I’m usually in a hurry. My motto, “Why do things slow when you could rush through them and move on to the next thing?” I’m quite certain the problem is more than just impatience. The case of “in-a-hurry-itis” that I possess should get some sort of clinical diagnosis and a fancy name like “slow-aphobia” or “rushed personality disorder.” I like to move fast because it makes me feel like I’m making progress.
But, today he taught me a lesson about this very thing.
The weather invited us to spend the day outside. Seventy-eight degrees in January, who could resist? I laced up my brand new, pink running shoes and told the kids shoe-up too. We were going for a walk to the park. The littles rushed ahead and out the door while I pulled on strings to get the fit of my new sneaks just right. It was the perfect day for seeing if these colorful Asics would help my lackluster running.
My oldest grabbed his bike and took off towards our destination, while my preschooler did loops in the driveway (not wanting to get the same lecture he got last week for getting too far ahead). My daughter, protesting the day’s outing, walked at a leisurely pace by herself so as to make sure she wouldn’t enjoy it. And, my little guy hopped on his motorized scooter. He smiled from ear to ear as the red scooter buzzed down the driveway.
About fourteen seconds into our journey I realized that our modes of transportation were not equally matched. My older boys were a full two blocks ahead while my daughter stayed safely in the middle with one eye on them and one eye on me–me and my little motorcycle man that is.
Itching to take off running, I knew duty mandated I walk beside that scooter instead. I never realized how painfully slow 2 miles per hour really could be. Until today. Trust me, it’s slow. The inchworms were passing us on the sidewalk.
My mini man must have sensed my impatience. He made it one block and then decided walking would be faster. It was true. It would have been much faster to walk. But, we were too far from home to turn back and ditch his vehicle.
“Keep riding.” I cheered. “We’ll get there.”
I tried to go a few paces ahead, just to check the status of my older children. But it made my junior rider nervous. He instinctively started rocking his head and torso back and forth so as to add some momentum. He pushed the pedal as hard as he could, thinking that maybe “more gas” would equal more speed. It didn’t.
I came back to walk beside him. And, walk I did–one ultra slow step after another–staring at my fancy running shoes and deciding they’d have to be test driven some other day. We were almost there. If the scooter’s battery and our collective impatience could just hold out a little longer, we would make it.
And, we did. It just took a while. A lot longer than I would have preferred.
Then the Holy Spirit reminded me that this is often how progress looks in my life.
Sometimes it feels like I’m giving it all the gas I’ve got and nothing is happening. At points in my journey the progress seems so, so, so, so slow that it feels like I’m standing still.
On today’s journey, he thought we’d never make it. I understood that feeling. I often wonder the same thing.
He wanted to leave the scooter and take off running. I recognize that instinct, too. God, this path you have me on and the mode of transportation you have selected for me to get down it are way. too. slow. I’ll just get out here and run ahead.
Yet, I made him keep riding because I didn’t want to carry a 30 pound electric scooter around the block. I wonder how often God’s had to pick up my proverbial scooter and bring it back to me after I bailed?
See the thing is: Progress doesn’t always look like progress.
It often takes so long that you may forget where you originally started. Sometimes it goes so slow that you can’t remember where you were even headed. It looks far away. Unreachable. Like you’ll never get there…
And you want to give up. Especially if you have “in-a-hurry-itis” like I do.
Then there’s those faster bikes that zoom ahead of you–your siblings who seem to effortlessly coast on by. They cruelly emphasize just how long it’s taking you. Comparison is a silent killer of one’s spirit and motivation.
“I’ll never catch up!” I whine.
And, God says, “This isn’t that kind of race. I’m not in a hurry.”
I laughed when my little guy coasted into the finish line for our journey, both arms in the air.
He could have relaxed the entire time. No need to stress. The scooter would have kept going. He was making progress, moving the towards his goal throughout the whole trip.