I was sitting across from my friend Sara on a rainy and cold Tuesday morning, I’d just come from dropping my daughter off at preschool, my three year old was running around at our feet and Sara was dropping wisdom on me per usual.
This particular Tuesday, Sara shared a quote about marathon racing from the book she was reading (The Daniel Plan by Drs. Warren, Amen, and Hyman) and I knew immediately that I would have to share it with you here:
“A pacer is a man or woman capable of finishing the race at an exact time. Kevin (the pacer) ran through the finish line at 3:35 – just what he was asked to do. Now, Kevin did not know who was counting on his pace. All he knew was that someone would be relying on his experience, strength and endurance to help him or her along their way toward the goal.
In our daily pursuit of spiritual and physical stewardship we all need pacesetters.
People whom God places in our lives to help us stay the course. Not only that, but God may, in fact, bless us with the privilege of being that for someone else. Like Kevin, we may or may not know who, but someone is depending on us to know the way and show the way.”
What a great way to describe discipleship, right? And it only added to it that Sara was the one to share it with me since she has definitely been a pacesetter for me the last few years. In fact, when I started this year, I saw a very large hole in my life and Sara had graciously agreed to fill it. This story about the pacesetter just solidified what I’ve always known to be true: we all need someone ahead of us to help us along in being disciples of Christ.
Be Purposeful and Initiate
When I’d finally stopped for two seconds in the middle of my busy life of partnering, mothering, ministering, writing, cooking, cleaning and all the other “ing words” I was doing – it was evident that while my walk with the Lord was “acceptable” – if I really wanted to grow then I’d have to actively pursue a relationship with Jesus (OBVIOUSLY), but also make sure that I had pacesetters in my life too. Now in my case, Sara is fully aware that I’m following her. I called her up and asked if she’d be willing to meet with me on a weekly basis. She knew it meant sharing our lives with one another and talking about our personal walks with the Lord and praying together. For my part, it would mean being accountable in the areas where I knew I was struggling. And before you even think it (because I know you are), I fully realize I’m super lucky to have a Sara in my life! To have someone willing to make time for me on a weekly basis! WHAAA?! Awesome, right?
But it wasn’t a week after I had cemented Sara into her new position in my life that the Lord stuck a mirror in front of my face and reminded me that not only was I in need of a pacesetter. Others might just be using me as a pacesetter too… that I needed to make time in my busy schedule, not just for Sara to help me along, but I also needed to carve out time in my week for those who were racing after me.
And honestly, I knew that making that time to help others would benefit my own walk with Jesus too. It’s humbling, but one of the best ways for me to move forward in discipleship is to not just be discipled, but to disciple others. Oh friends, there is nothing like talking to someone else about their struggle to forgive, to point a big ol’ spotlight on your own forgiveness issues! Or try asking someone else if they’re reading their Bible on a daily basis and get away with not reading it yourself! In short, it’s pretty impossible to stay stagnant in your walk with the Lord if you’re allowing other believers to be an integral part of your life. If you’re having a hard time being a disciple of Jesus, then take a look ahead of you on the road – find someone that’s further down the track and stalk them (I mean, call them up and awkwardly ask to have coffee), but also look behind and be willing to humble yourself to give of your time and your life to help those running up from behind.
Below are steps you can take right away that will help you grow spiritually.
- Actively pursue a relationship with Jesus on a daily basis
- Look for pacesetters in your life and reach out to them; take the initiative to meet with them on a regular basis
- Stay accountable in areas where you know you’re struggling
- Invest in people’s lives who might be a few steps behind you in their walk with the Lord