Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: Devotional: Stop Looking at the Clock

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Devotional: Stop Looking at the Clock

     Once again, my adventures in running have segued into a life lesson-- one that I'm still slowly learning.  It started with my long run on Saturday (Click HERE to read about that).  To summarize: it was a great run, and a fast one at that.  I got to thinking that I should be able to run my recovery runs faster if I can run my long run at that fast of a pace.  So I went out on Monday and I ran fast.  Too fast.  I ran and kept looking to see my pace: "Oh no!  I've gone from 6:49 to 6:53."  It went on like that for almost the entire run.  I was feeling decent, and happy to be running that fast.  But towards the end, I started really lagging.  I was still keeping a 7:03 pace, but I was having no fun and I was just running to the next stoplight where I would hopefully get a quick rest.  Ya...stupid.
My literal-- and perhaps spiritual-- watch.
     It is even worse, considering I had a hard tempo run this morning: 2 mile warmup, 3 mile 80% max. threshold pace tempo, 5x 1 min. hard, 1 min. easy fartleks, and a 2 mile cooldown.  I felt great when I did this workout for the first time last week.  I was rested and mentally "chomping at the bit" to get some hard running in.  With Vacation Bible School this morning though, I had to wake up at 6:30 in order to get out by 7:00 a.m.  I was not as sore as I'd expected.  When I checked my watch a few minutes into the tempo though, discovering it had only been .67 miles, I realized my legs were pretty flat.  For how they felt, I was happy at my mental toughness.  At some points-- like when running the entire thing against the wind-- I felt like just giving up and bagging the workout.  I couldn't though.  That's absolutely NOT how I conduct myself or finish business.  So overall, I got a good physical workout and an excellent mental workout today.
      It got me thinking though, how often am I looking at the clock in life?  Maybe it's a literal clock, or maybe its the clock of my own timing.  As in, "I SHOULD be at this point by now," or "God should let this happen, because that was how I planned it."
     Much like running, when I fall into those cycles of looking at my own watch and trying to measure everything in my own timing, I completely miss the whirlwind of life around me.  I'm reminded of Proverbs 16:9, which says: "Man plans his steps, but the Lord directs his path."  God has an amazing plan for each and every one of us (Jeremiah 29:11).
     So what does it take to stop looking at our clocks and our watches?  How do we stop the silliness and focus back on the father?  I think part of what is required is a step of faith.  In order to stop looking at our own watch, we have to be content to live in freedom and trust that God is in control.  We have to step back from the cockpit and believe that we are not needed to fly the plane!
     Then, after we've surrendered that need to control and keep time for ourselves, is when we find the freedom Christ offers.  See, there's nothing like a run where I just flip my watch to my wrist (so it's harder to look at it), and I just run according to the pace my body needs that day.  Sometimes it is slower than I think, and other days it's faster.  But those are the runs when I am able to notice the beautiful trees or the trickling stream that I'm running beside.  God has placed those things there for me to enjoy, but I can only enjoy them when I stop trying to measure everything up.  Looking at my watch while running is a method of controlling and not trusting that God knows what my body needs that day.  The same goes for life!  When we manipulate others, try to control minute details, or act like our own gods, we rob ourselves of the joy Christ offers.

     Take a look at your life: what are your "watches" or "clocks" that have gotten in between you and God?  What do you need to do to eliminate those and experience freedom in those areas again?  I'd encourage you to memorize Proverbs 16:9, to remind yourself how capable God is of controlling those things you are trying to control.  Then, we can take that step together and relax in the beauty God has surrounded us with.

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