Last week, I got a speeding ticket. Now, for most people, this has probably happened to them at some point in their life, but honestly, in my 26+ years of driving I have never had a speeding ticket. Sure I had been stopped before, I tend to drive a little on the faster side as I am just a face-paced person, but this was the first time I ever actually received a ticket. I still remember as I sat there in the car waiting for the officer to return, just praying that I wouldn’t get a ticket. I tried to hold back the tears, but by the time he came back (15 minutes later) the tears were streaming down my face. I also knew that I would now be getting to work late, which for me, is very upsetting as well.
By the time I walked into work, I could barely hold myself together. Now you are probably thinking this seems a little excessive, but the truth is, this was just that one thing that pushed me over the edge. For weeks leading up to that moment things had been pushing on me, and whether they were bad things, like watching my kids deal with some hurtful things, or good things, like adjusingt to working again, at the moment I got that ticket, it was like the levy broke. All those emotions suddenly came pouring out and honestly, it took me days to get past it.
While I was talking to my mom, her boyfriend made a comment. He said, maybe this was God’s way of telling me to slow down. I kind of laughed at the time, but as I began to think more about this…I realized, that statement was truer that I thought.
You see, ever since the day my husband left, I have spent my mornings praying, worshiping and doing devotions. Sometimes that was an hour, sometimes more. If I was having a bad day and needed to lay on the floor crying and listening to worship music, that is what I did. As time went by, and the bad days were fewer and farther between, that time turned into time for me to just relax and rest in the Lord. If I did have a bad day, I knew to take it immediately to God and deal with it. In doing this, things never really piled up.
Enter working! Now I absolutely love working, but as I mentioned above, even good changes can throw things off. It is funny how even after being a stay-at-home mom for 11 years, you so easily slip back into “work mode”.
I leave for work in the mornings shortly after my kids get on the bus, so I don’t have those long hours alone any more. I thought I was handling it all fine, until after I got that ticket. I realized that as much as I was trying to set aside time for myself, as much as I still did my devotions and prayed, I wasn’t really bringing things to God the way I had. I wasn’t taking the time I needed to rest in him and allow him to strengthen me like I did before.
It was then that the statement my mom’s boyfriend made really took meaning. God was trying to tell me to slow down, not just to slow down in running from one thing to the next, but to slow down and rest in him. Jonny Diaz has a song called Breathe. I love this song because the song itself travels the pattern of learning to stop in the middle of our rushing and rest in God.
So I decided to make a few changes.
First, I decided to leave for work earlier in the morning. This way, I wouldn’t have to rush or worry about being late. I could afford to take my time and enjoy the ride to work rather than feel like I was rushing. The first few days this was strange, but as the week progressed, I really started enjoying driving slower and how it made everything seem less urgent.
Second, I decided that as soon as I woke up in the morning, I would read a quick devotion and some scripture. I have always prayed before getting out of bed, but adding reading some scripture and a devotion allowed time for God to speak to me as well. This has helped my mind-set before I even get out of bed and starts my day off on the right foot.
Last, I reminded myself that although I am working and no longer have those “free hours” I still need to seek God when something comes up. I need to make sure I take the time for it when I get home and not allow my emotions to pile up. If that means that something in the house doesn’t get done, or that I have to shut myself in my room for a little alone with God time then that is exactly what I need to do. And I should not feel guilty about it. The truth is, I can take the time in the moment and give it to God, or I can keep pushing it down and then it is going to be a lot worse!
So my question to you today is….Do you need to slow down? Don’t wait until something happens and you are knocked off your feet. Take a moment or three and seek God. Ask him to show you areas where maybe you need to slow down and then with his help, take the steps you need to take to slow down and rest in Him!