by Gena Anderson
Have you ever felt out of sync with life? Do you know your calling, but struggle to stay on pace as you live it out? Are you armed and ready with health knowledge, yet unable to stick with healthier choices? Before you give up, take a moment to give thought to your pace and rhythm, and the power they have in our lives and wellness.
The normal resting heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute. Our hearts were designed to function at that pace. Going above it can be tolerated for a short period, but would be harmful if we stayed there too long. A slow heart rate can be dangerous as well. In fact, the further out of range our heart beats, the more dangerous the threat to our well-being becomes. The reason the heart rate is so important is something every critical care nurse has drilled into their brain: cardiac output. I’ll explain.
Between each heartbeat the heart fills with blood as it relaxes. Each beat of our heart is a sudden, swift contraction that pumps the blood out into circulation. The cardiac output is a measure of how adequate that pumping is. If the heart beats too fast there isn’t enough filling time between beats, so the blood volume lessens. If the pace is too slow, there aren’t enough beats to pump an adequate cardiac output, regardless of the adequate volume. And if the rhythm of beating is anything other than the normal lub-dub, the filling and pumping gets all out of whack (scientifically speaking). In all scenarios above, a heart rate or rhythm out of range doesn’t allow the heart to function at its full efficiency. The right pace and rhythm are required to be able to pump an adequate output. Pumping adequately and efficiently is what God designed our hearts to do, and he is a masterful engineer.
We should consider the pace of our lives and whether it’s allowing us to function most efficiently. Are we allowing our heart to get ahead of itself? Are we keeping it from its full potential? There may be times when we sprint, but we can’t sustain full speed without taking time to rest and refill. Conversely, a life too sedentary leaves a body sluggish and inefficient.
How do we find a pace and rhythm that allows for maximum efficiency and makes the best use of what we’ve got to work with? The answer is the Holy Spirit. Once we’ve decided to accept the love Jesus offers us, this divine pacemaker dwells in us, and we can follow the prompting it provides. The Holy Spirit reminds us of what Jesus taught us (John 14:26) and gives us power to be witnesses (Acts 1:8). Jude 1:20-21 says praying in the Holy Spirit keeps us in God’s love, even as we wait for his mercy. Jesus taught us to follow him, not run ahead, and to love above all else. He is the power that fills us, and the Holy Spirit guides our pace and timing if we let it. I tend to oscillate between running ahead of God and fear-based disobedience. The Holy Spirit helps me find that sweet pace in the middle I was designed to function in.
When I find the pace that aligns with the Holy Spirit, I’m at peace regardless of circumstances, and I’m productive even when that doesn’t seem possible. The rhythm that allows for God to fill me yet prioritizes efficient outpouring is the one I was designed for. The Holy Spirit does not mislead, and God is always calling us to the right thing at the right time.
Allow your heart to be led by that voice inside you, our internal pacemaker. Allow the Holy Spirit to set your rhythm and pace before you set your schedule. Find a healthy pace that God designed you for, and resist the temptation to function outside of it. Find a rhythm that sustains and doesn’t drain you. Lean into the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and trust the direction of the one who masterfully created you.