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How would Jesus drive?

Just move. Be still. Just move. Be still. I feel like I’m stuck in city traffic. Life is not very fuel efficient these days.

I began this thought yesterday when I saw a late model 4-door idling at the light after our lane of traffic was well on its way. His license plate read “Gewgle.” Funny. I didn’t have to look to know the driver was texting or checking email while waiting for the light. His stillness when the rest of us were moving confirmed it.

But then, as we all proceed …a smidge above the speed limit, here comes Gewgle in the right hand lane, zipping along, passing the line of cars to dive in ahead just before the 2 lanes merge. From stopped to 60 in 30 seconds. So he can be first in line.

I was in no hurry, so instead of feeling irritated, I pondered instead. (another lesson right there!) How ironic that we live life this way. Stopped and then speeding to the stop again. We ping between extremes. Life’s version of interval training. On the one hand, we’re to “Just move” because we’re too sedentary for our own good. On the other, we’re to “Just be still” so we can rest and restore. Our answer: the gewgle life.

It’s not very fuel efficient. And that’s destroying the Ozone layer.

God is not about destruction. Not for us and not for the rest of his creation. I don’t think 0-60-0-60 is his game plan. I do think He attends the gas pump. My grandmother called it the filling station. And perhaps that is the better name. He’s the one who comes to our window and asks if we’d like high test or regular. And we say, “fill it up with regular.” And He does. Along with washing our windows and bringing us the sales receipt. He fills us with fuel and serves us with a friendly smile. In our neighborhood He even knew us by name.

Mr. Gewgle is too young to remember this, I’m quite sure. Have we really left those days behind? Can we remember that what fills us is meant to be used conscientiously and not haphazardly? It’s meant to take us a good long way before we need a refill.

Oh, for sure, God meant for us to hit the road once He’d filled up our tank. God gives us strength, and we’re meant to go out and use it. Sometimes we need to hit the gas. Sometimes we need to brake. Most the time we’re meant to travel the speed limit, along with the other cars to the destination He has in mind. We’ve got plenty of fuel for that trip. But if we floor it we’ll likely be walking to the next filling station.

Which isn’t a bad thing. Just a reminder that He’s filled our tank, too. Of course, it’s so embarrassing to walk past all those other motorists who are stifling a laugh or, around here, perhaps shaking a fist. Kind of a tortoise and the hare moment.

Yesterday, Mr. Gewgle sprinted into first position only to be stopped at the red light at the top of the hill. Behind him sat 3 motorists blinking to turn right. Mr. Gewgle’s intention was straight ahead. His failure to yield prevented the others from proceeding on their way.

I wonder if our mad dashes do this to the prescribed order of God. Both impede traffic and waste gas.

I expect that some of us need to slow down and some of us need to speed up to reach our God-speed. The pace that maximizes our fuel efficiency and gets us to our destination safely. This sounds very much more like how Jesus would drive.

Finding Peace in my Interval Training Life

Go as hard as you can, then rest. Then do it again and again and again. That is how interval training works. It is the most effective and efficient way to train at high intensity. I design these programs for the elite athletes I train and the wannabe’s too. They love them.

Unfortunately, I think they are rubbing off on me. I am caught in the interval cycle. Sprint to the deadline, then breathe. Again and again and again. While I get lots of things done and most things done well, I’m not sure this is the healthiest approach. I am always either anxious about finishing or desperate to catch my breath.

I uncovered this yesterday when I needed to submit an article before a 10am deadline. Somehow I let myself coast until the deadline is right around then corner, then I throw it into high gear and lurch across the finish line  – usually recording a personal best time. Then I flop into my chair and congratulate myself on surviving another deadline. It feels great. I feel great. It would be okay if this was a one time deal, but this has become my usual routine. A sort of crisis management approach, except I’m the one creating the crises.

So, let’s see. What are my alternatives?

I could sprint, continuously. Some days do feel this way. When I am caught up in the whirlwind of circumstances and surrounded by a swirl of demands. Man, think what I could accomplish if I adopted this approach full time. The problem with this is the maintenance work doesn’t get done, the stuff that needs doing but is not urgent. And quite frankly the quality of what does get done is always suspect. Plus, how long could you really sustain this without crashing and burning. Nope, not happening. That’ll kill you. It would kill me anyway. I am no Usain Bolt.

I could jog, continuously. Mmmm. Attractive. Good calorie burner. Constant moderation. A little of this a little of that. No rush, just churning those feet. I guess if the demands would roll in a gradual manner in just the order they need doing, that might work. But that isn’t how it usually happens. Or, that’s not how I usually happen. When I feel compelled, I act on several things at once, then wait and see what pans out. This, of course, invites lots of responses all at the same time or lots plunked on my to-do list all at once. Then I throw up my exasperated hands and, in my confusion, delay getting started until a deadline. Time to sprint.

It has a rhythm, I suppose, this interval style. I guess I am not opposed to it on principle. But for the athlete it’s intentional training. They are told when to start and when to rest. Panic doesn’t compel them; the trainer does. They just wait for the word and go. And go until the word says rest.

I am wondering if it isn’t my job just to put things in the queue and on the calendar. And then wait for the “Go!” and the “Rest!” This is not a competition after all, just a life. God may not care so much  about how fast I go. He may care more about how quickly I transition. How obedient I am to the command. How intently I am listening. How carefully I am watching.

Maybe those triathletes are on to something. They tell me transition is where most races are won. They practice making smooth transitions.

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