A long time 'Bucket List' goal of mine has been to run a half marathon. My kids are at an age now where they don't totally depend on me for their every need and I can finally dedicate the time needed to train for a race of this magnitude and I am at a stage in my life whee I feel that I have the mental focus and strength to get it done. In high school and college, I was a sprinter and a high jumper, both being on the opposite end of the track and field spectrum from long distance racing. In sprinting, you don't reserve anything. The gun goes off and you have to go from 0 to 100% immediately and then sustain it until you cross the line. Long distance is a whole different game. You have to pace yourself. Start too slowly and you'll never catch up with the rest of the runners. Start out to quickly and you will be spent before you cover the full distance. Pacing has been incredibly difficult for me. Everything in me says, "GO!" but I have to reserve myself enough to make it to the end.
My husband is a distance runner. He ran cross country in high school and was one of those crazy people who can run a mile in five minutes. Even now, after not running for almost a decade, he can just up and decide to go knock out 3-5 miles like it was a stroll through the park. He has told me that it's all a mental game, more about what is going on in the mind and keeping thoughts positive and steady, than about what is happening in the legs. He is totally right! I have realized that even outside of running, I struggle with pacing. That sprinter impulsivity, the desire to GO, right now, nothing held back, is strong. I get frustrated when I feel like things, at work especially, aren't progressing as quickly as I would like them to and I find that I start reaching for things that I have no business doing yet. God knows what I do not and he has allowed me to run head first into a few brick walls when I had tried to jump the gun and push forward into things that I now see I was not ready for. "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps," says Proverbs 16:9. Life is a marathon, not a sprint and God knows what's coming around the next bend. He knows where the hills, valleys and muddy trails are. We may feel like, "Hey! I got this. I know where I want to go and I'm just going to GO!" and we miss that still, quiet voice saying, "Hold up! Slow down! You don't know what's coming!"
We usually read the verse "Do not be anxious about anything..." as meaning that we shouldn't worry, but anxious can also mean to desire something very much to a point where we are uneasy. Have you experienced this type of anxiety? I definitely have and my usual response to feeling this way is to rush into something. I don't rest on God's timing or on his plan. We know that God works to bring about our good in all things, even in seasons of waiting or when we need to slow our pace down a bit (Romans 8:28). It is for us to trust in him, fully and completely, and allow ourselves to depend totally on his wisdom and plan for our lives (Proverbs 3:5-6). When we do this and keep pace with our Heavenly Father, we will finish the race and will accomplish all that he has laid out for us to do.
How about you? Are you a sprinter like me and find yourself always jumping the gun or rushing into things? Or maybe you are a little slow on the take and struggle to keep up or are afraid to join the race at all?