APR 19, 2017 Devotional: Are You Holding Pace….or Holding Faith?

OThis week’s WAWA took us inside…..whew!  I generally keep a keen eye to the weather forecast and with the threat of showers early on Wednesday, I made the go-ahead decision on Tuesday to plan an indoor track workout.  Admittedly, I felt a little bit like school administrators who cancel classes the day before at even the hint of snowflakes.   Of course, just like the threat of snowflakes, there wasn’t a drop of rain to be seen anywhere this morning!  Oh well….we ran inside anyway.

Now if you read the workout or, better yet, did the workout this morning, then you probably felt like the hardest part was the exercises we did off the track.  I mean, really….who reaches near muscle failure before running laps around the track??  So, if the burpees, lunges, squats, and jacks were tough to you….then you’re probably not alone.

Truth be told, I designed the running portion of the workout as the more challenging part.  I asked each of you to determine your 5K race pace and then had you attempt to hold that pace while running multiple laps around the track.  It’s challenging to hold a pace, consistently over time, especially if you’re fatigued.  Congrats if you came close to doing that this morning.

Holding “pace” is also challenging in our daily spiritual workouts.  We all know what we’re supposed to do.  Keeping our minds on the right path; follow God’s instructions; take care of one another.  Day in and day out.  Maintain that pace and you’ll get to heaven, right?

But what about the times when we break stride?  Just like this morning, I bet you had a few laps where you came up short of your goals, right?  I asked you to keep pace on your laps, but I increased both the intensity of the strength exercises as well as the number of times you had to run around the track.

See where I’m going with this?

Life doesn’t give us the same exercises, reps, and laps on a daily basis.  Some might point out that “variety is the spice of life”.  But I say, not every spice is so sweet.

The only thing consistent in my life these days seems to be “change“.  I’ve been to two funerals in the past 6 months.  And that’s more than I’ve been to in the past 5 years.  Friends of mine and families I know are hurting.  How do they keep stride and how do I maintain my pace too, given all the pain I see?

Here’s a secret I’ve learned:  It’s okay to break stride.  It’s okay to fall behind.  And it’s even okay to skip WAWA every now and then.  You don’t need to hold onto that pace.  You need to hold onto faith.  One author I read recently describes the importance of having faith by saying:  “Without faith, we couldn’t expect that things would turn out all right for us no matter what the situation might be.

Some might argue that faith is not necessarily a spiritual thing.  I mean, sure having faith means we trust that the airplane won’t fall out of the sky from 30,000 feet, that cars won’t cross the center line crashing into oncoming traffic, or that if you fall asleep you won’t forget to breathe…and thereby pass away.  Those are all true.

But I believe the true value of faith is aligned with our Heavenly Father’s  greater plan for each of us.  So, yeah, I guess that means I lean on the side of faith being a spiritual thing!

Here’s five quick reasons that same author explains why having faith is so important.

First, a focused power of faith breeds abundance.  Our minds are quite powerful, when put to good use.  But if they’re idle, then we can drift away from any sense of positivity.  Faith allows us to replenish our spirits when things seem bleak.  Faith reminds us that the more we focus on life, the more we get out of it!

Next, faith reminds us that whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.  I know that may sound cliche, but it’s certainly true.  Today’s workout is perhaps one small example of that.  Still, on a much larger scale, faith calls us to consider the story of Job from the bible.  All of Job’s worldly possessions were taken a way.  But Job didn’t throw in the towel.  He kept the faith and in the end he emerged much stronger in nearly all aspects of his life.

Faith helps us discover our purpose in life.  When going through the tough times of life, it’s often our faith that pulls us along and guides us in the direction we need to be going.

Additionally, faith will always surpass anxiety, stress and fear.  Mental stress can lead to fatigue, which can lead to further physical and mental problems.  Faith, however, can be the secret sauce in your pantry to reduce the amount of stress, anxiety and fear in your life.  Give that one a shot the next time the walls are caving in around you!

Finally, faith can act as a pathway to finding solutions in your life.  For the most part….and for most of us….things don’t tend to happen overnight.  We all know someone who is waiting on their break to happen.  Perhaps it’s that person who’s searching for the right companion.  Or the worker who’s been laid off, still waiting for the next opportunity to roll us their sleeves and get things going.  Regardless of your situation, recognize that your faith might be the spiritual compass that allows you to safely unhinge from where you think you should be going, and instead point you in a completely different direction.

My prayer for us this week is that we allow ourselves to fall off our marks when it comes to maintaining that steady pace.  Let yourself go if for no other reason than to understand that eventually we all break stride.  Keep the faith.  Recognize that faith is the glue that holds us together, protects us from harm, and points us in the right direction.

Here’s a favorite quote to leave you with today:

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” — Thomas Aquinas