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Slowing my pace to win the race

By Tonya Swindell

Slow and steady wins the race./But it never seems easy to slow down my pace./With perseverance I can endure as long as it takes./Patience and discipline help me finish with grace.

Rushing can cause me to forget important dates, people and things. It can also lead to avoidable mistakes. But when I slow down to complete meaningful tasks, I tend to think clearer and perform better. Slowing my pace isn’t easy to do, but it’s definitely necessary.

On more than one occasion my young daughter has said, “Mommy, you need to slow down.” Psalm 8:2 says it is out of the mouth of children that God has ordained strength to overcome my challenges.

Recently it was a challenge for me to be patient while navigating Hampton Roads traffic. Despite my attempts to go around, drive in a different direction or turn the other way, I encountered detours, accidents, and a bridge stuck in the up position.

At one point, the automated voice of my navigation device warned: “You are in a 13-minute slowdown.” So I humorously asked: “Lord, are you trying to tell me something?”

The writer of Hebrews offered a broader perspective on slowing down: “Since we are surrounded by so many examples [of faith], we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up.”

The writer acknowledges how distractions can stymie or slow down my walk of faith. But as I become more intentional about my choices, I can avoid undesirable behaviors that may detract from my goals.

Hurried actions like leaving a hot iron plugged into an outlet or forgetting to move the gear shift of a car into the Park position upon arriving in a parking space are early warning signs that slowing down is necessary. The danger of such actions reminds me of tragic news stories about house fires that occurred after a hot iron turned over, or of the recent death of Anton Yelchin, a young actor who died as result of his car rolling backward in the driveway.

When I practice mindfulness, slowing my pace becomes a little easier. Google defines “mindfulness” as: “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations; used as a therapeutic technique.”

Even though it seems like slowing down to complete a task may require extra time, “mindfulness” can help me be efficient and effective.

As illustrated by a slow-moving tortoise racing to beat a highly distractible hare in Aesop’s Fable, a slow-but-steady pace can help me conserve energy and accomplish my goals. By slowing my pace, I can win the race.

And by being more mindful, I can achieve my goals with excellence, efficiency and safety.

Tonya Swindell writes a blog for www.inspirenewlife.org and a teacher for Kingdom Building Equipping School (KBES.com). She can be reached at 1brightot@gmail.com.