The Pace of Life

"Be quick, but don’t rush."  This is a phrase I remember hearing often from one of the best college baseball coaches of all time.  He was coaching the U.S.A. Baseball Team in 1980 at the World Baseball Championships in Tokyo.  I was a utility infielder on that team and I played only a little but gained great experience under a great coach.  We won the Bronze medal that year, losing to Cuba and Japan.

This phrase has significant meaning in baseball, life, and in comparing cultures.  "Be quick" has to do with outward movement and quickness is a necessary ability in the game of baseball.  "Don’t rush" speaks to the inner man – the mind and the heart.  To rush is to try to play beyond one’s ability which invariably causes errors in execution and judgment and increased pressure and stress.  Those who master the game of baseball master this rule.  Those, like me, who don’t succeed in baseball never quite master the tender balance of the physical and mental aspects of the game.

This phrase certainly applies to life, as well.  As I compare the Amazon culture with the U.S. culture, I see two cultures out of balance on the quickness and rushing scale.  In the Amazon, as in many developing cultures, people don’t rush about anything, and their lives reflect less stress.  But they are also rarely quick about anything, which yields work without excellence and minimal productivity.  In the U.S., on the other hand, we tend to be quick about much and this yields high output and product excellence but we also rush about everything, yielding perhaps the highest cultural stress level in history.

As I look at my own life, I am asking our Father to help lead me to a more healthy balance.  Less rushing, more trust.  I live in the slow-paced Amazon, but as an American, maintaining very nicely my bad habit of rushing.  There’s never enough time to do all that I want to do in a day.  I lack "margin".  I never sit and do nothing (which is what you see people here doing all the time!) and often have a desire to do just that.  I haven’t watched T.V. in many years and can hardly sit through a movie anymore.  I am a classic American "rusher", enjoying tasks, challenges, and achievement, but placing way too much value on performance, thus causing me to rush.  In baseball, we used to talk about how you can’t want a hit too badly, as this would cause you to "press", and thus not be "loose", a requisite for good hitting.  This is how slumps occur, as one bad day leads to many because of wanting a certain result (a hit) too badly and too quickly.  In baseball, this "pressing" is caused by lack of trust in one’s ability and in one’s reflexes.  In life, rushing is caused by lack of trust in our Father, and in His abilities and in His care for every detail of our lives.

I need deeper trust in my Father, in His care for me, my family and my work; in His desire to draw men to Himself; that all the work is His; and in His power to accomplish whatever He chooses.  Trust.  Only trust will remove the rushing and the high emphasis of getting more done and doing it perfectly.  I’ve heard it said that the reason the Jewish day begins at night is so that your first activity is sleep.  Not getting busy but resting, requiring trust that all work and all fruit is His to give, not ours to earn. 

God, I want to trust you more.  I need to inwardly slow down and stop rushing.  Please help me!

 

Reminders:

 

A friend will speak to you the truth about you, as he perceives it.  A non-friend will allow you to continue along a destructive path in fear of the short-term discomfort associated with confrontation.

God is interested in peace makers, not in peace keepers.

We errantly think that certain earthly things (marriage, children, success, wealth, popularity, power, freedom from conflict, etc) will bring us a lasting sense of well-being and contentment.  Jesus said that only intimacy with Him can bring this.

Trying to motivate the unmotivated is like getting one to drink who doesn’t feel thirst.

All things in the "seen" world are to reveal something to us about the unseen world.  Perhaps mosquitoes, flies, chiggers, parasites and pium exist to remind us of the ever-present, unseen, demons (the pests of the enemy).

It’s a person’s heart we will remember, rarely his/her words.

When the potential risk is great, think and act cautiously.

It’s difficult living with uncertainty but don’t try to make certain that which is not.

Many know of God but few know Him.

“Casting pearls before swine” occurs often today. Many don’t appreciate the value of the Kingdom.

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