Life can be a rat-race at times. I’m reminded of the old Broadway musical, “Stop the World – I Want to Get Off!” I’ve never seen it (nor do I have the foggiest idea of what it’s even about) but it is a great description of how hectic life can be: with appointments, deadlines, chores, responsibilities, crises, meetings, practices … and, oh yeah, sometime I gotta eat and sleep, too! But breathing is optional. (smile)
The problem with rat-races is that the more we “race,” the more we become “rats.” Busy-ness, harried-ness, and being on the “go” all the time eventually changes us – and not in a good way. Busy-ness increases our anxiety, lowers our frustration threshold, makes us even more selfish and rude, and often causes us to compromise our character and faith. What’s more is that the last thing on busy people’s minds is seeking to glorifying God or becoming more Christ-like (even when their job is to help others glorify God and follow Jesus – “ouch!”)
In the midst of the rat-race, God gives us a timeless reminder from the Psalms:
Be still and know that I am God. (Ps. 46:10)
The first phrase (“Be still”) literally means, “Cease from striving.” It means to take a time out. It is the act of stopping the world – your world and my world. It also implies, “Silence” and turning off the noise.
But in the stillness and silence we have a focal point: God; in particular, knowing that God is, indeed, God: the One in control, the One on the Throne, the Lord over everything, the One greater than anything we face, and the One greater than any demand that wants our attention. Our stillness and silence is not just a break from the rat-race; it’s a way out of the race and aligning ourselves with The King’s Way.
We normally think of silence and stillness as a part of our Personal Worship Time; our one-on-one times with God in solitude. However, I also find it helpful to take regular “time-out with God” breaks from the rat race throughout the day.
Just today I found myself getting too busy and stressed-out. So I pulled away, got to a quiet place, took in a few deep breaths, and stilled myself with some silent prayer. In that prayer, I quieted my heart and mind, and asked God to be my focal point. I actually recited Psalm 46:10 a couple of times. I was quiet and still for about three minutes – just enough to quiet the noise within and without. More importantly, I placed my anxieties and fears at the foot of His throne and remembered that He is “large and in charge.”
The result was peace and focus as I entered into my next meeting. I sensed the presence of God with me and the meeting was a very fruitful and powerful time (you can ask my staff – Krista and Liam – as my meeting was with them).
So when life gives you too much, take a 2-3 minute time-out with God. He’ll get you out of the rat-race and back into the flow of His life and grace.
Do you feel like you’re in a rat race? (And are the rats winning?)
What helps you to reconnect with God when life gets overwhelming or too busy?
2 thoughts on “Taking Time Out from the Rat Race”
Amen!!! how timely you wrote this as I found myself haunted by dreams last night of forgetfulness and then feeling an overwhelming feeling of stress!! What am I forgetting? I’m forgetting to trust God!!! I need to lay this at his feet, not try to live I dependently. I need to stop and be still and know that God is with me. I need to remember I’m a better passenger than driver!
Thank you, Doug. A great reminder!