Slowdown or Meltdown

By Maria Fontaine

I used to think I had to do a lot more than I try to do now. There were so many things that I was sure I absolutely had to do that I wound up carrying too heavy a load. I didn't think I could do any less—until God stepped in and made me slow down by allowing me to develop a painful, debilitating eye condition. When that happened, I found out I didn't have to do all of those things after all. I found out first of all that others could do some of the things I'd been doing, and I also found out that there were some things that didn't absolutely have to be done.

It's not likely that you would ever develop the same rare eye condition that I did, but if you overdo and allow yourself to get under too much pressure, you may very well get run down and sick or perhaps even have a nervous breakdown. Then you would be out of action completely, unable to do anything.

Wouldn't it be better to recognize your limits, slow it down, just do so much and no more, and leave the rest until later? Even though you wouldn't get as much done as you previously thought you needed to, you would still accomplish quite a bit, while staying healthy and happy. That's certainly better than trying to do too much and cracking up! Sooner or later, one way or the other, you'll have to slow down—either because you wisely choose to, or because you're forced to.

We tend to think we're stronger and more capable and more indispensable than we are. And if we carry on in that frame of mind, trying to do everything ourselves, we just might find out how dispensable we are. When we collapse physically, mentally, or emotionally and can't get anything done, we'll find out that the world can go on without us.

Sometimes God has to dispel our delusions of grandeur, our feelings of self-importance. He knows we have our limits, and He knows how frail we are. "He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14). He just wishes that we would wake up and realize that too.

The solution is to slow down and go at a slower daily pace. God forces me to do that through my physical weakness. He gives me enough strength every day to continue to do my work, but not enough to do any more than is necessary. But because the pace is slow and steady, I'm at least able to take care of the most important matters without too much strain. It was a matter of finding the right balance.

In today's fast-paced world it's very difficult to slow down due to the many demands on our time, but finding that balance is something we should be doing constantly, because moderation in all things is one of the keys to physical health and spiritual well-being.