If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? ~ Jeremiah 12:5
That’s not Jeremiah’s question, it’s God’s question. And it’s a great question.
We spend most of our days racing on foot. Our lives are packed to overflowing with more commitments than we can possibly keep. Schedules and calendars dominate our days in an overbearing manner. Why do we do this to ourselves? I bet you think about that sometimes when your head hits the pillow. How many of us are suffering insomnia due to ruminations about the appointments, conflicts, and stressors we will face tomorrow upon awakening (if we have the privilege of sleep!)?
Are you often forced to ‘bump’ something else when a new need arises? Isn’t that a sign that it’s time for a long look at your life? Feeling rushed and tired and close to not being able to cope seems to be the norm. But take a look at all those things running through your life. They’re not horses … are they? Not most of them. We’ve set this system up, and we’re racing through each week.
There will come a time when we will run with the horses. The big crisis will arrive. The disaster we hoped we’d never see. The financial collapse we were trying to pretend wasn’t coming. The addiction that has now come to light. The disease that belongs in someone else’s life story, not ours. But now the doctor is somberly saying something you cannot bring yourself to hear. Suddenly all those thousand little lights of busyness seem unimportant. It’s time to run with the horses.
After the floodwaters of Katrina destroyed most of our belongings, we had to tote it all to the street (along with those saints who were helping us). During that time I said to Maggy, “No more stuff!” I had in mind that we would live simply, only with the things we had to have. When you run with horses you start to strip away the stuff that’s not so important. My resolve on that matter didn’t last, but the memory of it has.
In preparation for running with the horses:
*Expect Struggles. God doesn’t prevent catastrophe from happening in our lives. I think most of us have been through enough for that to be obvious.
*Downplay Irritations. We lose patience at the smallest things. If we can’t face minor distractions and easily solved problems, what’s going to happen when we’re really called upon to deal with some tough times?
*Set Limits. Decide what the limits are for your family, and set them. Be fair but firm. Last Fall I found us over-committed. Sunday night small group, Monday night Dave Ramsey Course, Tuesday night GriefShare, Wednesday night Bible class, and some Thursday nights Compassionate Friends. All of that was in addition to our daily schedules. I figured out pretty quick that this was too much. What limits need to be set in place in your life? In your family?
*Rest. You know, it is ok to do nothing. There’s a lot to be said for accomplishing great things in life, but there’s also a lot to be said for rest. God rested. Jesus rested. That’s good enough for me. Rest energizes you for the tasks that are ahead.
*Exercise. While I’m not the posterchild for physical exercise, I will agree with others that it is good for you. Don’t forget, though, to exercise your faith. Get stronger. Learn what you can while you’re racing with men. When it’s time to run with the horses, you’ll be prepared.
*Keep Perspective. Don’t become sour or overburdened while racing with men. Gain control of your days. Give God the biggest place in your life.