Sunday was a gorgeous day. In the afternoon my wife and I decided to run to the store for a few things. On our way back, we jumped on a four lane road back towards our house. We decided to go with the traffic. It was a beautiful day. We didn’t have to be home at a particular time. Why not enjoy the ride. Clearly, the car behind us thought this was a mistake. The person sped up and passed us, clearly annoyed that we are not going twenty miles over the speed limit. As soon as the person passed us, they raced ahead only to get slowed by the car in front of us. The person got inches from the bumper of that car then veered into the outside lane and whizzed on to the next obstacle, all the while nearly clipping the car it passed.
The person could have been facing an emergency which necessitated the reckless speed. I doubt it. It is probably more of a person wanting to get to a place in the quickest possible way. I laugh at times when a person races to the stop light only to be caught by everyone they just passed. I want to roll down my window and say, “Did it really save you time.” Why not enjoy the ride? Go with the traffic. Take your time.
Most days in my life resemble this impatient driver. I race through the day getting as much done as possible. I quickly check off task after task. I check emails while I am organizing an agenda for a leader’s meeting. As I rush to the hospital I put in my ear buds so I can make a call along the way. I eat lunch while going over decisions with my secretary. Standing at the checkout line in the store, I check my emails to see if there is anything I can quickly respond to. Efficiency is the key. Delays along the way are annoyances to my sense of accomplishment. My mindset is to get as much done as possible so that I can get to the end of the day and rest. I am motivated by the belief that the end of the day is the goal. Then I can sit back and do nothing.
What if I switched the mindset?
What if I learned to enjoy the ride, go with the traffic, and take my time? What if I let the day come to me rather than striving to conquer the day? What if I stopped the manic pursuit to accomplish as much as possible? What if I attempted to enjoy each task rather than surviving them? What if I built in some margin so that I listen to the radio for a few moments on my way to the hospital (or better yet what if I just enjoyed the ride)? What if I sat back and took a breather over my lunch rather than doubling down on work?
Chances are I would get to the end of my day with a lot more joy. I would most likely be more rested since I didn’t have the emotional stress of a manic schedule. And my hunch is that I will have accomplished just as much as I would have otherwise yet without the irritations of a slower moving car in front of me.
God gives each day to me – all of it not simply the end of it. It is to be cherished not survived. Since this day is a gift, it really becomes a matter of stewardship. How will I take care of the day entrusted to me? What will my pace say about this gift? Are tasks viewed as obstacles or opportunities to live out God’s calling in my life? Can there not be rest in the task rather than in the absence of it?
Jesus had this approach to life. He enjoyed the interruptions. He stopped along the way. The day came to him rather than a need to conquer the day. He did not incessantly look at his watch but rather enjoyed every stop along the way. Joy was in the journey not the completion of it. He models for us stewardship. If only we too can slow down enough to enjoy the ride.