Life in the Slow Lane

I have a confession to make. I like to drive fast, and I tend to speed. I’ve been that way for as long as I’ve been able to drive, and that got me into a lot of trouble when I was younger. I learned my lesson for a while and kept my tendency to speed in check. Recently, though, I have felt the urge rise again. Lately, I’ve found myself speeding, shifting from lane to lane, trying to get just a little further ahead. I’ve gotten angry at the SUV in front of me that didn’t understand the purpose of a passing lane and was pacing the cars in the other lane. Driving, which used to be a pleasant experience for me, had suddenly become an exercise in frustration.

I recently read that a speed increase of ten miles per hour only nets an average gain of a full minute and a half. On average, I would drive five to ten mph over the limit. So, today, I decided to try a different exercise. I would stay at or below the speed limit on my way home and see how much of a difference it made in my arrival time. Not only was I surprised that it didn’t make much of a difference in my arrival time, but I discovered an unexpected side benefit.

When I was speeding, I-4 was a nightmare. Slow drivers blocking my way, keeping me from moving on. As I drove on I-4 today, at a steady 70mph, I was surprised to find myself with no traffic in front of me the entire way home. No one was blocking my way. Those who were driving faster, which was almost everyone, passed me on the left, and those who were driving slower puttered along happily on the right. And once I got off the interstate, I caught all the lights. My drive home today was once again a completely enjoyable experience.

While driving, I also hit upon a revelation. This was not only a good exercise to try with driving, but also with life in general. We all have those things we would like to have happen faster. Weight loss. Making money. Finding the love of our lives. So, we rush. We take diet pills, play the lottery, settle for people who aren’t right for us. Then we find ourselves surprised when things don’t work out like we want them to. Sometimes, by slowing down, we find more enjoyment in life, and more success in achieving the goals we set for ourselves.

I tend to forget that God has plans for my life, plans so much better than what I can imagine for myself. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” He knows my expected end, and, if I travel at His speed, I will get there, and I will do so with less frustration. I need to follow His road signs, instead of taking the “shortcuts” that lead to one dead end after another. And I need to follow His road map, the Bible, to keep from getting lost.

Wow. Who could have imagined that slowing down would have gotten me so far?