My English teacher Junior year of high school told us the last day of school to “pump the brakes,” warning us that this time would absolutely fly by, and we would miss everything if we didn’t just slow down, look out the windows and not focus on graduation.
I’m not sure I ever thought it would apply to more than that, but it definitely does.
My car starts rattling when it hits about 73 miles per hour, which happens to be right about the speed limit on a few highways near my house. It’s rather annoying, especially if I am already running late for something. If I hold the steering wheel firm enough, white knuckled and arms fairly tense, I can manage. Pumping the brakes applies here. Sometimes it just means tapping them, and other times it means pushing down on them because you hit 75 and it feels like the wheel is about to fly off the dashboard, at which point I have little control left of my car.
This is life. Pumping the brakes. Learning to slow down. Learning to stay young, to stay focused on each day, in a world that makes you live in fast forward.
Sometimes it is a thrill, especially when things are going great, when the road is straight, the music is loud, and the windows are down, and you have a hold of the controls. It is easy to forget that eventually, the road must turn, and that in order to maneuver that turn, we must slow down.
That is where Christ comes in.
He is our speed limit. The shake in the wheel, the whisper in your wind. Sometimes He might be an itch to try something new that you wouldn’t usually, or maybe He’s the tug on your heart that you should go this way, not that way. Sometimes the call is stronger than others, because sometimes He needs you to slam on the breaks, because you’re about to miss your turn. And when you don’t press them quick enough, He’ll reroute you.
It’s at those times when I left a little late, or I’m annoyed and ready to get somewhere that I tend to hit the 73-75 speed marker, and it’s in those times that I grip the wheel harder, to keep it from shaking, when I feel like I have control, and I don’t listen to the signs to slow down.
I don’t know about you, but I slow down or stop on the side of the road to look at sunsets.
Sunsets are God’s tangible handiwork on the world, and we slow down to admire it, so why not for other signs of His grace and love? Why do we feel the need to speed, gripping the wheel so tight, holding onto the structure that the world puts on our life?
It’s okay to slow down and embrace life in a pattern that you choose. It’s okay to slow down and watch the sunsets. It’s good to pump the brakes when life is moving too fast. It’s good to follow the speed limit. Christ will help you to understand where to turn, and where to slow down.
I’ve come to appreciate the rolling hills and painted skies on my long drives to and from college, I just need to work on letting myself recognize the beauty the slower seasons of life and not be so go-go-go.