It’s so easy to be paced instead of setting our own pace or letting God set our pace.
Agree or disagree?
I enthusiastically agree.
But I want the latter to be my life, to be my family’s life.
I recently finished a book by Ainsley Arment. She writes that “in the interest of giving our children the very best of everything—education, experiences, safety, gadgets, clothing, and toys—we have traded their souls for a life in the rat race. We have forgotten that for everything gained, something is lost.”
Maybe the same can be said of us.
It’s easier to be told how to be, to fall in with what others are doing, or be influenced by the world, than it is to listen to the voice of God, decide for ourselves and stand humbly unwavering.
We’re unsure, worried, insecure so we seek out a measuring stick or a formula or to-do list. We sometimes hold ourselves and our families to standards we don’t set. We often fill every moment hearing from others about their lives instead of sitting with the weight and wonder of our own. I’m guilty of this.
I’m sure you’ve heard the “if you live by their approval you’ll die by their rejection” thing, right? What about, “if your pace is set by someone or something else, nothing will ever be enough and you’ll always be restless.”
Marshall Jenkins writes, “We use selective inattention and forgetting to get through life. We assume it is the crazy pace of our lives that is killing us when really it’s our inattention to our deepest desire, the desire for God.”
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Why are you doing what you do? Why are you burdened by this or that? Is it a burden from God or yourself or another person? What expectations fill your heart and mind and time? Where are they coming from? What does your soul feel like? What makes you tired? What energizes you? Are you anxious? What are the ‘shoulds’ rolling around your heart?
There is freedom to be different. To do differently. To be you… with God, in His Kingdom, for the world.
I don’t think His goal for us is that we look and act the same, in that we do only X kind of work or goals, or have Y kind of interests or Z kind of personality, talents or desires.
I think His goal for us is that we seek, trust and obey the Lord. To love Him and love our neighbor. Looking like us. No matter our choice of education, calendar commitments, how we spend our money (or not), style of parenting or clothing, our strengths and weaknesses, or the way we operate in the world.
So that when the rain falls, and the floods come, and the winds blow and beat on our souls, our families, our faith, we won’t fall, because we’re founded on the Rock. Driven by desire Christ and His ways. Influenced by His words first. Submitting to His unique plan and purpose for our lives.
It’s a good question for me, maybe for you as well, at the top of the year, to ask: am I (with God) setting the pace of my life or is the pace being set for me?