"Leaving the house!" This is an expression my husband and I say to each other on many occasions, especially when we are trying to... well, leave the house. We first heard this phrase during a bit by comedian Michael McIntyre, who found a way to make light of how ridiculously hard it is to do something as simple as "leaving the house" when you have small children.
Perhaps not all parents experience difficulty when it comes to leaving the house, but we sure do. If one were to document our attempts at leaving to go somewhere and categorize them based on how many were calm and smooth and how many were frenzied and chaotic, there is zero doubt in my mind which category would win.
There was one Sunday though, when something rather miraculous took place. We made it to church on time. I know this doesn't sound like a very big deal, but if you knew the number of times we arrived before church started (other than the times we had to be there extra early for worship team), you would be amazed as well.
So how did it happen? How was it that despite all the odds being against us, we actually showed up to church on time? With all five of our kids? And even more wild, we weren't rushing around like crazy people to make it happen?
Well, here's the really funny thing: as I recall, at some point during that morning, we basically gave in to the assumption that we were going to be late. So we kind of stopped rushing. Just went through the motions figuring oh well, I'm sure we're going to be late so why bother stressing ourselves out to somehow beat the clock?
But then, lo and behold, when we pulled out of the driveway and looked at the clock, we discovered we were actually leaving earlier than usual! How could it be?
Is it possible that staying calm and going a little more slowly actually ends up working better? Maybe there's more to that old folktale about the "slow and steady" tortoise than I thought.
Sometimes I wonder if all of the mornings with me rushing around trying to make sure all the kids are ready only result in more stress, rather than actually helping us "leave the house" any earlier. (Or even if we do leave a little earlier, is it worth it considering the amount of stress I am putting on myself and potentially my kids as well?)
In a very sweet homemade birthday card from my daughter, she wrote me this message:
[Translation: "I know you are tired of us not getting on time and I wanted to help."]
I wonder what kind of help I would actually need in order to relieve this tiredness, this stress that so often comes from "leaving the house." I wonder if counter-intuitively the answer has more to do with slowing down than with going faster.
Side note: It may be worth pointing out that this going slower is not some kind of magic spell that will make you suddenly arrive on time for things like, let's say, school for example. I know this is true because the very morning of the day I am posting this blog, we were running behind and out of desperation I remember saying to the kids, "let's try something - let's pretend we're not late, stop rushing and just try to get ourselves ready to go"... thinking maybe just maybe the same thing could work again. Alas, apparently maybe God had a different lesson in mind to teach me this time around. But now back to the going slower lesson...
Are there other parts of my life, besides the ongoing challenge of leaving the house, when my natural tendency is to rush? How often do I push myself to go faster and work harder and get to the next thing? And why do I keep doing it?
Certainly there are times in life when things just need to be done quickly. But I have to wonder if they aren't as often as we tend to think. Maybe the next time I feel that pressure to rush, what I really need is to surrender it to God and slow down. Give up whatever thing I'm striving after and wait and see what happens. Who knows if in the end, giving up the pressure I put on myself has a greater impact and ultimately brings about a better result.
If nothing else, maybe it's in our slowing down that we end up being in a better position to be able to pray. Perhaps we can thank God for those times when we fall into stressful rushing, if they lead us to a breaking point, a moment when His Spirit can draw us back to Him.
Pray with me...
... that God will help us recognize moments when we may need to slow down in some way
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
... that we will extend grace and peace to each other abundantly
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2
... for God's Spirit to lead the way forward for Berks Christian and West-Mont Christian, and in the continuing work of establishing plans for Alliance Christian School District
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
Soli Deo Gloria
To God alone be the glory
~ Carrie Warner, BCS/WCA Prayer Team Coordinator
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