Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Changing Gears

I am currently reading through the book "A Minute of Margin" by Richard A. Swenson, M.D. and I cannot recommend this book enough. For the perennially busy, this book is a call to build some margin into every area of life. Today's reading was especially good and I'd like to pass it along.

"The healthiest lifestyle come equipped with four gears. The first is PARK, for the contemplative times. This gear is to be used for rest and renewal. It is our battery-charging gear. This is where we do much of our thinking about values and spirituality, as well as much of our Scripture study and prayer. It is the gear we plan to use as we pick up a novel and head to the hammock or as we sit on a stump and watch the wildlife.

"The second gear is LOW. This gear is for relationships, for family and friends. This is the gear we use when talking with someone. Low gear keeps us from being distracted and nervously moving on to the next activity even though we are still in the middle of a conversation. This is the gear we use when the children ask for a story or a back rub. OR when they ask about the death of pets, or sex, or God. No hurry here, just quality.

"The third gear is DRIVE. This is our usual gear for work and for much of our play. This gear uses lots of energy, and the faster speed feels good because it is productive. It gets us from place to place quickly and efficiently. This is the gear we mow the lawn in or exercise in.

"The fourth gear is OVERDRIVE. This gear is reserved for times that require extra effort and energy. If we have a deadline coming, we kick into this gear. If we are playing a basketball game, we call on overdrive to energize us. This is the gear I use during flue season when my schedule is double-booked. This is the gear most families use getting ready for church.

"Unfortunately, many in our society do not come down from overdrive. Our cars are not meant to race at high speeds continuously - the engines would burn up. Neither are our bodies or spirits mean to race continuously. Yet, for some, to slow down is unthinkable, and for others, impossible.

"Discover where you keep your clutch, and change gears often. Go fast and hard with God's blessing, but only for appropriate activities. If you lack LOW or PARK, expand your transmission. The slow lane in life is just as important as the fast lane - commit to spending more time there."

Amen!

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