I drove to Atlanta last week for a speaking engagement. I do not like driving on Interstates, but the back roads would have added at least an hour to my trip, and I just wanted to get there. I dislike Interstates because I become a different person behind the wheel. I start out with every intention of going the speed limit and staying in the far right lane. That way I can relax and have a peaceful drive.
And then I have to pass someone. That’s when my alter ego takes over. Suddenly, passing only one car is not enough. Driving becomes a competition, and I have to get ahead of everyone. I become Speed Racer. I push my speed to the limit as I weave in and out of the passing lanes to get in front. There is no relaxing when I drive this way.
As I fought through traffic in Atlanta, I realized how tense I felt. It reminded me of my life, a number of years ago, when I was always on the go, staying busy every moment and rushing from one event to another. I navigated through a crowded highway of people, all competing to get ahead. It only caused me great stress and lessened my time with my family and with God.
People are so busy these days and have little room in their schedules for relationships. When you eat most of your meals out of your car on the way to a child’s event or get home too late for dinner with your family, you may have too much going on in your life. The world will tell us, though, that we need to stay busy and lead “productive” lives in order to be successful.
Just what does “productive” mean? One definition says, “Doing or achieving a lot: working hard and getting good results.” Who in the world determined that "work and achieving a lot" are more important than time with family and friends? Is it our need for more “things” that drives us on the passing lane to get ahead regardless of how it affects our relationships? Let’s face it – friendships and family need to be nurtured at a slow pace – in the right lane. Who has time for that these days?
I made the choice a number of years ago to slow my life down. I stopped “doing and achieving a lot” and focused on my family, my marriage, and my relationship with God. Shouldn’t that be more important than anything else in our lives? Jesus never told us to “Buy as many things as possible, or go to as many sporting events, or meetings and church events as you can.” We are all here on Earth to reach out to others, especially our own families.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37,39 that the greatest commandments are to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Your family should, obviously, come before your neighbor.)
If we base our lives on these two commandments, along with God’s plan for our lives, we will not waste time on outside activities that really have no importance in the big scheme of things. We will live the life that God intended for us.
The best decision I ever made was to slow down and stay in the right lane of life. I could allow Jesus to direct me at that pace. When I was so busy “doing”, my speed was too fast, and I had no time to stop and hear God’s voice. Now if I could only stay in the right lane of Interstates. Traveling would be so much more pleasurable.
Do you feel like you are running a race to get ahead in the world? How does it affect your family time and your time with God?
I’m including “Satan’s Convention” which I have published numerous times before, but it is always worth a repeat. This was written BEFORE computers and cell phones!
Satan’s Convention – author unknown
Satan called a worldwide convention. In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, "We can't keep the Christians from going to church. We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can't even keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken".
"So let them go to their churches; let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can't gain that relationship with Jesus Christ. This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!"
"How shall we do this?" shouted his angels.
"Keep them busy in the non- essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds," he answered. "Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles".
"Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon, their home will offer no escape from the pressures of work! Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive. To keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ."
"Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes. Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines so the husbands will believe that external beauty is what's important, and they'll become dissatisfied with their wives. Ha! That will fragment those families quickly!"
"Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted and unprepared for the coming week. Don't let them go out in nature to reflect on God's wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts and movies instead. Keep them busy, busy, busy! And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions."
It was quite a convention. The evil angels went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get more busy and more rushed, going here and there.