Monday, October 28, 2013

Learning to Drive

          I don’t know that much about driving a standard, but I can get by.  A few months ago one of our pastors shared a story about building up momentum and he used the example of driving a standard.  Once you get to a certain speed, you don’t have to keep switching gears, and your vehicle doesn't have to work as hard at 60 miles an hour as it did at 10.   The momentum has been built, and highway driving is easy.
          But if you drive through a town with many stop lights, you have to learn to shift down so you don't burn out or run over townspeople. The stop and go is difficult and complicated on the car and driver.  This is where I struggle most in a standard…I have had a few of our vehicles die out on me at this point…not super fun. 
          Growing up I took dance classes and in high school was in competitive cheer-leading all four years.  In all that time, I never was a quick learner when it came to routines.  Other girls seemed to watch a performance a time or two, and then music would kick on at full speed and they would jump right in…not me.  If I tried to keep up full speed before I could do it all slowly, I looked like some sort of spastic monkey.  I had to carefully stop and go slowly, mastering each motion, then trying to put just two or three that I had mastered together, then trying the next before moving forward. 
          Once I understood each movement, then I could put them together, when I could put them together then I could move with the music, and once I had that down I made it my own and my performances went well.  But building momentum took a lot longer for me, a lot of extra hours at home at night that no one saw, but it was worth it!
          In strength training, especially with weights or resistance bands, it’s a lot easier to move faster – to let the momentum carry you quickly through the sets…but it is not really building strength.  What really builds strength is taking the time to slowly move each weight or band, allowing the muscles to tear down at each spot so they can rebuild – giving you a long, sound muscle structure, a secure and trustworthy foundation for use.
          I’ve been thinking of these things as it relates to my life.  My tasks at hand these days are greater than I’ve ever known, and getting it all done seems monumental.  But God has been showing me how to balance principle, focus, strength, and momentum – how to leverage them to my advantage.
          Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts will be established.”  I’ve been meditating on it for a week or so.  When I seek Him for what work I most need to do, what to do first, what to prioritize, and commit to working things His way – things run more smoothly.
          But the thing is, I have two young children, a husband working a LOT, and in general life just happens.  Weekend trips, sicknesses, storms, financial issues, and general laziness all come and attack my ability to work and keep up my routine.  But the thing is, when a week of sickness knocks us behind, and each day after that we recommit our works to the Lord and get back on the horse, we keep building momentum.
          Each time we are knocked down and we get back up, we build strength.  We build real strength; the kind that builds commitment and makes it easier to get up and move forward faster than the time before.  The strength allows us to build momentum faster, like the shifting gears of a standard truck.  And this strength and momentum that we have built helps us to establish our thoughts so that we are not tossed to and fro by the crashing waves of emotions (ie: whether or not I feel like doing laundry today – hello – never), by the unavoidable interruptions (like every family member cycling through some wave of stomach bug leaving our home a disaster), or more challenging seasons. 
          And other times we are not knocked down, but we must learn to down shift any way for the sake of those we love and our own sanity.  Nomatter how great my momentum is tackling my tasks, my children need me to be mentally emotionally available to them, often at a moments notice.  My husband needs my head and heart available in our stolen moments together at the end of each day.  This is sometimes hard, because I fear losing the momentum for the tasks, but again the Lord reminds me...trust Him, shift down and let it go.  Tomorrow, I will take it back up again, and each time will build a greater strength to shift gears more quickly and smoothly because the strength I have is there.  
          The many hats and tasks we must wear are often a delicate balancing act, but God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways.  But if we will resurrender ourselves to Him, and continue to seek Him; He will produce good fruit in our lives if we let Him.

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