I’ve recently begun walking.
LOL! I just realized how that sounds. Let me start over.
I’ve recently begun walking…for exercise.
Sometimes it’s around my block. Other times, it’s on the treadmill. My walking time is also a time for devotion. I chat with Jesus. He tells me things. Mostly that He loves me and everything will be alright. He knows how much reassurance I need at times.
Anyway, during my walks, I nearly always “get something.” Sometimes it’s something to write about for the blog or a book project. Other times, it’s just something for me to meditate on. Recently after huffing and puffing like a pig on oxygen while trying to walk up the steepest hill in my neighborhood, I got another “something.”
You see, our lives are made up of mountains, valleys, and plateaus. I believe this wholeheartedly. You are either headed toward the joy of a mountaintop experience or down into a nearly always temporary, valley segment of your life. And sometimes, you might find yourself chilling on a plateau.
That’s been preached a million times, right?
Here’s what hasn’t been talked about much: pacing. Or rather, our ridiculous preoccupation with it.
See, I don’t think it’s enough to say, “I’m in a good place” or “I’m in a tough place.” Sometimes we have to monitor our perceptions of how fast or slow we get to these places.
“Pace yourself, Tracey.” A good friend says this to me all the time.
And I usually listen. Usually. LOL!
But I also know I can’t allow my pace to define my journey. ‘Pacing myself’ assumes I have full control over how fast or slow I reach a destination. Sometimes I certainly think I do. I’ve often tried to force something that didn’t fit out of an anxiety to reach a goal.
But here’s the truth: Our pace is always going to be slower going up a mountain. It is always going to be faster heading down into the valley. Go ahead and try it! See how your breath becomes heavy and each step arduous as you physically climb to the top of a hill or small mountain. I once climbed Pinnacle Peak (a summit in Scottsdale, Arizona) and trust, I was not moving fast up that joint. At. All.
The same goes spiritually, emotionally, etc.
Sometimes we can find ourselves complaining about how long it takes to accomplish a goal or to see something “good” happen in our lives. On the flip side, others of us moan about how when things “go down” in our lives it feels like we are spiraling at warp speed.
Stop it. Stop focusing on how slow or fast something is occurring in your life. Pacing, in this instance, is deceptive. When things are moving too slowly for our liking, we assume we are headed into a bad place when it is quite possible that God is slowing us down and focusing our attention because we are actually headed to a mountaintop experience. A place of growth or accomplishment.
We also too often assume that because everything is moving fast in our lives that it is a sign of good things. It’s certainly possible (especially if you’ve climbed enough mountains that you’ve gotten your speed up) but I really caution you when things are moving fast in your life. Look around you! Check out the people, places and circumstances involved and make sure that it is not a spiral in disguise.
Oh and the plateaus of life? When things seem settled and you are comfortable with the way things are going? Yeah, we like to linger there, don’t we? It’s a safe place for us. We walk leisurely through this part of our lives and sometimes even pitch our tents there.
Don’t do that.
Plateaus are places of rest—not places of growth. And growth is what we should all be striving for. As many of us have figured out, growth (all kinds—spiritual, etc.) usually only occurs either on the mountains or in the valleys of life.
Are you on a mountain, in a valley, or chilling on a plateau? How have you responded to your position in this season?