How often do we convince ourselves that we need to sprint toward the finish line? We act as though everything is a race and rarely slow down to absorb the season we’re in, believing that it all needs to happen quickly so we can move on to the next task or goal, but does this mindset really achieve anything?
This month, I was burning myself out, trying to get everything done all at once before my two-week trip to Italy. Convinced setting unreachable goals was the most effective path to achieve this, it wasn’t until a near breakdown after little rest and too much stress that I finally hit the pause button, unable to handle another frantic day with little results. Releasing the false pressure and expectations I had set for myself, I sat in my reading chair and refused to move until I’d figured out a better way. Giving my thoughts and struggles to the Lord, I spent time with Him until He showed me a picture of a tortoise and a hare.
We all know the famous children’s story of ‘The Tortoise and the Hare.’ In it, the hare is proud as he brags about his speed and dares anyone to beat him in a race. The tortoise accepts the hare’s challenge and meets him the following day to race. As expected, the hare rushes ahead but decides to nap and give the tortoise a chance. Meanwhile, the tortoise takes his time, going at the speed he can manage without fretting that his chances are next to none. The hare falls into a deep sleep (no doubt exhausted from all the energy he let out) while the tortoise pushes on, slow and steady, until he crosses the finish line and WINS!
When the Lord reminded me of this story, it was like a light bulb was switched on! I had been the hare, acting like I could do it all in my strength as I sped past God. Meanwhile, He kept His pace, hoping I’d slow down and turn back to enjoy the journey with Him.
Are you acting like the tortoise or the hare right now? Sure, winning is fun, but what do we learn when we rush through the race without taking the time to absorb the lessons God wants to teach us along the way? What do we achieve when we jump ahead of God? If you’re like me and have adopted the hare’s mindset, I hope you take this as your sign to slow down. The Lord has placed you on this track for a reason, and the finish line isn’t going anywhere, so why not take your time and watch the Lord answer your prayers along the way?
I had so many doubts leading up to this trip. With all the delays, I was sure it would be impossible to complete everything. However, slowing down actually GAINED me more time! I have gotten everything done (with time to spare!), received all the money I needed to make this trip possible, and feel energized rather than worn out as I countdown the remaining days until I hop on a plane and fly away!
As tempting as it is to fill our days with as much as possible, I encourage you to pace yourselves and allow space to pause. Life is a marathon; it’s not a sprint. Everything God has in store for your life will still be there when you arrive, so stop fretting about what’s ahead and start enjoying what’s around you right now!
I can’t wait to return from Italy and share everything with you! The Lord is doing so much, and I’m so excited to travel to each destination and take it all in!
Isaiah 40:28-31, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”