Every Monday night, I gather with a group of guys at a local BBQ place. It is treasured time – a time of laughing, talking about life, and encouraging one another as we travel this road called life. Recently, we’ve been studying a book called Margin, by Dr. Richard Swenson. It’s a book that reminds us of the beauty of balance in our life. In chapter 14, Swenson talks about the four gears that we live our life in: Park, Low, Drive and Overdrive.
It’s a simple concept.
There are times in our life that we move at different speeds, and sometimes, by God’s grace, we don’t move at all. What was convicting for me is that while we are designed to spend portions of our life in each of those four gears, I find myself spending way too much of my life moving at full throttle. Just like the engine in your car, spending too much time going too fast is a recipe for catastrophic failure.
This season of the year, for many of us, is one of those times that it is difficult to find a slower gear. October seems to disappear into November before we can get the Halloween decorations put away. The stores scream “Christmas is coming” even before we have the kids’ costumes picked out for a night of trick or treating. Weekends are packed with tournaments. Calendars are filled with deadlines. In my own life, this is the busiest time of year: planning for Christmas, transporting kids to various activities, setting a budget for the year that has yet to begin.
It’s hard to find park.
And yet, park isn’t just an indicator on the dashboard of your car, it’s a necessary reality that we need to make time for. As Dr. Swenson reminds us, “We do not rest because our work is done; we rest because God commanded it and created us to have a need for it.”
Park, I am learning, doesn’t self-select. Park is a state of being that must be intentionally entered into. It’s the reason God created the Sabbath – a day to stop. A day to worship. A day to intentionally engage in the art of being still and knowing that God is God and we are not.
Sometimes stopping is the only way to remember that we are not in control.
Recently, I was able to find park on a cold, rainy evening out in the hill country. Granted, it wasn’t the best day to spend outside, but it was the day I had set aside. As I sat there in the windy, cold air, my mind was racing with all of the problems I had been trying to solve.
But then, gradually, something happened:
Hours of nothing.
And as I experienced the beauty of nothing, something else happened. My thoughts, like a ball of tangled yarn, began to unravel, and the complexities of the problems I had been turning over in my mind all week became reduced to the most basic of understandings:
I am blessed.
I am loved.
I am not in control.
It was in that moment, that I found that being still is the blessing of resting in the hands of God. I thought of my girls, of my wife, and the home that we have built. I thought of our church, the joy of worship, and the relationships that matter most.
I pray that during this busy season, you will find that lowest gear – the one that forces you to be still and know that He is God, and God is Good.
You are blessed.
You are loved.
You are not in control.