During my college years, I was a frequent traveler between Austin and Houston. I loved Austin more than most people love their spouses, so while I got home to Houston relatively frequently, they were always quick trips. My thinking process was: stay in Austin until the very last possible second, drive as quickly as possible, pitstop in Houston, drive as quickly as possible back to my true heart, Austin, Texas.
The answer to your question is yes, I did get a lot of speeding tickets during those four years. However, I also developed a steel bladder, so… who’s the real winner here?
Highway 290 connects Houston and Austin in a relatively inefficient but very adorable way. You have to keep an eye out for cops (something I clearly struggled with) because they love to camp out near the small towns as the speed limit descends to a crawl. One day, as I was speeding my way through these towns, I realized I was not in a hurry. It was something of a shock, really. I am always in a hurry because God has wired me in His grand and all-knowing sovereignty to be chronically late. (Okay sure, sometimes I struggle to own my personal short-comings.) Anyway, with this realization, I eased off the gas pedal and rolled down the windows. I could actually smell the bluebonnets around me. I slowed to a crawl and even stopped in the small towns that used to annoy me with their eagle-eyed cops. I sat on the porch of an antique store, chatting with the owners for over an hour. I walked through wildflowers on the side of the road. I stopped for lunch at a precious cafe instead of whizzing through a fast food chain.
I was able to enjoy the people, appreciate the landscape, and experience the sites, smells, and tastes of the heart of Texas. When I think about road tripping through Texas, that first s l o w road trip is the one I remember first and fondly. It’s so incredibly cheesy to say that the journey is the destination. It’s really a quote that should be left in the deepest corners of Pinterest. But when you take the time to journey, even in the least spiritual, most practical way, you realize that cheesy cliche sentence is all sorts of true.
Jesus got that. When we’re reading the Bible and getting to the end of the gospels, we all know what’s coming. Jesus is journeying to Jerusalem. He has a job to do. He is going to sacrifice himself on the cross, take the punishment for all our sins, and then rise from the dead. He knows this.
If I was Jesus, I would want to rip the Band-aid off, per say. Stay in Galilee until the very last possible second, run to Jerusalem as quickly as possible, pitstop in Jerusalem to die, rise, etc. three, four days tops, and then ascend as quickly as possible back to safe, beautiful Heaven.
But Jesus didn’t do that. He is not like me, thank goodness. On Jesus’ way to Jerusalem, he stopped at his friends’ house. He rose Lazarus from the dead, no big deal. He took time to teach and share parables. In Jerusalem, he gave more wisdom through teaching, example, and conversation. He raised some righteous hell in a temple. He took time to have dinner with his inner circle. He made space for prayer. Even with looming responsibility over him he made space to be fully present with his followers, his friends, and his Father.
Jesus didn’t short-change the journey.
I don’t know what it will look like in your life, but I do know we all need to make space for pit-stops. Let’s not power-through the journey and end up idolizing a steel bladder when that’s all we’ve got left. Our lives need enough flexibility to be with a hurting friend, smell some wildflowers, truly experience some righteous anger, actual deep grief, and true overflowing joy.
Join me in slowing down, friends.
I can’t afford any more speeding tickets anyway.