“There is a high cost for low living.” – Edwin Louis Cole
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” – William Blake
“The universe is wider than our views of it.” – Henry David Thoreau
“As you live deeper in the heart, the mirror gets clearer and cleaner.” – Rumi
Take a moment to think about a time in your life that was difficult to get through – a period of suffering or loss that changed you, your value system, or the direction your life was heading at the time.
What was the single most important change it brought about? How did it cause you to look at life differently than before and how did it change your behaviors moving forward?
When I ponder these questions for myself, one answer comes quickly to mind: I saw the importance of slowing down.
I’ve written a lot about the concept of living life in a blur. None of us do this intentionally or with any premeditation, but we just naturally succumb to the world’s pace and the movement of the masses. In my book, “Walking Your Predestined Pathway”, I use the analogy of life on a highway versus a pathway.
Think about traveling in a car down an interstate highway at 80 miles an hour. If you were to attempt to look out the side window trying to focus on where you were at the exact moment, the landscape would be rushing along so fast you would get car-sick attempting to look at the detail of your immediate surroundings. The only way to avoid getting sick is by looking out at the distant landscape that lies ahead of you – missing out on where you are at the moment, the place where life is truly lived out in the here and now.
I was living my life at autobahn-like speed – trying to fit all I could into a tiny window of time. The only way to make it on life’s highway like this is to keep looking far ahead missing out on the critical “here and now.”
It’s funny how the world and our culture encourage us to juggle job, family, fitness clubs, schooling, extra-curricular activities and more – cramming as much as possible into our lives. We travel along this fast-paced highway falsely believing that the more we can experience, the better and more fulfilling our life will be. We eventually tire from the pace and begin to realize that we’ve only given some very important aspects of our life quick, passing glances.
One of the greatest life lessons I have learned is to slow down – living my life in a conscious, methodical fashion – taking time to observe and incorporate the things that lead to a life well lived.
By slowing down and giving more thought and attention to what is occurring NOW, we make better life choices – leading to a life that fulfills the purposes and plans of God for us.
If you are finding yourself currently on life’s fast-paced highway, running fast but going nowhere, here are some things to think about that will help you slow down – living life with more intent, purpose, and meaning.
When you think about the world we live in, it’s easy to get stuck in an atmosphere of negativity, self-centeredness, and disillusionment. The world has its own set of rules, and if one is to survive and excel, it seems like we must quickly succumb and yield to them no matter how immoral or unscrupulous they are. Because of life’s fast pace, we tend to go with the flow versus fighting the traffic and changing our course to one that has greater meaning and purpose.
As an example, one of the world’s “highway rules” is to make quick judgments about people. We quickly cast aside individuals who are slowing us down or not keeping pace with life as we see it. We judge people on the surface because that’s all we really have time for. We become quick to reject, casting those who don’t see it our way aside instead of slowing down and investing the time it takes to reconcile, forgive, and renew.
I’m challenging you today to slow down and live life from a higher perspective. Have you taken the time to consider someone else’s point of view? Have you chosen to rise above the argument, the disagreement, or the rejection? Have you slowed down enough to see the problem through their eyes? Have you decided to invest the time to forgive or chosen the faster route of bitterness and rejection?
Living higher, above the fray and natural flow of life’s highway, requires us to slow down enough to think about our conflicts, hurts, and judgments in a new and higher light.
When you think about it, most people don’t choose this path. I’m urging you from my own experiences to slow down and consider living life at a higher elevation – a grander, more majestic viewpoint – one that can’t be seen if you are traveling fast along life’s highway with everyone else. Slow down to clearly see what is passing before you in the moment – living life from a higher perspective. Force yourself to look at things from an opposing viewpoint, take the time to forgive versus reject, and watch how your life begins to travel a more meaningful pathway.
Slowing down doesn’t only allow us to live life from a higher perspective and point of view, it causes us to see the deeper meaning behind things.
As I was traveling fast along life’s highway, the only thing I focused on was my own self-determined goals, future desires, and what it was going to take to achieve them. I never stopped long enough to look at my current set of circumstances and the deeper purpose and meaning behind them.
“God, what are your purposes for me right now…at this current place in my life?”
“What is the deeper meaning behind these blessings, this suffering, or the people that are a part of my life currently?”
Unless one slows down enough to ask these key questions and meditate on the importance behind their answers, the highway of life can quickly and briskly take us right by the deeper purpose that lies beneath them.
As I look back, I wish I would have slowed down long enough to seek the answers and act accordingly. Instead of living life on the human surface of events, I wish I would have chosen to look deeper at the spiritual side of what was taking place. By doing so, I would have walked the pathway of God’s purpose for me in those moments – living a deeper, richer, and more meaningful life.
One of life’s highway rules is to drive selfishly and offensively. If others are blocking your road, crowd their bumper, honk your horn, and flash your lights at them – letting them know they’re getting in the way!
If you think about it, life’s highway is filled with people like this – only focused on their individual destination, their own traveling agenda, and arriving at this place as fast as possible strictly for their own benefit.
It’s easy to get caught up in this kind of traffic – looking out for our own best interest before we help and assist anyone else. Life’s highway rule says, “Look out for number one first and foremost!”
But when we take the time to slow down and look around at those who are traveling beside us, traveling a wider road verses a singular, narrow path, we begin to realize the important role others play in our journey. We begin to see how we can make their pathway through life smoother, straighter, and less cumbersome. More importantly, we see the value in intersecting with as many people as possible – both for our benefit and theirs.
What are you doing right now to widen the road you’re traveling through life? How are you living in a way that slows you down enough to see your fellow travelers, connect with their needs, and doing all you can to help them reach their destination? Realize that when you do this, your own pathway through life is enriched.
Tonight, I hope you think hard about the road you are currently traveling in life. I pray that you slow down, choosing to live a higher, deeper, wider life – one that requires you to get off life’s fast-paced highway and travel on God’s predestined pathway for you!
May God bless you on your journey!