I once heard a story of a man, whose extended business meeting put him behind schedule, thus jeopardizing his arrival at the airport before his flight departed. Hailing a cab, he scurried into the back seat and exclaimed, "I'm in a hurry! Drive as fast as you can!" A few minutes later he looked out the window and realized they were traveling in the wrong direction. He inquired to the taxi driver as to where he was going, and then heard this reply, "I don't know. I'm just driving as fast as I can." The hurried business man failed to give adequate instruction, and the cabbie failed to ask.
Our world drives us. It calls us to push our physical, mental, and emotional capacities to their limits. It has convinced us that to be average is a terrible plight and that if we work hard enough and long enough, we can climb the ladder of success as high as everyone else (which makes us average!). It tempts us toward feelings of guilt when we are not being productive -- or at least "busy."
We search for ways to save time, only to fill those newfound minutes with more activity. This fast-paced lifestyle easily can lead to health problems and familial strains, and could actually cause us to lose our direction in life. Most of us want our life to count for something. We want to make a difference in our little corner of the world. Loss of purpose, forgetting the real goal, is one of the potential hazards of living life full speed ahead.
Taking deliberate steps to replenish our physical, mental, and emotional energies can serve to improve the quality of our productive hours, and should not be viewed as a waste of time. For good reason, many rest areas along the highway are equipped not only with restrooms, but also with snack machines, walking trails, and even picnic tables. When the journey is a long one, it is a safer and more enjoyable one when we make an occasional stop to refresh ourselves.
Life is a long journey. Take care of yourself. Enjoy the ride.
Steven Callis is the minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Douglasville.