If You Wanna Slow Down…Brakes Work Better Than Gas!

Posted: February 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Okay, so a long overdue post here from my half-day prayer retreat two weeks ago…sorry for the delay, but I’ve been busy working  on possible trades for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but so far, Brian Burke won’t listen to me…oh well…there’s always fantasy hockey leagues!

All right..work with me now…close your eyes and picture the days when you were learning how to drive a car.  For me, it seemed to come fairly easy…and maybe that’s because my step-dad was a police officer and grilled me on the rules of the road…or maybe it was from all those supposedly wasted afternoons at the arcade playing Crusin USA.  But the one thing I always had trouble with early on, was slowing the car down.  My step-dad’s car had ultra sensitive brakes, so every time I’d put pressure on the brake peddle…the car would jerk and apply a nice little touch of whiplash!  So to counter this effect, I would simply take my foot off the gas when I needed to slow down…only using the brakes if I needed to.  Now this works okay if you’re not in need of stopping too quickly, but can be inefficient when needing that sudden halt!

This is something young drivers just learn along the way…as eventually I learned to use the brakes more efficiently, and that the gas pedal was for…well…to speed up!  I use this analogy with respect to my recent retreat experience, because slowing down is exactly what I needed to do, yet hadn’t done for quite some time.  I had been running on such high RPM’s over the past few months, that I not only needed to slow the pace…I needed to punch the brakes and pull over to the shoulder for a while (Ps. 62:5).  Perhaps you can relate…and if not…maybe this poem from Wilferd A. Peterson will help bring things into perspective;

Slow me down, Lord!                                               
Ease the pounding of my heart
By quieting of my mind.
Steady my harried pace
With a vision of the eternal reach of time.

Give me,
Amidst the confusions of my day,
The calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves
With the soothing music of the sighing streams
That live in my memory.
Help me to know
The magical restoring power of sleep.

Teach me the art
Of taking minute vacations of slowing down to look at a flower;
To chat with an old friend or to make a new one;
To pat a stray dog;
To watch a spider build a web;
To smile at a child;
Or to read a few lines from a good book.

Remind me each day
That the race is not always the swift;
That there is more to life than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward
Into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew slowly and well.

Slow me down, Lord,
And inspire me to send my roots deep
Into the soil of life’s enduring values
That I may grow toward the stars
Of my greater destiny.

So that is exactly what I did…I slowed the pace of my life down so I could pull over without causing any further ‘damage’!  This was the first step for me…the next is a full 1-2 day prayer/solitude retreat…but let’s get to the ‘how’s’ of making this happen.  I had a series of ideas on how I wanted to spend this day, but the best things that happened was that I just waited on the Lord…and allowed Him to speak to me.  Next post I’ll chat about what I heard from the Lord, but here’s the 3-step process I used, and found very helpful entering into an extended one-on-one time with the Lord;

1. Wait on the Lord– the basic encouragement…be patient and don’t miss the moment because you’re waiting for something mystic or extraordinary to happen…it might…but God will speak when we position ourselves to hear (Isa. 40:31).  I also took this time to reflect on Psalm 139 (yeah the entire chapter!) and just asked God to reveal ‘stuff’ and to cleanse me in His presence.  Then I took some time to wait on the Lord in worship, using Psalms 103, 111 and 145 as scriptural aids in declaring God’s power, authority and greatness…He rocks!  It was a sweet time of connection between myself and Father, without me asking for anything…but just seeking His face and presence…soooo good!

2. Pray for Others– it was a good time to get some prayer in for others in my life, as I’m so busy doing my prayer checklist on a daily basis, I often hurry by this element.  I won’t spend too much time here, other than to encourage you to not rush this.  We all have people in our lives that we can cover in prayer…family, spouse, friends, colleagues, neighbors…so the important part is not really how you spend your time praying for others…it’s just that you do it!

3.  Pray for Yourself– this is the time to get a little self-centered so-to-speak!  Ask God questions like; “Lord, what do You think of my life?”  “What are you calling me to take hold of?”  “What are you calling me to let go of?”  Ask God for understanding into your life-status (Ps. 119:18).  Reflect and meditate on scripture, and ask yourself some deep questions…”is doing God’s will (moral will, and being open to His sovereign will) the most important thing in your life?”

**adapted from former Navigators president Lorne Sanny’s article in Leadership Classics**

Make sure you have a journal and pen handy, because you’ll wanna write down the things the Lords wants to reveal to you through His word; people that Holy Spirit will tap you on the shoulder to pray for; and revelations He’ll impart to you about where your life is at…and heading towards.

So there you have…a quick guide and reason for taking the time to slow down the pace of your life, and pull over to hang with God Almighty…you won’t regret it my friend.  Until next time…remember to use those brakes!

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