Keep Your Stride

Keep Your Stride (Audio)

I have an uncle in Kentucky that I see, on average, about once every 10 years or so. When we have been at his farm and walk through his fields, I’ve always noted that he has one of the longest strides where most of us have to quicken our pace in order to keep up.

Notice, I did not say lengthen our stride… Rather, we have to quicken our normal pace to keep up.

Our stride is often defined by our anatomy, the length of our legs, the spread of our hips, the strength of our core, the mobility of our muscles, and the terrain we happen to find ourselves in. Our pace moves all our coordinated parts in sequence to change the speed of our movements to meet the need.

We have the ability to change our pace, and stride, to fit the need. But we are often uncomfortable extending past our normal stride, for any length of time especially that stretches our resources. Yet, a person that has a long stride as a part of their physiology is often the one we pace ourselves with because they seem to have the ability to be at the head of the pack, leading the way.

But, we can change our pace to a saunter and I’ve watched it about myself many times, my stride shortens to nearly a shuffle. It’s the same with me and my bride. Walking in the store she will quickly walk off and leave me. Why? I probably have the longer stride, but if I’m not in a hurry then I like to saunter, meander, and stroll. My natural stride gets shortened, calories are saved, and the moment turns to a casual pace. If I’m in a hurry, then my walk is like a steam-roller! Better get out of the way!

Still, there are times that our stride is thrown off by circumstances. The staircase doesn’t allow for normal steps (I’m thinking of many castles in Europe!), the ground is rocky and dangerous, the path is a soggy mess, or we are shuffling along because we have withdrawn due to our thoughts or emotions.

Our stride and pace are impacted by many issues of life, but to me, success is that ability to be constant in how you move through life no matter the challenges and hurdles that face you down every morning. It’s that ability to move forward against the tide of negativity and disdain. It’s looking further down the road and seeing the light of day and the end of the tunnel, but also able to enjoy the moment even when the storm clouds rage against you.

Success is Knowing Your Stride and Maintaining it every day! Click To Tweet

Your attitude about life is not tossed to and fro regardless of the circumstances, you simply know how to keep your stride regardless of the mess of the day. Your stride says a lot about your consistency whether you walk alone, or even in a crowd.

The pace may change with the season, but the stride tells all.

I heard a parable this morning that probably is the root of all of this thinking and writing.

A farmer has a horse who jumps the fence and runs off one day. His neighbors come to commiserate with him, “Oh, what a terrible thing!” The farmer just shrugs his shoulder in acceptance of what has happened. The next day the horse returns with 3 wild horses. Again, the neighbors come over, only this time they are amazed at his good fortune. The farmer just shrugs his shoulder in acceptance of what has happened. 

Then, his son tries to break the wild horses and is pitched off and breaks his leg. Here come the neighbors! This time to commiserate with him. The farmer just shrugs his shoulder in acceptance of what has happened. The very next day soldiers come to draft young men into the army but ignore the farmer’s son because of his injury. The neighbors are ecstatic about his good fortune! The farmer just shrugs his shoulder in acceptance of what has happened.

What’s the lesson learned? In the midst of any problem we often let our emotions and the event dictate how we respond, but we probably could not say whether the event was good or bad for the long term. Just ride the wave of life and don’t get down because of the circumstances. This too shall pass, and the next view of the historical event may prove whether it was good, or bad…

It’s the lesson we all know but we struggle with it all too often. How do we keep our perspective even in the face of opposition or trials?

The writer of Hebrews tells us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NKJV) Keywords? Run…Endurance…Race… Set (established)… Ahead of us… The Apostle Paul teaches that “tribulations produce perseverance or endurance to the challenge” and from this action of endurance we produce our character. (Romans 5:3-4) Ask anyone if they wish the challenge they were facing was something they could skip past and we would all join them with a resounding Y-E-S!

But then we are reminded of the words Jesus prayed in the garden.

Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:38-39 NKJV)

I referenced the “race” that is before us in Hebrews 12:1…why not look at that verse and the next two verses and grasp the writers’ full thought.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NKJV)

Jesus set the pace for what endurance looks like! Even when death was imminent. He kept his stride, though his pace adapted to the trial. He saw the other side of the trial, and we can historically look over our shoulder and understand it so much better.

Here’s my thought. We should stride into the future with equanimity that allows for incidents to be either for the good, or not, and only time will tell the story. But how we live that story…well, that’s the telling tale!


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