In a Hurry

I don’t know when I started going everywhere in a hurry, but hurrying had recently become my
mode of operations. It’s possible that it began from a daily battle with traffic. Traffic just totally
freaks me out. For some reason if I’m riding shotgun, traffic doesn’t get to me, but if I’m behind
the wheel, I feel this pressure like there’s something I can do about it: I should have chosen
a different route. Would it be too ridiculous to hop up on the shoulder and take the next exit?
How come the lane I’m in is always the slowest? Those are just a few of the examples of how
my brain works in traffic. So, somehow this had crept into my everyday life. On a peaceful
Saturday morning, driving to Starbucks, I find myself going all ‘Jeff Gordon’ down Cooper Street.
When I have an errand to run, it can’t just be a nice, easy drive there; I feel like I’m on the clock.
There’s a gas station that I stop at in a highly trafficked area. I get all anxious and impatient
trying to get back out on the road after pumping gas, and just to keep from having to wait, I’ll fly
out of there like “a bat out of Shell.” Get it? Sorry.

So, this random, constant pressure was starting to get to me, and I finally had an epiphany. It’s
time to take it easy. It’s time to start cruising. All the anxiety was not good for my health or my
personality. Thus, I’ve adopted a new and mellow driving attitude. It involves not looking at
the clock as much. It involves no tailgating, no yellow lights, and no speeding (ok, moderate
speeding still happens occasionally- let’s not be ridiculous).

It seems like this is a metaphor for the way life can weigh in on you. The weight of mortality
and the fragileness of life makes you feel like you are racing the clock. It may be subconscious,
but you feel the need to get as much in as you can in the time you’ve been allotted. So, you’re
always pushing, rarely focusing, always thinking ahead. In my old driving state of mind, I could
have driven past the funniest billboard or the nicest building and wouldn’t have noticed. In life,
when you live it like an anxious driver, it is inevitable that many of the joys and mysteries are
going to be missed. And a simple, small attitude adjustment actually makes a huge difference.

Psalm 102 is a brilliant expression of this anxiety(1).  The psalmist is pouring out his heart, railing
against life’s fleeting nature. He is expressing his angst over the mortality he cannot reverse.

“For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace.”
“My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.”

But in the midst of his ranting, he is reminded that God, at times, moves slow. He is reminded
that God’s timing is very different from ours because God’s perspective is very different from
ours. He bluntly remembers that God is eternal and does not answer to the limits of the clock.

“But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations.”

“Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.”

“They will perish, but you will remain.”

The psalmist crashes head-on into a realization of God’s glory and power. And while the
Psalmist knows his days are limited, he takes comfort not in his own wisdom, his own speed, his
own strength; He takes comfort in this God who is forever. A God who responds in his own time
but still intimately cares.

“That he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, to set free
those who were doomed to die, that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord…”

So there is little you can do about the unwinding hands of the clock. The tendency is to rail
against it, living life in a stressful hurry: Cutting people off, mowing them down, hovering too
close. But our strength and security is in God, and our comfort is in his eternal glory (2).

“But you are the same, and your years have no end. The children of our servants shall dwell
secure.”

1 all verses are quoted from Psalm 102, English Standard Version

2Jesus teaches this perspective in his words on anxiety, Matthew 6.25-34

Guiding real people to embrace a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ