Are You Ready To Pick Up Your Pace?

It’s a new season in our home. A new season in more ways than one.

Only Andrew is playing baseball this fall. Zachary is waiting to start a sport when schedules for his brothers slow in October (this child is a gift to us in his selflessness). Jacob is trying a new sport. Cross country.

Running is a good fit for Jacob. It takes patience and endurance. Your true competition is with only yourself. It takes training and dedication. It takes pushing through pain. It takes a laser like focus. It takes a decision not to quit before you take the first step.

Yes, running is a good fit for this first born of mine.

Listen to how good the Lord is. Several weeks ago, Jacob said to me what he loves most about cross country is that the coach cares about each individual runner on that team. The fact that an 11 year old noticed this is a pretty big deal to me. She must REALLY care.

In the race of life, our Coach cares about each individual runner as well. He’s running alongside us, coaching, encouraging, carrying, refueling. 

Oh the value to a child to know that an adult other than their parent cares for them is huge.

There are snapshots in my heart of seeing pure joy on Jacob’s face when he’s running to a finish line. It’s this head toward Heaven and wonder-filled eyes, a smile that speaks its own language. Joy.

Years ago Jacob ran a 5K with Steve and me and some of our friends. He smoked us all. In fact his time was a full minute per mile faster than mine!

I’ve seen this joy on his face, but I’m his mom. Recently, his coach stopped me to share how she felt the Lord speaking to her as she watched Jacob run. How she felt he was made to run. Watching Jacob made her think of Chariots of Fire “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” One of my favorite quotes of all time.

What is it you do that when you do it you feel God’s pleasure? What is it that when you do it, you feel a joy come bursting forth?

Jacob had his first meet this week. The night before the race, Andrew said, “Jacob I hope you win and beat everyone.” Jacob answered back, “Well, I’m not really trying to beat anyone. I’m running to get my personal best.”

I’ve replayed this over and over in my mind since I heard him say this. I’m running to get my personal best.

Is this not life? Are we not in a race to the finish line? In a see-all world where comparison tempts us, our life is a race to finish as well as we can possibly finish. Regardless of the race anyone else is running.

Christians, we are in our final laps in this race of life. It’s time to pick up our pace. Picking up our pace will look different than the pace the world is running.

In a distance race, you start easy. You set your pace. You gain confidence on the course. As you near the end, you pick up the pace. You’ve reserved enough energy to be sure you make it to the end, but when you get to the end, there is no need to save energy anymore. You increase your speed, you pump hard, you realize you have more in you than you anticipated. You see the finish line, and you go hard.

I watched Jacob start his race at a decent speed. I saw him at mid-point slower than he started. Then I saw him at the finish putting forth all he had left in him to give.

It’s time for us to put on our sprinting shoes. It’s time we graduate from a slow jog and run like it’s a 50 yard dash.

God has specific uses and purposes for His children. We all share one ultimate purpose in this life, which is to glorify God. Under that umbrella we each have unique ways we bring Him glory. It’s time for us to rise to the race and finish well.

I imagine one of the biggest regrets of my life would be to reach the end and look back and see all along I had more to give but I held back.

Run hard. Run fast. Say yes to God. Don’t hold back and save anything for later. God will replenish you along the way. He will sustain you and carry you. Run hard to the finish. 

This new Toby Mac song has become a family favorite. (And if you run to it, I promise you will run faster than you typically run.)

“I can’t stop
I can’t quit
It’s in my heart
It’s on my lips
I can’t stop, no
I can’t quit
It’s in my heart, yeah
I’m all in

[Chorus: tobyMac]
Til the wheels fall off
Til the spotlight fades
I will lift your banner high
I will lift your banner high
And til the walls crash in
For the rest of my days
I’ll lay it all on the line
Til the day I die
Til the day I die
Til the end of the line
Til the day I die
It’s Your name I’ll glorify

Toby sums it up well….”all in til the day I die.”

I want to be all in til the day I die. I want to give every ounce I have to give to the Lord til the day I die. I long for the day I see Him face to face. I want to know I lived my life with no regrets from the moment I surrendered my life to His lordship til the day I die.

Do I though? Do I really? Sometimes. And if I’m honest, sometimes not.

Remember those small assignments? Those are the ones I’m tempted not to give my all to. When my kids make me late, and I begin to scream and the meanest words fly out of my mouth with disgust. I’m not running so hard in that small assignment.

When my husband has a hard day, but I’m too busy running in 3 other directions to take note of what he needs. And I run hard in other places, but running hard in that moment might look like stopping, looking him in the eyes, and hearing what’s on his heart.

Running hard isn’t necessarily doing more. Running hard to the finish is seeking God with my whole heart and obeying Him at every turn. Chasing Him, not chasing life. Studying His Word harder than I’m studying Facebook. Spending more time in prayer than I spend in worry. Running hard is literally keeping my eyes fixed on Him.

Running hard is reaching out to the lost. Serving in His name. Running hard is a heart and soul clean up. It’s getting rid of what needs to go to make room for more of God. Running hard is killing selfishness. Running hard is slamming shut the door of pride.

Running hard is an awakening to the days we are living in and a new resolve to face each day with a bold courage wrapped in grace, love, mercy, and truth.

Running hard is letting the light of Christ shine brighter than it’s ever shone before.

Running hard for Christ is chasing a love affair with the lover and creator of your soul.

When we fall in love with Him, running hard becomes pure joy. And that’s when I get it. Jacob’s face – pure joy when he’s in a sprint is a reflection of the pure joy when we are so madly in love with our Lord that we run hard to the finish line.

And the finish line we are running towards….well, I tend to look at it as the start line. When we cross that line, when we’ve finished this race, the life everlasting begins. And it is beyond the wildest of imaginations and dreams. It’s worth the race.

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