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Viewpoint from Jane Walters 12/11/2021

JANE WALTERS 2020Jane Walters
Jane Walters, is the author of Too Soon, a mother’s journey through miscarriage (SPCK) and a regular contributor to Premier Radio and UCB. She leads creative writing retreats and is a popular speaker locally and further afield. Visit: janewyattwalters.com


Setting the Pace

 
I’m not exactly what you’d call an athlete. The only time I’m known to break into a run is if I’ve set off late for church and then in only brief, wheezing bursts. But for some reason, I’ve been thinking about marathon running lately, and thought I’d share my musings with you

dove leftAccording to information on the internet, the world’s fastest marathon came in at a fraction over two hours, with a more recent unofficial attempt actually being under two hours
 
That’s every one of the twenty-six miles taking only four and a half minutes each. Incredible! By way of stark contrast, the slowest officially recorded marathon took fifty-four years. To explain, the Japanese runner in question had abandoned the original race in 1912 for various reasons and was invited back all those years later to complete what he had started. As he said, “It was a long trip. Along the way, I got married, had six children and ten grandchildren!”
 
In the first-flush excitement of a project, we can kind of launch ourselves at it with abandon. The new job requires overtime? No problem! The church needs volunteers for a new after-school club? Count me in! The trouble is, those early enthusiasms can soon give way to physical tiredness, as well as emotional and spiritual knock-on effects, which can sometimes result in burnout. Even well-trained athletes cannot keep race-speed up indefinitely
 
Dove rightIn my music lessons, I often employ my metronome, a gadget which taps out a steady beat at the rate of my choosing. When pupils set off at a break-neck pace, a little reminder of the recommended speed can prevent a tangling of fingers over the next page. So, what can we use to keep our daily pace steady? How can we avoid dawdling and under-achieving as well as the dangers of breaking down completely from extreme effort?
 
Hebrews 12 likens our lives to running a race. The Message version says, “Strip down, start running – never quit!” We don’t need to have our sights on a marathon but we are urged to “keep [our] eyes fixed on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in”. But I’m also reminded of words in Isaiah 40: “Those that wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles. They run and don’t get tired; they walk and don’t lag behind”. That sounds much more like my kind of pace; and, with God being both the destination and companion on the journey, it’s one I’m happy to be on
 

also published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury

 


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