Do you ever get the feeling life is running out of control and you’re racing like a car in the Indy 500? And falling further behind the rest of the cars no matter how fast you go? And your pit crew looks like the Three Stooges on steroids?
A few months ago, my wife and I were going through such a time. We were involved in a ministry we loved at our church and there always seemed to be more we could do to take our service to the new areas and levels.
We became grandparents for the third time. Our new grandson is an eight-hour drive away. Close but it’s not a day trip.
We were blessed and continue to be blessed with new friendships, close relationships we treasure.
The busier we get, the more things we can get involved in. All good things.
Then add work, keeping up with the rest of our scattered family and the routines maintaining house and cars and stuff.
My own workload added to the frenetic pace. I had set a due date and word limit for my work in progress and I was approaching the limit on both. An editing project proved more challenging than I anticipated. Other projects and marketing efforts had me pushing my limit.
The issue became how to bring this revved up experience under control, how to slow it down before I ran off the road.
It required a decision to stop and assess and prioritize what I was doing. It was impossible to do everything. Wife and family had to reclaim its place as first priority. Then came church. Then my own writing. Anything else had to fit into the time left.
Change didn’t happen over night. I didn’t get into this hyperactive lifestyle overnight. It crept up on me. Getting it under control was going to take time as well. There’s no magic switch that slows everything down to a speed we like. It takes discipline and effort to ensure we don’t spin ourselves off the track of life. And it takes prayer and meditation to see all our activities for what they really are and to make decisions.
Then we reach the point where the pressure lifts. The projects get done, the hectic schedule slows. And our bodies and minds want to keep running. We forget to relax and to enjoy those moments of satisfaction in completing a task or project. It’s like our bodies and minds have to keep going or we’ll…what? Droop like a toy as its battery dies? Disappear in a puff of smoke? We can’t pretend we’re the Energizer bunny and keep going and going and going.
The body, the mind, the spirit all need to relax and enjoy the fruits of our work and recharge. In novel, we can’t have our hero go from thrill to thrill, never stopping. We’ll exhaust the reader. We need to include those moments where our hero stops and reflects on what just happened, refreshes himself, and gears up to keep moving forward.
Life is like that too. We need to relax and refresh. Sometimes we need to force ourselves to stop.
We’re still in this process of evaluating what’s important to God and how to best follow his plan. So, you’ll be seeing more posts on this.
What are some things you do when you find life is racing and you’re barely hanging on for the ride?
Relax and refresh–that’s just it. For me, it’s often about paring back when things speed up too much. I want to be at the place where they don’t speed up!
Thanks, Chris. For some of us, it’s recognizing when things are speeding up too much before it’s too late.
Thanks, Henry! Just stopping to read your blog was a nice moment and a good reminder to self-check often. KLove has been playing a brief interview from, I believe, 10th Avenue North. I love the end quote … “God doesn’t need our success. He needs our surrender.” Those words inspire me to slow the wild ride and the permission to not do it all. It’s a tough goal, but so worth the reflection and effort.
Thank you, Jayme. God’s had me in a period of slowing down. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.