6 Practical Ways to Live within Limits

What My First Speeding Ticket Taught Me About the Need to Live at a Slower Pace

I didn’t even know I was speeding.

When a baby in our church was admitted to the hospital in a near-by town with a dangerous condition known as RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), my wife and I went to visit and pray with the little guy and his parents. Eventually, they were transferred to the ICU at a special children’s hospital in Atlanta.

I was clueless about my need to slow down.

Simply put, I was clueless about my need to slow down.

Changing My Pace

In the wake of my speeding ticket, I have started using cruise control much more often. Even when I don’t use cruise, I am aware of speed limits and am okay driving within them, even when tailgated by someone who feels the need for speed (or really is in labor and headed to the delivery room).

“The issue for me is doing tasks with the kind of pace that allows for my heart to remain at peace.”

When driving, slowing down means slowing down. Being aware of my speed and living within posted limits.

Six Suggestions for Living within Limits

Here is what living within “posted limits” looks like for me:

  1. Build margin between tasks and resist the urge to fill that space with more tasks. Take a break. Go on a walk. Stretch. Pray the Lord’s Prayer, slowly. Enjoy nature. Draw a leaf.
  2. Check my pulse occasionally. Not of my physical heart, but my spiritual heart. Am I anxious? Am I at peace? Do I feel behind? What is the source of the stress? Why do I feel stressed? Am I trying to do too much and too quickly?
  3. Gauge how fast I walk. Slow down. I’m not in a race. Unless I am in a race. But I’m usually not. So, slow down.
  4. Watch how quickly I type. Strangely, I have found that the pace of my typing can be an indicator of my heart RPMs. Am I having to go back and make corrections because I’m typing too fast? Slow down.
  5. Notice how I speak. Is the pace of my words controlled or are my words outpacing my thoughts, causing me to stumble, stutter, or just talk too quickly? How quickly I talk is another barometer of the condition of my heart and whether I am living within emotional limits, or driving at a reasonable RPM.

The Root Issue

I think what most frustrated me about my speeding ticket is the fact that I could no longer say I had driven without a speeding ticket for 35 years. The truth is that I could have been pulled over and ticketed hundreds of times. Just because I had not received a speeding ticket does not mean that I haven’t been driving too fast.

The Gospel Empowers Us to Slow Down

Through faith in the finished work of Jesus for me on the cross, every gospel blessing is now mine, not the least of which is a new identity.

“The gospel invites me to slow down.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. This slowing down and living within limits is not a promotion of laziness. As image-bearers of God, human beings have been created to work, reflecting the creative nature of God. But this labor is to be pursued within limits (as finite image bearers) and never as an attempt to earn righteousness (that can only be received as a gift given by God in Jesus).

Written by

Helping Christians live all of life in view of the cross | Writer | Pastor | Hiker | Husband/Dad | restfortheweary.substack.com

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