Both of my boys ran track.

One was a sprinter. He would come off the block at full speed and maintain it through the whole race. This was possible because the race was short. A sprinter runs 100-200 meters at full speed.

Setting Your Pace

My other son ran longer races. He had to learn to pace himself. His legs and lungs had to be able to endure the whole race. He needed a strong but more relaxed pace in the beginning, reserving some energy to really give it a kick at the end.

How is your pace? Too often my life resembles a roller coaster.

I start out with the chain pulling me up the hill at a slow, steady pace, but before I know it I am traveling at a breakneck speed, feeling overwhelmed and a little out of control.

There are several indicators that my pace is out of control:

– I am impatient with others. My words are short and my tone is sharp.

– I find myself saying, “Not right now!” to the people that should matter most.

– My priorities are skewed.

– I get distracted from walking with God.

– I get distracted from my God-given role as wife and mother.

– I feel stressed.

The list could go on.

But what is the remedy? How do we train ourselves to keep a good pace?

Many years ago, in preparation for the busy Thanksgiving-Christmas season, a lady in our church gave a devotional with a crafty illustration that we each made and took home.

It was a mason jar. She gave each person a cup of rice and a bunch of unshelled walnuts. She told us to grab the cup of rice. Naming things that keep us busy we poured rice into our jar a little at a time.

“Now,” she asked, “what are some things that are REALLY important?” We named things like our relationship with God, our family, our kids’ salvation and character.

As we named these things we were to place a walnut in the jar. It was quickly evident that the walnuts were NOT going to fit. There was not room. The rice had taken over the space.

She had us empty our jar. With the rice gone, the walnuts fit just fine. Once the walnuts were in place she had us pour in the rice once again. This time EVERYTHING fit.

By putting the BIG THINGS in first all the little things were able to find space.

Having this jar sitting in my windowsill is a great reminder for me to pace myself. If I am going to finish the race well I need to:

– Determine my priorities and give them first place.

– Seek God’s help. I often pray: Lord, show me what you would have me accomplish today.

– Learn to say NO. When opportunities arise before I commit to something, I am learning to say, “Let me pray about that and get back to you.” After seeking God and considering my priorities, if it does not fit, I need to say “NO”.

– Watch for things that distract you and eat up your time. Put them at the end of your tasks for the day or delete them from your schedule.

– Find time to step away from it all…Jesus did!

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

May we seek our Creator and make His priorities OUR priorities!

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