I used to receive speeding tickets fairly regularly. I used to view the ‘Estimated Time of Arrival’ display on my GPS as a challenge to overcome. I used to relish at my ability do a 7 hour road-trip in a little less than 5hours. Each time that ETA time decreased I felt a jolt of victory. I say 'used to' because the attempting to live within the Discipline of Simplicity has caused me to slow down.
You may have never thought that the speed at which you drive may be a spiritual issue. I certainly never did. Yet desiring to live a life of single-hearted focus upon God lead me to wonder if my speeding was merely a product of having a ‘lead foot’, or whether there could be an underlying spiritual issue at play. Does our speeding speak to the manner in which we spiritually approach life around us? Could the act racing through the streets of our cities actually be a symptom of the manner in which we try to race through the activities and duties of my day? Could the desire to get to our destination as quickly as possible actually create an inability to acknowledge the presence of God in the beauty of the moment?
See, we live in a face paced world and it is easy to get caught up with the quickness of it. It is easy to see every time-frame as a challenge to be met. While we race to one event or task, our minds are already dwelling on that which we need to do afterwards. We never focus, we never rest, we never sit still. The rush rush of life forever rips our attention onto the next thing.
This is not the way that God wishes us to live in his presence. The call of God on our lives is not one in which we are called to rush toward a perceived goal. We are called acknowledge that God is alive and present in this moment. God does not call us to rush to him, as some destination held out for us in the future, but to realize and enter into his presence and activity as it is presently. In his book, "A Testament of Devotion", Thomas Kelly writes "I find He never guides us into an intolerable scramble of panting feverishness. The Cosmic Presence becomes, in part, our patience, for after all, God is at work in the world." God is active in us and through us, and his blessings are bountiful. We risk missing all of this when we speed through our lives.
The act of slowing down allows us to remove ourselves from the expectations and deadlines to which we constantly racing towards. That internal clock - the one continually telling us to be quicker, more productive, more efficient or generally 'better' - is silenced as we engage in the intricacy of the present moment. Slowing down allowed us to recognize the great spiritual truth, that God rarely calls us to ‘go faster’. Instead He calls us to ‘be still’; to ‘consider the lilies of the field’, and to ‘wait for the Lord.’
So the next time you are in your car, try slowing down and Drive the Speed limit. Try not to justify rushing ahead through the rhetoric of 'keeping up with the flow' or '70 really means 80'. No. Keep to the limit, and try not to concern yourself with how people around you may be responding. In this exercise, they are not your concern. Slow down not just your speed, but also your perceptions and attitudes as it relates to how you interact with the tapestry of life around you. Attempt to be conscious of the moment, and of God's presence in the intricacy of it. As you make your way through the streets, attempt to be still and wait for the Lord. Who knows, you just might find your car to be a place of powerful communion with God.