Pace of Grace
Pace of Grace
Written By Jenn McKay
It’s Saturday morning, and I’m sitting on my deck, drinking my second cup of coffee. The sun is peeking between the trees, and the birds' songs are in full symphony. Their chirps and tones are all different; sometimes, they sing over top of each other, and other times they give each other their solos. Ahhh.
I don’t know how you feel about this month so far, but it has been a whirlwind for me! Lots of deadlines and projects are all piling up on top of each other, along with a full patient load, and all of a sudden, my kids' school has decided to make up for the lost time of no field trips and school events, and everything is crammed into the next few weeks. This train is racing full speed ahead, and there is no slowing down!
But then, unexpectedly, a workshop I had planned was cancelled, and I found myself with a day to slow down a bit and breathe. I was equally disappointed (that the workshop didn’t happen) and yet thankful for the much-needed break.
Have you ever heard of the term “Pace of Grace”? I first heard it from Pastor Mike Todd and have since adopted it as one of my life statements.
I’ll explain, but first, let's talk about two different paces.
Let's say the house is a mess because you’ve been working much more than usual, then add to that activities almost every night of the week. The extra projects you’ve been working on in your “free” time all of a sudden have a deadline, and it’s a monumental task that you have no idea how you will pull off. Plus, you have extra guests staying at your house, and there’s a big birthday celebration in your family that you want to make extra special, so you’re planning a weekend away with a bunch of surprises.
Phew! How does that make you feel when you read that? Frantic and frazzled? Shallow breath and racing heart? Have you ever experienced a time in life that felt like that freight train racing full speed ahead? Take a moment, think back and tune into your body. Do you remember how you felt? (Or perhaps how you feel right now.)
Now, let’s swing the pendulum the other way.
Take a moment and “sit” with me on my deck. The air is crisp yet warm, and the sound of the birds is music to your ears. The sun and blue sky calm your spirit, and you feel yourself taking long deep breaths. Close your eyes and just breathe.
You know there are things you need to do today, but you also know that they will get done, eventually. No longer are there a thousand things piled on top of each other, and you have the luxury to sit for as long as you need to. Things will likely come up that you didn’t account for, but you feel a stillness, a calmness in your body, and you know you will be able to handle whatever comes at you.
Your system feels settled, like a calm lake that looks like glass. Pebbles may be thrown into it and cause it to ripple, but the lake itself is already calm, so the ripples will soon dissipate, and the lake will settle again.
That is a Pace of Grace.
Depending on your current pace and how long it’s been like that, it may take you a little while to find your Pace of Grace. For me, to find my Pace of Grace, it took a full-on burnout resulting in having to pull back from almost everything, including some pretty major things my family needed to be taken care of.
My Pace of Grace now typically looks like this: I start my mornings with some uninterrupted time to sit, read and write, then I take care of my family and help get their days going. After that, I do some of my rehab, take a walk, and then it’s time for work. Sprinkle in a nap along with my meditation app and then more family activities. Just enough things in the day to keep it moving along, balanced with time to myself to refill my tank and then some time with my family.
Not every day ends up this way, but if I get enough of them, I can better handle the days that are a little more hectic and demanding. So, take a few minutes today to figure out what your Pace of Grace looks like.
Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
This scripture is believed to be written during a time of conflict, strife and perhaps even war. The writer encourages us to slow down, even stop, and remember that we are not alone and don’t have to handle everything on our own, under our own strength. But rather to stand in the strength of the Lord. He’s got us!
I know we all have some seasons in life that are so full and practically bursting that the mere thought of slowing down is so distant and foreign that the image is blurry and feels so very unattainable.
Those are the times when you need to slow down the most.
Sometimes nothing can change, but sometimes you have to say no to a few things in order to push pause (This is one of the MAJOR lessons I’ve learned over the past few years of my caregiver journey.)
Some questions to ponder: Where are things at for you right now? What is the “Pace” of your life? What do you need more of, or less of? Try and imagine what a Pace of Grace would look like for you.
I hope your day starts off exactly how you need it to. And if it looks to be a crazy day, please try and carve out some time for yourself. Just five minutes outside in the sun, or listening to your favourite song or playlist, or taking long, slow deep breaths will help clear your mind and help usher in your Pace of Grace. The more you go there, the easier it will be to get back to it. And remember, your Heavenly Father is right there with you.
I hope you have a wonderful, grace-filled day.