I used to meet with my personal trainer, Allen, 5 days a week. And I'll be honest, I didn't consider working out with him at 8:30am every weekday as the highlight of my day.
Still, nothing was more dreadful than cardio. Allen would always have me walk on the treadmill. At first it was a piece of cake! I would actually start complaining. It seemed too easy. I wanted to do more and prove that I could go faster. But nope. Every day he said the same thing, "you just need to walk slowly."
Allen used a lot of scientific jargon to explain why walking slowly worked, but basically he said that walking at a slow speed on a high incline would yield almost the same results as running quickly on a low incline. Who would have thought?
Of course, I just had to test his theory....and I regretted it later. Ouch.
There's little doubt that we live in a fast-paced world. Themes like "survival of the fittest" or "stronger is better" are overwhelming in our culture.
This can quickly become an issue, because while our fast-paced desires are consuming our waking moments, we are controlled by a slow-motion God. A God who operates in eternity, and who causes everything to work in conjunction with His will.
I'm reminded of one of Aesop's most popular fables, "The Tortoise and The Hare."
The fast hare of course is beyond confident that he'll win the race against the slow-moving tortoise. The hare is so confident he even stops to grab a snack and take a nap along the way. Meanwhile, good 'ole Mr. Tortoise is taking his sweet time, one step in front of the other. With no added effort, Tortoise crosses the finish line for a victorious win!
And we know the moral of the story. Instead of living quick and careless, we are encouraged to operate within the confines of slow and steady.
Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1, NLT.
Slow and steady.
I know that's a hard concept to live by because we are accustomed to wanting what we want and getting it when we want it (like microwaved food, or speeding down the highway).
But while we're focused on getting to our destination or the end result as quickly as possible, God is focused on the journey of developing our character along the way.
If you are a Christian, you must understand this one truth:
In the end, we win.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret, you don't have to be fast to win this race, and you don't need to be strong to survive.
In fact, Jesus said that it is in the moments when we feel the most helpless and hopeless that His power will become even more evident in our lives (See: 2 Corinthians 12:9). So even in weakness we win.
The same principle applies to disappointments, failures, despair, doubts, and insecurities, you always win because grace is designed to surround and carry you through it all.
Trust that if God has called you to a task, He has already equipped you to accomplish it and it doesn't matter how long it takes. You don't have to succumb to the feelings of needing to hurry through when you compare yourself to others and you don't have to give up when it gets rough.
The Holy Spirit will work within you so that God's divine purpose will be fulfilled in and through you at His speed, in His time.
So which are you? The tortoise or the hare?
Remember, slow and steady wins the race.