“Attention, all! See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth . . .‘Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God . . . above everything’”— Psalm 46:8-10 (MSG).
Traffic in the community where I live continues to grow. When one of the many trains traveling here daily passes through, traffic comes to a halt. Complaints abound because we experience two different railroad lines interrupting our daily lives.
However, I’ve let go of the need to complain about those interruptions. I leave early enough for appointments, and I always have a book in my car to read. Exploring the scenery and noticing the people around me also makes the train seem to pass by faster. If I see a homeless person, I pray. I also pray for the individuals in the car next to me, especially if they appear impatient.
In the autumn of my life, I’m trying to slow down and listen, watch, and enjoy more of life. I’ve learned more patience with others. However, I do have my days. Slowing down and exhibiting patience doesn’t come naturally to me. Without God’s help, I’d still be stuck in traffic and complaining.
Learning to Step Out of the Traffic
As I watch others speed through life, I recall the days my foot was heavy on the pedal. Although I’ve only received one speeding ticket in my life, I still struggle with my two speeds when it involves getting things accomplished.
My two speeds are “stop and go.” I struggle to just “be,” sometimes. The NIV version of Psalm 46:10 reads, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
While I have no trouble seeking my Heavenly Father in the morning hours, I know I still need to slow down more and acknowledge His presence during the day. But in the mornings, it’s automatic for me to fix a mug of hot tea and seek His presence. My sacred space to meet with Him overlooks a window where I can see my beautiful flower bed overflowing right now with marigolds and other flowers. I can also see my Chinese Pistache tree and note its growth.
Growing our Spiritual Roots
Since I moved last year to a new neighborhood, I’ve been planting lots of flowers and trees. I try not to be impatient when my trees don’t grow as fast as I would like. Slow-growing trees, however, can better establish their roots in the soil. That’s why we also stake a sapling until it’s able to withstand strong winds.
In “Making All Things New,” Henri Nouwen, priest and theologian, wrote, “Jesus tells us to set our hearts on the kingdom. Setting our hearts on something involves not only serious aspirations but also strong determination. A spiritual life requires human effort. The forces that keep pulling us back into a worry-filled life are far from easy to overcome.”
That’s why we need to establish our roots to withstand life’s storms. Unless we have deep spiritual roots, we’ll simply topple and fall when the first gale hits. However, with God as our anchor, we’ll remain standing during any storm.
After a 30-year teaching career, Carol Round found redirection as a Christian columnist, author and inspirational speaker. She is the author of nine books, all available at Amazon.com. See her website at www.carolaround.com for more information.