I am happily back in my running routine. I’ve managed to find a good balance and push through the difficulty of the restart. I enjoy this time alone, especially in our new location. I have access to a nice, small track that winds through trees and sits on the edge of a lake. It pleases me and gives me greater incentive to lace up and get out.
When moving in and inquiring about the distance of this track, no one seemed to know. Being directionally and distance challenged myself, I knew it best not to just guess at it, so I downloaded a GPS on my phone to measure it. Once correct data had been secured, I could plan my distance and measure my time accurately. This also pleases me.
The first day I ran on this track I was sure I had measured the distance incorrectly. The numbers couldn’t be right. The next run the numbers still seemed off and I was sure that I had lost count of the laps I’d run. I double checked the distance, triple checked the minutes, quadruple checked the lap counts over the next couple of weeks. This can’t be possible! I am running the same distance I ran in my old neighborhood but I am running much faster. I began to try to slow down – surely I needed to! But no matter how much I tried to adjust and return to my old pace, I kept falling back into this new one.
Not one to just be happy and accept this new development, I began to analyze how this could have occurred. My previous route was mapped through the streets in our neighborhood. Any given run would include the mental alertness to avoid being struck by a passing car or chased and devoured by any number of large dogs. The mind had to also pay attention to potholes and deviations in the running surface that could cause a tumble and adjust the pace to accommodate crossing the streets should there be any traffic. Could these mental demands have been what kept me at a slower pace? I no longer have to think about any of these things. I just run.
This morning as I ran, a gentleman entered the track for his run also. I heard him when he came up behind me. His steps were hard and his pace faster than mine. As he approached I quickly realized I needed to pay attention and to keep my pace rather than fall into his. Perhaps it was the sound of his steps louder than mine that made me want to speed up. More likely it was my competitive nature that kicked in. Either way, I would never have been able to finish my run at his pace even if I had tried. But it took great effort to concentrate and stay in the pace that is right for me.
At a time when I think I should have life figured out, things have changed and life is different than it was before. I am happy with where I am, but I find myself double, triple, and quadruple checking whether or not I am on the right track! Unlike my running pace, my new life pace is slower than ever. Others are moving at a different pace and I hear their steps behind me. I watch them pass me by and I am tempted to try to keep up. I measure what I am doing now to what I’ve done in the past. It doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t make sense, this new rhythm I’m in. I’m trying hard to understand what God is doing and where He is taking me, but I don’t. Not fully. Not yet.
Several months ago I came across this scripture:
“…Come to me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message Bible)
This grace. This beautiful, wonderful, undeserved favor of God. I am learning to rest in this grace. I am learning to sit with Him while the project is still unfinished. I am learning to be still when my inclination is to move. I am learning to slow down when I want to speed up. I am learning to trust Him with me. He is setting the pace for me to live freely and lightly.
It cannot be forced, this rhythm of grace.