How often do you think about the pace of your life? I was at a church function last Sunday to send off our intern who just finished a year with our congregation to gain practical pastoral experience. The parish hall was decorated with pictures and words. Our pastor noticed that the ‘E’ in ‘PEACE’ had fallen off the bulletin board so that it read ‘GRACE AND PACE’. He spoke to its relevance in his sendoff message. It struck a chord, not only with our intern who was finishing seminary and involved in numerous community projects in addition to the demands of the internship, but also with me as I thought about how important both Grace and Pace are in our daily professional and personal lives.

For most of us, the Pace of our lives is – in a word – hectic. We load ourselves up with multiple commitments and activities at work, at home, in our communities. It’s all in the name of doing good, but we end up harming ourselves in the process. We don’t get enough sleep, we let our healthy habits go, and we invest less in important relationships. We’re painfully aware of it, but we struggle with what to do about it.

Pace and Overwhelm

I recently listened to a great webinar by Scott Eblin that addresses this. Scott is an executive coach who works with leaders to improve their ‘presence’. What he found repeatedly is that overwork and overwhelm due to the breakneck Pace they were trying to maintain was the culprit. A key point he makes with his clients is the importance of establishing a ‘rhythm’. Rather than trying to carve out big chunks of time to do right by yourself, focus more on understanding the way you operate during the day and how you can establish healthy habits that fit into that rhythm. Do you really have the energy to go run for an hour when you’ve just worked a 10-hour day? You’re exhausted, and you likely have kid duty or house chores to do. What little habits can you establish during your day to recharge your batteries? Here are a couple of simple yet impactful ideas:

  • Have walking meetings. You get the health and the relational benefits.
  • Breathe deeply to remain or become calm when the amygdala attach is threatening.
  • Find quiet time to shut off your busy brain. No creativity can happen with all that noise.

I’m sure you can come up with other habits that will work for you. The key is just to start, and start small. No half marathons. Run (or just walk) for 5 minutes. Establish the habit. And forgive yourself if you miss a day or two. Life throws us curve balls every day. Let it go and get back to it when you can. That kind of Grace is also a very healthy habit we would do well to practice on ourselves and on each other every day.

Grace and P(e)ace to you and yours!