At some point, we have to stop the madness. We have to change the pace.
That truth hit home to me the day after Thanksgiving as we drove home from our family visits. At first the westward drive home was a challenge with the sun in my eyes. But as sun met horizon, God allowed me to watch a beautiful sunset and enjoy the most peaceful dusk sky.
Slumbering passengers and sparse traffic provided me the opportunity to ponder the significance of the scene God placed before me. I found myself longing for the quiet peace of a country evening. I imagined myself living in a place where I could watch such a scene every night from a back porch.
The Pace of Everyday Life
We live at an unhealthy pace. As I enjoyed the peaceful drive, I couldn’t help but think of the contrast to everyday life. Stress and anxiety plague too many of us. Many people I know feel an uneasy sense of inadequacy.
Pass that car. Beat that traffic light. Get the last word. Don’t get even, get ahead. Make the deadline. Do better. Buy this. Win. Achieve. Hurry. Faster. More. Yes, at some point we have to stop the madness.
Maybe you feel the squeeze too. Life can make us feel like we’re walking up the stairs and everyone else is riding the escalator. We long for the peace and serenity of a country sunset, but we live in the blistering pace of high noon.
Letting Go of the Pace
As I soaked in the scene before me, God reminded me of a familiar Bible verse.
Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:10
“Be still.” Literally the verb means “relax the hands, let go, stop doing what you are doing.” Stop the rat race. Quit trying to be first, better, richer, faster. Chill out. Change the pace.
The prospect of living somewhere I could see that serene dusk scene every evening is still attractive. But God reminded me that a change of pace where I live now lies within my power to choose it. I need to learn to relax my grip and let go of some things. I need to make better priority choices. If I want to change my pace of life, I have to do intentionally.
Embracing the Pace
The verse not only encourages us to let go of some things, it also challenges us to embrace something else. “Know that I am God.” We cannot live at a frantic pace and recognize the presence of God. God never shouts, so we must slow down and pay attention if we are to recognize His voice.
My frantic pace of life implies that I believe myself the key to my success. When we let go and slow down, we give ourselves both time and space to recognize who God is. We give ourselves the the opportunity to hear what He is saying to us.
An Intentional Pace
This kind of change of pace will not occur naturally or automatically, but intentionally. The key to a change of pace lies in what I call margins. We must intentionally set aside times to let go of our agenda and focus on God’s agenda for our lives.
During these margin times, I like to read my Bible and meditate on its meaning and application for my life. I find the best times to do this are both morning and evening.
The paper I used in school had both a left and right margin between which I was allowed to write. Those margins provided the prospective in which I would place my written words.
Consider each day of your life a page on which God will write an account of His work in you. In the morning margin, I anticipate what God will say to me and do through me that day. In the evening margin, I reflect on what He did that day and what may lie ahead the next day.
By reading and meditating on God’s Word, I let go of my agenda and seek His. I exchange my pace of life for His pace for me. My margins provide perspective through which I allow God to write His script for my day.
Setting YOUR Pace
- Where in your day will you place margins to slow down and listen to God?
- How will you spend those margins reflecting on His agenda for your life?
- What things do you need to let go of in order to grasp what God has for you?
You have the power to choose to stop the madness in your life. You hold the key to intentionally exchanging your frantic pace, recognizing God, and exalting Him.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.” – Jesus in Matthew 11:28