidepost to keep you in the moment – putting one foot in front of the other, without worry of miles behind or ahead – is of great value.
Where there is no guidance, a people falls; but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14
We’re called to be in the present, not to dwell negatively on the past or be anxious about the future, but to focus our efforts on the moment at hand. Anxiety about the future, as well as excessive anticipation of happy times ahead, cause me to look past today and miss the joys of the present. I’m equally guilty of dwelling in the past … failing to fully accept God’s forgiveness, missing opportunities to use past lessons to improve myself, and stewing over events that can’t be changed. I need spiritual pacing, and I’ve been overlooking the Holy Spirit — God’s GPS unit existing in part to address this need. I don’t give the Holy Spirit enough time or credit, but He’s the ultimate pacer based on Isaiah’s description of Him as the spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, and knowledge (Isaiah 11:2). With His help, I want to acknowledge my past and understand its teachings, immerse myself in today – the good, the bad & the ugly – and lay a prudent foundation for the future without obsessing over it. I can trudge through life on my own, but it won’t be pretty or well-paced. If I instead welcome the Holy Spirit, He will enrich my journey, focusing on one foot fall at a time. My son’s first grade teacher ended all her notes home with the following thought from Psalms 46:10. It’s solid spiritual pacing and a good wrap for today …
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know that I.
Be still and know that.
Be still and know.
Be still and.