Last night I went out for a 4 mile run on the nice soft flat top of the local levee. Since it’s so flat it can be an easy run or a fast run depending on how you feel. I intended to do something sort of in the middle – quick but controlled.
I started my run a few blocks from the trail head and just as I approached the start of the levee another gentlemen started down the path. Uh-no! a rabbit. So as I rounded the first turn and could see across the levee for quite a distance I noticed there were several runners and walkers out in front of me. One by one, I placed my eyes on the back of the individual in front of me and ran them down. As I approached the first mile, I noticed another runner in the distance, maybe 1/4 mile ahead, and sub consciously I fixed in on him. I traveled through the first mile 15 seconds faster than I wanted, but I was feeling so fleet a foot and completely in control. I continued ahead, slowly gaining on the object of my fixation. I come along side the final runner with about a third of a mile to my turn around marker, the two-mile. We arrived together at the two-mile mark more than 20 seconds faster than my intended pace and even faster than the first mile. Yes!
He was continuing down the path, so we parted ways and I turned around. Since there were no returning runners in front of me, I had nothing to focus on but to gloat of my achievements! And as you can guess, my time greatly reduced on the two miles back in.
This morning, I came across these great proverbs
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
I could not help but be reminded of my trip across the levee last night. As long as I had someone to focus on, to fix my gaze directly on, I was in the zone. Moving efficiently and effectively towards the target – actually not even realizing the effort I was giving! But as soon as I had no focus. As soon as I could observe the grass, and the distance, and the birds, and get absorbing in myself gratifying thoughts, my efficiently was greatly reduced.
So it is with our spirits! Make sure you are focused on the right thing today.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God Hebrews 12:2 NIV