I've been working on making my running more efficient, trying to get faster and using my energy in the right ways. One suggestion given to me was to make sure I was getting 180 steps per minute. I realize that there are some differing opinions on this (as there are with everything in the running world), but for me, I thought I would give it a try.
After spending hours trying to figure out how to get my playlist to the beat of 180 (through all songs), trying to find a Pandora station, or even searching itunes for something to download I was about ready to give up, when I decided to just search for a metronome app.
I found that turning up the volume and leaving the ear bud close to my face was sufficient, but at times, I would place at least one ear bud in my ear so that the cadence was nice and loud. You know what? It never changes.
Nope, the metronome keeps the beat at the steady pace ALL.THE.TIME. Doesn't change, just keeps repeating over and over and over again. If I found my steps getting off beat, it was because of something I was doing, not the metronome.
Living the Gospel is so very much like this. The teachings of Jesus Christ haven't changed. And in my church, we where believe His exact gospel and church have been restored, it is exactly the same. Never changing. There are sometimes updates to teaching manuals and certainly administrative changes with leadership and people but the gospel fundamentals never change. They maintain a steady, even cadence even with the world swirling around it.
Lately, there has been some media attention given to a few who would like the beat/cadence of the church changed. It just doesn't happen that way. Ours is not a church or gospel of men, but of God. It will change when God says it will change. He controls the speed and cadence of the metronome, not man.
Our challenge is to get our steps in beat with His. As I was running with my new found tool, I would find myself passing runners or being passed whose steps were different than mine. Often, it's a subconscious effort to match our strides to theirs, but every time I tried, I would find that I was now off with the metronome and would have to get myself back on beat.
We cannot expect to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ and still match the strides of the world around us. Being disciples of Him require a steady, even cadence, not the various beats of those around us. Even more, there are those who look to us and perhaps rely on our examples of steadiness. Those who are tyring to match their steps with ours as they work on sticking with the metronome of the Gospel.
As with my simple metronome, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is nothing fancy. No bells and whistles to it, no "jazzing it up". It's simple. The commandments of God are simple. Simple, even, steady and never changing. The basics are always there and always needed. Pray daily, read our scriptures, keep the commandment's, attend our church meetings, serve others, love and reach out to everyone always. Keeping my cadence with my metronome on a run is also easy. I just need to listen and match my steps. Leave out the extra music, or run apps, just listen to the beat and stay with it. Sure, it can get boring if I am wanting something more fun to listen to, but when it comes down to it, the metronome keeps me in line. I could do better with my own living the Gospel. Leave out the fluff, ignore some of the worldly noise (and sometimes seemingly fun) around me, and just listen closely, carefully and keeps my life in beat with the Gospel metronome.
Easy to do? Nope. While the metronome is simple, the challenge lies in keeping ourselves on cadence. I, just as much as anyone else, struggles with the day to day "staying in beat", but it can be done. My first time experiment running with the metronome app resulted in the fastest non-race day 5k I've posted in a long time. I could immediately see the results. I felt them as I was running. I could feel when I was off and could get myself back on beat. I knew I was running faster. I felt stronger and watching my success each mile just encouraged me to keep pushing and working hard.
As we work hard to live the Gospel, we can experience the same feelings of success. We can feel the happiness and the Spirit in our lives as we stay in line with the cadence. We can feel the occasions when we get "off" and work to get our steps back on beat and how good it feels when we can hear/feel our steps match up. We can see the blessings (success) in our lives as we continue to keep ourselves in the steady, never changing rhythm the Lord has set for us.
And then, those feeling of success and the Spirit letting us know we are in line with the metronome of the Lord, can and should encourage us to keep on keeping on. To continue working hard, matching our steps to His and keeping pace through our journey/marathon of life.