Have you ever taken time to consider the word Pace? I’ve been thinking a lot about pace lately and decided to actually look it up. It can be both a noun and a verb and there are some interesting definitions of the word. For example:
Pace (noun) The speed at which something happens, changes or develops.
Interesting; that’s one way of looking at the word. Here’s another:
Pace (verb; no object) Walk at a steady and consistent speed, especially back and forth as an expression of one’s own anxiety or annoyance.
Hmmm. Anyone doing any pacing lately? We’re a few weeks from Easter… How about this one:
Pace (verb; with object) To do something at a slow and steady rate or speed in order to avoid overexerting oneself.
That’s interesting; to avoid overexerting oneself. How many of us move at a pace that doesn’t overexert us? How many consider it a badge of honor that we’re so busy we don’t have time to sit down and relax. Ever. Our culture prizes business. We even attach higher honor and status to the most busy. We see people who get up early and work late as “accomplished.” Even in the church this is true.
I heard one pastor say that being in ministry is 60-70 hours a week. His view was that if a pastor wasn’t in the office 6 days a week and then working the Sunday services, he wasn’t fit to serve. Sadly, some of you are wishing you could get your schedule down to 60-70 hours a week…
What He Did and Didn’t Say
Jesus said, “I will build my church.” He didn’t say, “I will build my church and those that work in it need to work so hard and so long that they will begin to despise the church and eventually life itself.”
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” He did not say, “I hope my followers work hard and run fast to acquire more things to impress people you don’t know.”
Even when you look at the life of Jesus, you will quickly see He did not spend much time pacing from anxiety or annoyance. He managed to live his life on Earth at a slow, steady and deliberate pace, this despite the fact that He had a lot to do. You know, being the Savior of the world and all.
What is Your Pace?
Tech guys tend to be notoriously bad at maintaining a healthy pace. I know, I am one. We tend to be servants, people pleasers and hard workers. We don’t like letting people down and sacrifice whatever we need to in order to get the job done. That can be good; but it can also be bad. When our pace exceeds our capacity, bad things happen.
If you read this website regularly, you know we’ve been talking about pacing and taking care of ourselves. I heard Doug Fields say this in a recent message, “The pain people experience in life is directly proportional to the pace they have chosen.” If we are feeling burned out, exhausted, frustrated and ready to quit, perhaps it’s because you have chosen a pace that is too fast.
I say chosen, because it is always a choice. We may justify our too-fast pace by saying others tell us to do it, but the reality is, we always have a choice. There are seasons where we will be busy. But when busy becomes the new normal, we have a problem.
Don’t let your pace exceed your capacity. If you don’t even have time to pray, read the Bible, spend time with your spouse, kids and friends, your pace is too fast. Slow down. Enjoy the abundant life. Jesus invites us to walk with Him, not race Him. Check your pace and see if your quality of life doesn’t improve.
The irony of this post is that I wrote it on Sunday with the intention of posting it Monday morning, my first day of vacation—the first week I've taken off in a year. I didn't post it Monday because I got sucked back into work and ended up working the entire day, never having time to post this article on slowing down. Seems like I still have some work to do...