Merry-go-rounds

As a believer, I know I am supposed to think like a runner. I should be sprinting toward the finish line with every fiber of my being, yearning to glorify God and proclaim His name with every step. When I reach the finish line, I long to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

But sometimes I don’t feel like a runner; I feel more like I’m on a carousel or on one of those metal spinning circles I used to ride as a kid (which hopefully are banned from all playgrounds by now). 

You know what I’m talking about? It looked something like this:

 
 

I would hold on FOR DEAR LIFE while someone spun me faster and faster until I felt like I was going to throw up or pass out, dizzy and giddy with the incredible speed. Going around and around in circles, I would feel my tiny hands start to lose grip on the railing and I would yell at my friend, “Stop spinning…I’m going to fall off!” So we would stop and regroup and then go again. 

And my life too often feels like one of these deadly, metal merry-go-rounds. I’m going in circles, heading nowhere in particular but I’m moving too fast to think about my direction. 

At first it’s fun, because I’m starting to gather speed. My schedule starts getting fuller and my mind starts to race a bit faster with to-do lists and deadlines and meetings. I love my job, after all, and I feel like I’m actually keeping up with the rest of the world. I buy into the lies that busier and bigger is always better. 

And then I start to get a bit nauseous because someone is spinning me too fast, and I feel my hands starting to slip and I eventually scream, “Stop the madness!” 

I can’t keep up with the busyness, the spinning, the speed. 

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So I fall off and slow down, exhale deeply and plan intentionally. Life’s better at this slower pace, steadier and savory. I notice the way the sun hits the trees and listen more intently in conversations. I light every candle and take my time preparing meals. I pay more attention to God.

But I don’t stay in this slower place long enough. I don’t learn my lesson, and I get back on the merry-go-round because there’s too much to do and too little time and if I don’t regularly post on Instagram, I WILL NEVER HAVE ANOTHER CUSTOMER EVER. My business will go under and I will be the person I suspected I was all along: a failure. 

I buy into the lies that slower means lazy, that I’m not good enough if I’m not “too busy,” with a jam-packed schedule so full that I don’t have a spare moment.

I think a lot of us have grown tired of the hustle. The hustle has left us pulling our hair out and cursing at random strangers. The hustle is no friend of the thoughtful and wise. We are aching for smaller, simpler, slower. 

This year my life and business have a narrower and more intentional focus, and I think it's going to be a really good but hard transition. Of course, I'm still going to work hard and have busy days. I want to make money so I can be a good steward with it. I want to meet my deadlines and meet new clients; I want to connect with others in person and in this space, with words and prayers and pictures. 

But I also don’t want to be distracted from the most important things. Overall, I am striving for less frantic and more faith. I am determined to savor the little moments, to take long walks and invest my time wisely. I want to live purposefully and prayerfully. Because at the end of all of this, I want to be able to say “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). 

Soon enough, we will be standing before the throne in all of His glory. I want so badly to hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant" and not “What were you doing spinning around and around in all of those circles?”

Let’s run to Him—stumbling and obedient and together.