Hurry up!

Have you noticed that when you try to rush through something, that’s when things are most likely to go wrong? The other day I was headed to work on the freeway when I saw a dramatic demonstration of this principle.

There was a California Highway Patrol (CHP) on the freeway and as usually happens, traffic was backing up behind the officer. I was in the number one lane (fast lane) as an impatient Porsche driver came up in the slow lane going much faster than we were going. It looked like the Porsche was going to try to pass two cars and then cut in front of them to make the off ramp. As the Porsche rapidly passed the two cars, he noticed the CHP and dramatically slowed down. It looked like the Porsche driver wanted to get between the two cars in the slow lane to hide from the CHP, however there was no room for him to fit there. The second car in the slow lane took that exact moment to speed up and pull out from behind the slower car in front. There are now three cars headed for the exact same spot on the freeway. You can imagine what happened next, which was rather exciting, given that I was on a motorcycle only two lanes away.

Those drivers were in a big hurry to get somewhere, probably work. (How big of a hurry do you need to be in at 6AM?) The Porsche driver was trying to save all of 2.3 seconds by passing those two cars. In the end, it cost him a bunch more time and hassle. The “hurry up” attitude cost him way more than it was ever going to save him. It was a bad gamble. An accident at 70 MPH on the freeway can turn into a disaster in a big hurry. I know that I can sometimes do that same thing. I have tendencies to be impatient. I often want to get things done quickly, to be efficient. But I’m not convinced that’s always a good plan.

I wonder how many other times in our lives we make poor decisions in an effort to hurry up. We can be tempted to make poor financial decisions in an effort to make big money in a hurry. We eat poorly (fast food) so that we can be done quicker. Rush through tasks at work. Even in our spiritual life we can tend to want to hurry up and rush through. We might be tempted to race through our devotion so we can get on with the day. Or maybe our quiet time is only a few seconds. In all these cases, we often hurt ourselves more than we help ourselves. So why do we continue with the “hurry up” attitude? Especially when we are talking about our spiritual lives, the consequences have eternal implications. Why does such a small gain seem worth the risk?

Tomorrow let’s try something different. Be efficient. Be on time. Be prompt, but don’t rush. Take your time. Do it right. Don’t be an accident.

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