A few years ago, my family and I moved to Michigan. One of the first things I noticed in Michigan was how fast everyone drives. Almost instantly, from the moment you cross the state line, you can feel the desire to GO and GO FASTER increasing with each car that blows by and leaves you looking at their license’s plate. Now, after being back in Tennessee for a few months, I’ve realized that while people don’t drive as fast as they do in Michigan, people still seem to always be in a hurry. One day, I want to make a bumper sticker that says something like…
I’m not the reason you’re late, so back up, slow down, and leave earlier next time!
That’s my rant for the day. Anyway, all of this to say, I think the way we drive says a great deal about the pace at which we are living. As I’ve studied and continue to better learn the ways of Jesus, I see that He was never rushed, yet He seemed to always have a purpose and focus. At the same time, while He was almost always going somewhere, He somehow made time for the people He met along His journey. As I first began to realize Jesus’ pace, I remember being challenged about my own pace because I seemed to be living life at a pace that was way different than His.
After all, who has time to live like Jesus did? There’s places to be, things to do, events we can’t be late for, etc. The schedule doesn’t slow down, so we’ve learned to live at a rapid pace running around/driving around frantically trying to make sure we are on time to the next “thing” on our schedule. This is not the pace Jesus wants us to live, and chances are many of us have overloaded our schedules.
For most of us, our slight bit of road rage or sense of always being in a hurry doesn’t emerge because we’re aggressive drivers… It’s more likely that we’re way too busy, and we are stretching ourselves too thin. Or perhaps we continually oversleep (because we are way too exhausted) which results in us having to drive really fast in order to be on time to the next place on our schedule.
How do you combat this sense of always being in a hurry?
While I could just urge you to pray more and/or read your Bible more (those are both good things to do), you may just tell me that you don’t have time.
Here’s an easy and very intentional first step that would only take 10-15 minutes and be very beneficial for you and your pace. Change in the area of pace is going to take steady and intentional effort as you evaluate your schedule and make needed adjustments. In my family, we’ve had to learn how to say YES and NO, which was the focus of a recent blog post you can read HERE. I’d strongly encourage you to read that blog post before you do the following exercise.
- Print out this blank monthly calendar and fill it with your scheduled routines: Work, kids’ activities, church gatherings, meetings, routine errands, hobbies, etc.
- Highlight certain activities as GREEN meaning these things must happen. In other words, these are the things you must do such as going to work. (Kid’s extracurricular activities, as important as you may think they are, can’t be marked as GREEN because your livelihood doesn’t depend on them). Pay real close attention to what you mark as GREEN.
- Next, mark those important things that aren’t essential to your well-being but still important as BLUE. These are things that have become a part of you and your family, and to stop them would mean radical change. (You could put kid’s extracurricular activities here)
- Then, highlight other activities as YELLOW which you may need to consider stopping or adjusting a commitment level. These may seem worthwhile, but keep in mind, too much of a seemingly worthwhile thing can actually become a negative thing if it’s stretching you too thin.
- After everything has been marked GREEN, BLUE or YELLOW, identify at least one activity as RED meaning this thing will no longer be a part of my schedule and you don’t need to consider this decision very long. This decision may take a few days, some conversations with others, etc. Then again, it may be very clear to you.
- Finally, replace the RED activity or activities with something that will re-energize you and slow down your pace of life. (Maybe this is where you could insert more prayer or quality time with family)
Perhaps these intentional steps will then create the bandwidth to hear Jesus’ voice and discover His pace of life, which is ultimately the only way your pace will begin to change. Jesus is better! His pace for your life is better!