The Race

Do you ever feel like you’re just going in circles?

Wake up. Eat breakfast. Go to work. Fix supper. Repeat. Over and over again. Let’s face it, life is a race, or at least it seems that way nowadays. A lot of things come to mind when the word  race is mentioned, from a marathon to NASCAR. Just last August I sat in the stands at “The Last Great Coliseum,” Bristol Motor Speedway, and watched Dale Earnhardt, Jr. drive his last race at Bristol and yelling “It’s Bristol, Baby!” (Fun fact, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., came up with the phrase: “It’s Bristol, Baby!”)

As the cars zoomed by over and over, I realized some key ingredients are missing to life. Blink and a week has passed. A month. A year. Life is too short not to squeeze every drop out of every day. Yet, is that even possible? I’ll admit I don’t have all of the answers, but I have some ideas. Who knew a race could be so inspiring.

KNOW WHEN TO SLOW DOWN

I don’t believe our bodies or brains are wired to be full-steam-ahead all day long. According to Geek Wire the average American spends 11 hours a day on gadgets. Considering the statistic, it’s no wonder we feel so tired, have so much anxiety, panic attacks, sleeping problems, etc. Electronic stimulation has an effect on our bodies. Daily I catch myself tensing up, squinting my eyes, and clinching my jaws, and I don’t even want to think about the long term effects.

At first, I thought most of the eleven hours were probably spent on frivolous activities such as facebook or playing games, but after giving it a little more thought I realized a good chunk of the statistic is probably work hours. I would venture to say a lot of us work in front of a computer daily. In that case, when you can’t change the statistic, what do you do?

The Bible says, “Be still, and know that I am God…” How about incorporating an activity to help counterbalance. Being still in the presence of God, closing your eyes, and truly relaxing calms the nerves, helps relieve anxiety, and lowers stress, just to name a few things.

How often do you spend time in complete stillness with God? At first, I didn’t believe it possible, I felt certain sleep would overtake me. What I do is open the stop watch on my phone and push start, and then sit as still as possible. When I can’t do it any longer, I push stop. Each time it gets a little longer. To my surprise, I’ve enjoyed every second.

KNOW WHEN TO TURN

How often do you notice the butterfly floating from flower to flower, or really appreciate the snowflake as it falls from the sky? How often do you see the tear falling down someone’s face, or look in a microscope at a grain of sand?

I fail often. Changing is hard and takes making a conscious choice, knowing when to turn. Making that choice is hard, if you are like me, you probably have modes… a work mode, a fun mode, and a panic mode. The most prevalent mode for me is “auto-pilot mode.” “Auto-pilot mode” is simply tunnel vision. I get so focused on a task, I don’t really notice things or people. I’ve often wondered how many times have I walked pass someone who was hurting and didn’t even notice? Maybe I even passed you by. Even worse, maybe you told me you were hurting and I ignored your pain.

While we may never completely stop using  modes, we should ask ourselves,“what can I do to make it better?” The big answer to that question is to (learn to stop and smell the roses.) Going from oblivion to observant overnight is probably not going to happen. Instead of making that a goal, what if you made it a goal to spend 5 minutes being more observant, or to find one person a day to really ask meaningful questions, or to try and find two things you have never noticed on your way to work. Even the tiniest changes repeated daily could make a huge difference.

KNOW WHEN TO PUSH THE BREAK

Do you ever see how fast you can complete a project, even though you know you are letting the quality slide a little? I have. In fact, my whole life I have been pushing forward as hard as I can, and it’s exhausting. The closer I get to God, the more concerned I have became about my speedy ways.

When I am in “auto-pilot mode” I rush for no reason, but it’s not just in those moments, I find myself rushing through life in general. Rushing through life is just sacrificing quality for time, to be able to check an item off a to-do list a little faster. How lame.

Why is it we feel the need to rush? Even when watching TV (an activity that’s supposed to be relaxing) the advertisements tells us we need to rush? Facebook articles tell us how to do things faster and more efficiently. Contractors fight over who can do the job quicker and for the least amount of money. It’s no wonder the quality of things have suffered. We are bombarded with subconscious messages that say “Hurry, Hurry, Hurry!” Life tells us we’re in a race. I’ve began to wonder when I started letting all the pressures and subconscious messages of the world set my pace?

I play Luminosity almost every day (a brain game I play on… yes… my gadget.) and I really enjoy it. The other night, I noticed my jaw was tense. In fact, I was clamping my teeth together. Super focus mode would be an understatement, needless to say I was’t doing well. When the next game came up I groaned. “The math game” I cried. “Ugg.” The object of the game is to type answers to math problems as that fall from the top of the screen, when you get it correct it clears the raindrop. When too many unsolved raindrops hit the bottom it fills up, then game over.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, math is not my strong suit. Before the game started, I made a conscious choice. I decided to relax my body as much as possible and not to rush, just do my best. I’m sure you can guess what happened next. To my surprise, I made the best score I’ve ever made!

I rush way too often. I’m sure you do the same. What in life is so important that we need to be in a tizzy or in a hurry? Go slower. Learn how to control time and your life, instead of letting life drive you.

Life may be a race, but you’re still the driver.

 

For Your Journal: Put It In Ink…

Do you tend to rush? Why or Why not?

What messages are you telling yourself that make you feel like you need to be in a tizzy or rush? What emotions are tied to those messages? Fear?

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