Winter 2023

Daily Devotional: Friday, November 3 - Pump The Brakes

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” — Psalm 46:10

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Be still. Pump the brakes. Take a breath. Calm down.

This can be really hard for us in this fast-paced world of ours. Daily conditions are not often suited for quiet reflection and focusing our minds “on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). And yet, what does God command us to do throughout Scripture?

Take a minute.

Don’t rush.

Don’t hurry.

This isn’t a sprint or an emergency. This is a journey with Me.

While watching the previous Winter Olympics, I noted a commentator in snowboard cross praising one of the riders for slowing down slightly going into their tricks because conditions were quick and slick out there. “Sometimes you need to pump the brakes,” he said. And I’ve remembered that comment since because, truth be told, conditions can be fast out there in life, too. School papers are due, there are bills to pay, jobs to report to, self and family to care for, friends to invest in, volunteer work to show up for, church community to be part of … the list can go on and on. While we certainly love and value all of these areas and appreciate their importance in our lives, we all could probably agree that they bring with them their own set of drains and drags.

Pressing matters, social and world concerns, personal struggles, and so much more beg for our time and pull on our energy and inner peace. It can be a fight to maintain our calm and our joy in the face of so many things and people calling for our attention. The slope can start to feel quick and slick, and soon we feel as though we’re riding at a speed that is not sustainable. We know we’re only one move away from a major crash.

It’s at this point that we face the choice to either run the risk of continuing to do things the same, or to pump the brakes. Slow down a second. Give ourselves a little chance to regroup so we can set ourselves up for success.

Doing so won’t always be understood or popular. There’s this constant pressure to keep up with the ever-changing aspects of our world and other people, leaving us to feel like if we take even the slightest bit of a break, we will miss out or get passed by. Yet, what is God’s constant call to us in this whirl of busyness and speed? “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). He knew it was best for His disciples, and He knows it’s best for us. Rest is good. It’s necessary, and it’s holy.

Listen for God. Slow the pace a bit. “Be still, and know” (Psalm 46:10). And when you feel yourself starting to lose control in the fast conditions, maybe it would help to remember to pump the brakes. Regardless of what others may think or how it might temporarily inconvenience you or others, give your body, mind and soul what it needs. We weren’t made to keep up this pace forever.

— Katherine Singer

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