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PACE: the speed at which someone or something moves; speed; tempo; rhythm

I recently joined a women’s workout group that was described as walking and jogging intervals and other interval training. I enjoy intervals so I knew I would enjoy this group. I was also excited to get to meet new friends and exercise a bit as well. The group was so popular that it was soon split in two groups, one group focused on walking and the other focused on running. I’m not a runner, but I knew walking would be an easy way out for me, so I stepped into the running group. As we were heading out, the leader said, “So I was thinking that we would start the Couch25k (C25K) app and complete a 5k at the end of the semester.” As I overheard her say these words, I began to argue with myself and excuses to leave the group ran rampant in my head. But despite my excuses, I stayed. The first couple of weeks of following the app weren’t as hard as I thought. I actually puffed up with a little confidence in my running ability. But then week 4 of the app came and I was dying. Now to be honest my longest run on this day was only five minutes. I know what you are thinking, “Jen, you couldn’t handle five minutes?” But I’ll just admit it…I couldn’t. I’ve never been a runner per se and I could feel my lungs caving in at 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I left that day feeling pretty defeated. I consider myself pretty healthy working out 3 times a week or more and eating healthy the majority of the time, but on this day I questioned it all. I walked away thinking I was completely out of shape and more excuses of why I should quit surfaced again.

I had to make a choice: quit or show up the next week. With some encouragement from my family and the other women in the group, I stayed. I started following the C25K app at home to train my body for the group running days. When I arrived at group the following week and we started our run, our leader said something to me that stuck with me and has not left. We had just begun an 8-minute run and she looked at me and said, “Her pace isn’t your pace. You have to find your pace.” She went on to tell me that my friend, whom I was running with, runs 8-minutes per mile. My friend also ran track in college and clearly has had way more training than I in the running department. My leader continued to encourage me to find my pace and that once I found my pace, completing my runs would become easier. And she was completely right; it was easier. That day I walked away completing the entire run.

HER PACE ISN’T YOUR PACE…I was trying to keep a pace that I was not physically able to keep. I was wearing my body out by striving to stay at a pace that was not mine. (Did you know that there are pace charts for running based on age, weight, height and distance?) Once I found my pace, I not only completed the runs, but there was so much peace in it. I actually enjoyed the run once I discovered my pace. As I thought about this more and more I realized that finding our pace isn’t just important when running, but also important in every day life. Her pace, whether that’s a friend, someone you work with, a family member, or a simple acquaintance, is not your pace. Sometimes I can find myself trying to keep the pace of others thinking if I can keep up with their pace, I am accomplishing more. Sometimes I find myself adding to my day to make my pace seem more attractable to others. But the reality is trying to run the pace or rhythm of someone else’s life leaves me feeling defeated and tired. When I’m upping my tempo to impress those I around me, I’m again left worn out. It is also very hard to finish the race, goal or path before us when we are not living in the correct pace. The desire to quit creeps in more and more when we set our lives in an unhealthy rhythm.

So how do you discover your pace? Here are a few questions that are leading me to discover my pace.

  1. First I must ask myself daily, “God, what is the pace you have called me to today and in this season of my life?”
  2. Do I have peace in my pace? When you discover your pace, I believe there is an unexplainable peace that is found.
  3. Are my days constantly leaving me rushed, tired and overwhelmed? This is usually a sign that I need to change my pace.
  4. What is currently on my plate? Sometimes I add so much responsibility to my plate that I can barely run the path of my days. Is their something on your plate that needs to be removed? There may even be something that needs to be added. It is possible that you finish your days speedily but not fulfilling. You don’t want to add the very thing God is asking of you out of fear that your pace will have to change. But know this…it is better to have a changed pace doing what God has called you to do than a fast pace unfulfilled.
  5. Do I simply enjoy my days? Does my pace let me enjoy my family, friends and things God has placed in my life?

Now I know the pace set now may not be the pace I have in a coming season. Pace can change as we face circumstances, transitions, valleys and mountains. Think about this in the natural…it is easier to run a faster pace on level ground than to run a fast pace up a mountain. This is also true in our lives. I believe we need to evaluate the pace of our days to discover if God desires us to slow it down or speed it up. As you approach news seasons and circumstances, refer back to the questions above to help you discern your pace. And in all seasons, circumstances, and days of life I hope you do not live in a pace that doesn’t belong to you. Discover your own pace and remind yourself that her pace is not your pace.

My prayer is that you would take time in the next few days to evaluate your pace.

My prayer is that you no longer live in the stress of someone else’s pace.

My prayer is that you would discover a pace that brings peace and fulfillment. A pace that brings you freedom to fully live in the path set before you.