I have about two weeks until my back surgery. Tomorrow I'm throwing a baby shower, next weekend is my son's second birthday party, and I have all kinds of appointments and such I have to get in before I'm laid up.
I hate feeling rushed. I'm a pro at wasting time—a first-class lollygagger, really—but when it's not my choice, I feel awful. I feel stressed and anxious. I feel hurried and overwhelmed.
And, surprisingly, that's the perfect time to pray.
There's a great book by Bill Hybels called Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be With God. It totally makes sense. When we're rushed and hurried and worried, that's the best time to pray. It's just when we need God the most, but it seems that's when we make the least time for him.
If this blog has taught me anything, it's that I don't have a lot of foresight. I can't look down the road very far, and I don't know there's a speed bump coming 'til I'm jostled. I feel like I'm taken by surprise quite a bit.
Or I'm the other extreme. I look down the road and see all sorts of horrors that are mostly improbable, and I spend a great deal of time worrying about them and they never come to pass. Maybe that's how the real future takes me by surprise: I'm thinking about imaginary futures instead of the real one that's sneaking up on me.
I heard a story on NPR the other day about cognitive development in children. They talked for a moment about mirror writing—when children who are learning to write make some of their letters and numbers backward. A teacher had great success with these students. For example, if a student wrote the number "6" backward, she'd instruct them to make a change during their homework time. Each time they were going to write the number six, they had to put down their pencil and pick up a red pencil. No, there's nothing special about the color red. The child just had to take the time to put down their pencil and think about what they were going to write next instead of rushing. The mirror-writing was fixed in a matter of days.
When life gets hectic, put down your pencil. Take time to be with God. You'll make fewer mistakes, and maybe things won't feel so rushed after all.
And if there's anything else I've learned from this blog, it's that I really need to take my own advice.