Have you noticed how much of the stress in your life is related to speed? Allow me to illustrate.
The driver in front of you is going too slowly for you. Your boss wants you to move more quickly. A supplier is taking too long to deliver. Your client wants results more quickly. Your coworker works too slowly, your other coworker talks too quickly. Your life pace is exhausting you. Your retirement is going slowly. Your illness is advancing too quickly; your body is slowing down with age.
Then there is the supermarket check-out line – need I say more? It’s strange that the phrase “rush-hour” is the one used to describe the time when everything slows down. Your children have grown too quickly, and your life is speeding up and slowing down at the same time.
The reality of life is that, at any given time, the events or people simply won’t go at the speed you want. The world seems to be indifferent to your timeframes, ignorant of your agendas and uncooperative with your schedules.
Physicians install pacemakers in our chests to regulate the speed of our hearts, but one has not been invented to regulate the speed of our world.
I will suggest that a large percentage of your speed stress is changeable, and some is illusion. A significant proportion may be self-inflicted.
As is so often the case with stress, it arrives when you reach a tipping point. Speed in and of itself may not be stressful but your reactions when the speed does not suit you are what generate the stress.
For most of the first followers of Jesus of Nazareth they had the desire to see the overthrow of the Roman rulers and a restoration of self-rule their country. Their questions for Jesus were often, “when”. When will you do it? They had a speed in their minds (as soon as possible) and Jesus was saying, wait.
Underneath this speed agenda can be a belief that the world should go at your speed. When it does not, you can get annoyed, irritated, frustrated and downright angry. This is the stress tipping point.
Consider how many times the believer is told to wait in the sacred books. Wait for God and wait on God. Waiting for God implies submitting to his timetable. Waiting on God can include asking him to speed up or slow things down. The mindset, however, recognizes that there are bigger agendas than yours and other time scales.
Sometimes God says, “wait”, sometimes he says, “go” and sometimes he says, “stop” or “go now”. But when Jesus invites you to take his yoke upon you, he is also saying walk at my pace, step-by-step, in-step with me.
There is nothing wrong with ambition, drive, or desire to move. The stress comes in when you get angry at a different pace than the one you want. We will look at anger many times over this series. In the meantime, breathe!
Work well today,
© Geoff Shattock February 2019
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
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