The Bell Lap

Did you ever do “Track & Field” growing up? I used to do as many events as I could but I was best at the longer distance races. Upon every start you and your competitors jockey for position and then at some point the field levels out. Then it arrives, the “Bell Lap”. The field marshall or a random volunteer begins ringing a bell to remind all runners, in case they have lost count, that they are on their final lap. It’s funny how at the very sound of that bell almost instantaneously each runner buries their head and begins to expunge more out of themselves.

I’ve been thinking about this lately as Kim and I have recently started running again in the evenings. With where we live in the city we are close enough that we can run over to Mill Lake, stretch, run a few laps and take our time back home. I say that we have started running “again” which of course hints at the fact that we have done this before and stopped. It’s true and with good reason be it the weather was bad, we got home from being out with friends too late, or you know…the weather was bad…(Yes I realize I used that one twice)

When Kim travels with Tattered Tiaras I try my best to keep the discipline. That being said I’ve recently added this cool app to my phone to help with that. It really appeals to my competitive nature as it tells me how far I’ve ran, what my pace is and how many calories I’ve managed to burn. At the end of my run I’m given a recap and some encouragement is spoken to me by a complete stranger that usually leads me to bounding up the stairs of our condo with pride and in a mild amount of pain.

There’s just something about an encouraging word at the end of a run. Regardless to weather it comes from a coach, spouse or even if it generated from your iPhone…it’s fulfilling nonetheless!

I think sometimes in ministry we need to keep pushing ourselves and regardless of the “season” we find ourselves in or how ugly the weather around us might be, we keep running. Now don’t misunderstand me, I do value rest and taking time to recharge. Not only is it necessary but it’s Biblical. The fear I have is that every time we are told “NO” or perhaps that our idea is “ahead of its time” we decide to slow our pace and stop taking ground. I’ve watched this happen time and time again in sports. I especially pick up on in it hockey which is my sport of choice. The game starts and everyone is scrambling frantically and out of position until they settle into the “pace of the game”, then one team is ahead and another behind late in the third period and the team that needs to score will begin to take risks and elevate their offence right before your eyes. Causing you to think “if they’d played like this the whole game they would never be in this position”. Don’t hinder or handicap the periods that area ahead by playing less then your best now.

When it comes to running and exercise we always talk about getting “into it” or in my case “back into it”. This very language suggests that it’s a process and could take some time. In leading others, like in running and exercise, it will take time to see the results that you’re longing for or fell that God allowed you to dream towards. The key in this, in my opinion is submission, obedience and our willingness to keep running. I think far too many of us give up too quickly. On the route that Kim and I run we have a significant hill about a kilometre from home. Nightly it’s a struggle but each time it gets a little bit easier. Kim mentioned to me recently that her thought process when she gets to about the mid point of our climb is not how much is left but rather how much ground we’ve already covered. Sometimes that’s the perspective we need, a brief glance in the rearview mirror to orient ourselves and remind us how far we’ve come and to keep running…because after all, its’s awfully hard to build stamina standing still!

“It’s awfully hard to build stamina standing still!”

The ground that you’ve covered and how you’ve covered it is detrimental to your growth. As your stamina builds so does your ability to keep climbing. Don’t get caught just going through the motions and settling for the “pace” thats been previously set when you know you are capable of more. Keep pushing yourself, don’t wait for the “bell lap” to catch stride because by then it might be too late to cover the ground that He intend for you to take.

 “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” – 1st Corinthians 9:25-27

I took a brief brake from writing this post and in doing so came home to some incredible news. My wife, Kim, three years ago decided she was going to take her dream and make it a reality. Thus began what’s now known as “Tattered Tiaras”. Today we were so encouraged when we checked our mail and received a package that contained the Tattered Tiaras Certificate of Incorporation under the Canada Not-For-Profit Corporations Act. My wife has set a blistering pace and when there’s seconds left in the third period no one will be able to say of her, “if she had only played her entire life like this…” like we scream at our favourite team when their behind a goal with seconds left to play.

All we want to do is be able to exclaim the same words we read in 2nd Timothy 4:7 which simply states, “ I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” So don’t wait until the “bell lap” to run at your best…Leaders need to “lead”. Set a pace now that’s worth following.