How to Pace Yourself in a Busy World

Busy mom working at home with young kids

How to Pace Yourself in a Busy World

As I saw each child drop out of the pacer test, it reminded me that we all have our breaking points. No matter who we are, only Jesus Christ was the one to run a perfect race in this life. He is the one who has the perfect rhythm, breath, and timing. Because of this, we are reminded that we are only human and cannot handle life at a high-speed pace all of the time.

It was just one month ago when the upper elementary students were going to P.E., dreading the event that was about to take place. As the coach played the recording, a beep occurred and the kids ran from one side of the gym to the other. The goal was to pace themselves and reach the finish line before the next beep went off. Each level, the beeps became more frequent and once a child missed two beeps, he was out. The beeping got more rapid, and the children began to drop out one by one until the last runner was left and the coach went and ran with the young boy as long as he could last.

This is called the pacer test. Do you ever feel like you are running a pacer test? Does life feel like everything is going “A-Ok” and then you start getting a little tired, finally to the point of exhaustion? You realize that were on a speed that you were not able to handle. 

There are many analogies in the Scriptures about running the race of faith and pacing ourselves on the journey. One of my favorites is Hebrews 12:1-3 which says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

As I saw each child drop out of the pacer test, it reminded me that we all have our breaking points. Yes, one student could handle the longest, but he still did not run a perfect race. In the same way, no matter who we are, only Jesus Christ was the one to run a perfect race in this life. He is the one who has the perfect rhythm, breath, and timing. Because of this, we are reminded that we are only human and cannot handle life at a high-speed pace all of the time. 

You might be thinking that this does not apply to you, but sit down and take a minute to reflect on these questions. If the answer is yes to either of them, maybe it is time to reset your run. Maybe the word, “No” or “later” needs to take place. We are called to live like Christ, but we are not Christ. We are but dust and in our weaknesses. He can give us strength, but that is no excuse to weary ourselves to emptiness.

1. Are You so Focused on the Finish Line That You Miss the Race?

The first part of the Hebrews 12 verse says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

We are not running this race of faith alone. My husband is someone who is running with me. This Scripture says to focus on Jesus. So often I am focused on the finish line, I forget that Jesus is in the race with me. I can live with endurance on the path in which God has me on, if I am looking at Him right now, today, in this moment.

My husband Drew recently told me how I have a tendency to be in a fast work mode and push through until my breaking point of exhaustion. I am trying to seek the Lord to help me set a steadier rhythm. In other words, I tend to be a sprinter in life and need to learn cross country. Sometimes there are many things required of me, but I put the pressure of time on myself, rather than choosing to wait and create a healthier balance. Not everything that is coming at us is a negative activity. It could even be a ministry opportunity, however the question is, “Why do I feel the need to finish everything right now?” When we are so focused on finishing, we miss the moment. God can empower us by His Holy Spirit to live in the now.

Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”


Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Jacoblund

2. Do You Always Feel Like There Is Too Much to Do and Not Enough Time?

This past year I got married, moved to a new city, worked a full-time teaching job, did ministry on nights and weekends, made friends, went to church, cooked, cleaned, and exercised the best I could. It was a beautiful year, but a busy one. A few times, I noticed my pace was too fast. There were too many plates spinning and I needed to pass one or two off or everything would come crashing down. I delegated some things that I needed to ask for help in, and I figured out my best balance.

Have you had too much going on? Maybe you are a busy career woman? Perhaps you have young children and are barely getting any sleep? Maybe you are an on-the-go grandparent who serves the community? Are you over-involved in ministries at the church and need to home in on your specific callings? If the Lord has blessed you with many people to love and many opportunities to serve, that is wonderful. However, it is vital that we keep a priorities list. First, Jesus has to be number one in our hearts. Our relationship with Him is the top priority. Second, if you are married, your spouse. Third, if you have children they come next. Then, you might have extended family, friends, church, work, etc.

I once heard a woman who I respect in the ministry share that due to her roles as a woman of Christ, wife, and mom that she was not able to focus as heavily on friendships in a season because of her speaking and writing ministry among her other roles. But the friends who she did keep understood and they would catch up and meet when they were able to during that period of her life.

What season are you in? What needs to be your “yes” and what needs to be your “no?” Other people might look like they are thriving in every area, but it is just not possible to be all things to all people. We have to refuse to compare ourselves to what we see of others, and focus on what we know of ourselves. We are not failures.

The Lord Jesus Himself even took intentional time to get away from the crowds and rest. Even though He was doing great things, He still had balance to create a sustainable pace. Luke 5:15-16 says, “But the news about Jesus spread all the more, and great crowds came to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet He frequently withdrew to the wilderness to pray.”

As we reflect on the second half of our verses from Hebrew 12, let’s think about how Jesus ran. “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

If we attempt to live life on high speed, we are likely to get into a crash. Endurance like Jesus requires focus and faith.

John S. Raglin, a sports psychologist from Indiana University studied college runners and discovered that less accomplished athletes tended to dissociate, to think of something other than their running to distract themselves. When our minds and hearts drift from the focus of Jesus Christ, our lives will be less than they could be. We get the joy of focusing our minds on our Victor.

Take some time to ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you need to be running with Him and what areas you need to pass on to another. This is a yearly, monthly, even daily decision we make as we look to our Savior and run the race that He has for us in the best way possible.

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Photo credit: ©Getty Images/grinvalds

Emma DanzeyEmma Danzey’s mission in life is to inspire young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. Emma is a North Carolina resident and green tea enthusiast! She is married to her husband Drew and they serve international college students. She enjoys singing, dancing, trying new recipes, and watching home makeover shows. During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first two writing projects: a Bible study on womanhood and a non-fiction book on singleness. You can visit her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com