I took this photo one late afternoon over Austin several months back. Stunning. I would have actually missed this moment entirely if I hadn’t felt a inner nudge to cut out of work early that day and go for a drive. I call them “prayer drives,” actually. I love prayer drives. Some of my most significant conversations with God have happened on the open road ~ just Jesus, and me, headed to God to knows where. So on this particular day toward late afternoon I heard a light whisper in my ear. “Let’s go for a drive!” So I dropped my work for the day (quite unfinished) and took off. This amazing cloud was just one of the wonders I experienced that evening. I love it when God plans a date for me and then surprises me with it like that. Of course, it all depends on whether I heed that initial whisper.
Remember when I wrote about leadership capacity several months back? (If not, you can check out that entry by clicking here.) I used a car analogy to explain how leadership capacity is like figuring out how much cargo (weight) your car can carry before it breaks down from the strain. I want to revisit that analogy to talk about another element of spiritual leadership that leaders need to be intentional about: Pace. If capacity speaks to how much weight your car can effectively carry, then pace simply refers to how fast you typically drive. For example:
- What is the speed of your life? How fast do you move as you go through the day? Are you typically rushing, strolling, meandering, or on a flat out run?
- Does the current pace of your life seem too fast, too slow, or about right for you? How do you know?
- Most of the time, who or what is deciding how fast your life should go?
- What does it mean to let God set the pace of your life?
We each struggle against many external forces that try to control the pace of our lives. Job pressure, family pressure, even the media and popular culture all try to dictate to us what the pace of our lives should be. But for those who are surrendered to God, those external voices don’t get to decide the pace of our lives anymore. Instead, we listen for God’s voice and follow his lead. What pace is God’s Spirit calling you to live right now?
The truth is, God moves at many different speeds. Fast is not better than slow. Slow is not better than fast. Action is not better than stillness. Stillness is not better than action. The thing is to keep pace with the Spirit in all seasons and at all times.
Sometimes God’s Spirit will lead you to go fast (notice the sense of urgency Luke conveys about Paul’s missionary journey in Acts 16:1-12) and sometimes his Spirit leads you to be still and wait (as happened to Paul when he first became a Christ follower…see Galatians 1:15-18). As we surrender more and more of our life to God, he teaches us how to live in peace at many different speeds according to the pace his Spirit is moving in that moment or season. This is, at least in part, what I believe God is saying through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 40:28-31…
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”
As a leader, how do you ensure you are keeping pace with God?