“Hurry up MacKay!”
My feet hit the pavement harder as I heard the familiar voice from the large noisy crowd. My leg muscles fired faster as I pushed myself into better position from the rest of the pack. Continuing this slightly quickened pace, I hoped my stamina would not fail.
I used to run cross country in High School. At first I joined only because I wanted to get in shape for my sport of choice at the time—soccer. Because of this, my commitment was skewed.
In my first year involved with Cross Country, during practice I would hang at the back of the pack with two friends I enjoyed chatting with. I didn’t push myself and enjoyed the slower pace while everyone else on the team rushed ahead.
Only a few weeks in, my coach pulled me aside and gave me a stern pep talk, in a non-demoralizing way.
“You can do better than this. I know you can.”
He affirmed what I already knew—I wasn’t giving it my best.
“I want you to try and stay pace with Kaylee.”
Ugh. She was typically a 4th or 5th place runner on the team. Usually, the top 5 runners in cross country determined whether or not the team would win or lose. I was currently running with the last three of the pack. Yet I looked back at my coach and the determination in me kicked in, “Ok coach. I will.”
In the following races I upped my game. I pushed myself in practices—stamina increased. I kept a strong pace but listened to my coach as he warned me about running too fast only to burn out before the end. Keep a steady pace. Run hard but don’t over-do it. I became the key #4/5 runner on the team.
I have another Coach in my life encouraging me in similar ways. Although instead of shouting it from the sidelines, I hear His whispers in my heart.
This coach gives me doses of encouragement to push forward when I’m lagging behind. Or He tells me when I need to pull back, when I’m trying to rush ahead of His leading causing me to burn out from my self-driven pace.
It is this ebb and flow pace that we must recognize God’s coaching.
Is He telling you to pull back? Push forward? Or simply stay steady with His pace?
Keep step with your Coach—our Father in Heaven—for He knows the exact and best pace for you. He will keep you from tripping. Or even worse, quitting. He will guard you from running ahead of Him too quick and too far—doing things in your own strength and with stamina not prepped for that breakneck pace.
So guard your heart. Listen to His leading. With this Coach by our side we will experience the thrill of the race and gain conditioning needed to keep hitting the pavement and keep pursuing His work on this life-marathon we’re running.
I don’t know about you, but I believe this Coach is definitely worth listening to.
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