The Fastest Path to Nowhere (and Other Undesirable Endings)

The past several years have accumulated a resounding theme in my life, which I am more or less successful in following.

Don’t rush.

This is not popular.  All parts of my life – church leadership, activities for kids, work, relationships – fight this nugget of wisdom.

In church we want to get it done now.  If we don’t make the change now we may miss the opportunity for X, may not be as relevant, may not reach our target audience, have to deal with X person for another week or month, and on and on.

In worship we want to end the song and start the next one.  NOW.  Because we have 2 seconds left on the clock.

I am always tempted to rush the kids here and there, like we are running from a fire to put out the next one.

At work the other day a long time family friend whom I respect came to lay block with us and I immediately felt the urge to over work in order to impress him.

When I am hurt in a relationship I want to run away immediately or address it immediately.

All the while God is reminding me – don’t rush.

I still remember how it felt when I was in the middle of purchasing a car many years ago.  I was running out of time in my schedule.  I started feeling more and more tense, worried about what my wife would think, worried the dealer was taking me for a ride, on and on.  I got the car . . . and was late getting home, discovered I had not properly worked through the issue with my wife, discovered I had ultimately signed the promissory note on the wrong decision, and had successfully nailed a point of pain between me and my wife for months.

We worked through it, but I was never so glad to get rid of that car.  It was like I was expunging a bad decision and washing my hands.

When I began working at Lakeshore Community Church in Rochester, NY, I wanted to immediately transition the music team to the kinds of charts I wanted to use.  So, in addition to doing lots of new and difficult music, I started doing just that.  Changing every chart of every song every week.  Bad choice.  After a few months the frustration started hit the fan on the team and I had to dial back everything to give them a breather.

Here are a few familiar steps we learn as children that we would do well to remember as adults.

Stop.

(This will not be easy.)

Obey your gut.  Sometimes you will inexplicably feel tense.  Sometimes you will sense God trying to get your attention.  You will definitely not feel peace.

Just stop.

Wait.

(This will be harder.)

Don’t make a decision. Pause.  No matter what everyone around you is saying, yelling, arguing, or logically explaining.  Remember that only 1% of life is an emergency.  Remember your priorities: God and you, family, work, church, everything else.

Just wait.

Listen.

(You may feel stupid, and people may confirm that feeling.)

Quiet your mind.  Pray.  Thank God for what you have.  Shut off the distractions.  Close the door.

God may split the heavens and give you a message engraved in stone (if you are Moses), but most likely you will simply begin to regain your perspective and peace, along with the ability to make the right decision.

Where in life do you need to Stop, Wait and Listen?

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