There’s a reason I don’t run with music in my ears. Although it puts happy songs in my head and helps my feet find their rhythm quicker, a catchy beat won’t carry me all the way to the finish line.
Instead of listening to instruments and voices as my legs pound the pavement and my ponytail swings on the back of my head, I listen to my breathing.
My lungs carry a tune all of their own. The steady breaths in and out form a song that beckons to be heard.
The sound of our breathing isn’t always elegant like a piece of classical music. Some runs the in and out flow of my breaths are labored and heavy, I reach out for air with desperation. And still other times my breathing is soft, nearly silent, I have to focus to hear anything.
But every runner knows that their breathing reveals their pace.
Lately, I’ve become a student of my breathing because I want to finish strong, I want to run the right pace in this race that God has set before me.
What is our breathing wanting to tell us? I know I don’t always want to listen. I’d rather push when I need to rest, or rest when I could be picking up my feet. Life get confusing when we don’t listen to our breathing, not our actually breathing ofcourse, but the huffs and puffs of our soul.
Turn off the music of distractions for a moment, the outside voices clamoring for our attention, and the instruments that are cluttering the spaces of our heart.
Take a moment this week to pull off the headphones, all the blaring noise and constant barrage of activity around you and in you, and simply sit with the sounds of the life in your body.
Do you hear the music of your breathing? It’s a symphony of sorts…the bass of your heartbeat, the repetitive in and out movement of your chest, the air flowing quietly down into your lungs.
Your breathing, be it rapid or relaxed, will tell you your pace. And it will bring insight into what you need to do next.
Perhaps it’s time to push yourself up and over the hill…only a few more steps now…you got this.
Or maybe it’s time to take a sip of water and let the gifts of others nourish and restore you so you can keep going. That’s okay too.
Or maybe you’ve found your groove for now, your breathing sings of a pace that will sustain you for many more miles.
Let the deep, shallow, or defeated breaths of your soul lead you to the one who put the air in your lungs. He will show you what pace to run for this part of your race.
You’re blessed when you stay on course,
walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
keeping to the course you set;
Then I’d never have any regrets
in comparing my life with your counsel.
I thank you for speaking straight from your heart;
I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.
I’m going to do what you tell me to do;
don’t ever walk off and leave me.
How can a young person live a clean life?
By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
Psalm 119:1-16 (the message)