Watch the Pace at Which You Live
DO YOU frequently feel that others are pushing you, that they expect more from you than they should? Or do you expect too much from yourself?
One way to determine this is to note whether you always seem to be behind in getting things done. Or if you are always in a hurry. Do you fret if you have to wait—wait for a seat at a restaurant, wait for an elevator, wait for a bus, or wait for another member of the family? This constant feeling of urgency, of having to hurry, is not good.
The fact is, living at too fast a pace can harm you physically. According to a California cardiologist who has had more than forty years of experience in treating heart cases, this is the main cause of heart disease. Other primary causes, he says, are smoking, a diet too high in meat, milk and eggs, and lack of exercise.
Realizing the value of exercise, some have tried to squeeze it into their busy schedules. They rush home or to a gymnasium, hurriedly change their clothes and, in trying to get the most exercise in a limited time, overexert themselves, thus doing their hearts more harm than good. It can be more beneficial to include healthful exercise in one’s daily routine, perhaps climbing a few flights of stairs during the day. Or instead of driving to work or taking a bus all the way, some have made it a habit to walk part way, or to ride a bicycle.
That one may be living at too fast a pace may be indicated in a variety of ways. For example, does the heavy traffic that slows you down cause you to fidget, clutch at the wheel, honk the horn, or in some other way reveal the pressure you feel?
On occasion there may be something positive you can do—swing onto an alternate route, or perhaps stop and make a phone call to let those waiting for you know that you have been caught in traffic. But if there is nothing you can do, will your agitation improve the situation? How much better to relax and let your mind and body quiet down!
Do you find that you are frequently impatient when listening to what others have to say? Do you interrupt with such expressions as “Come to the point!” Neither you nor the speaker is benefited by such displays of urgency. But what can you do if you really have little time to spare?
Perhaps you can tell the person, “I am very sorry but I am busy now. May we discuss the matter at another time?” If the person is someone very close to you, your son or daughter perhaps, you might say, “I really want to discuss this with you, but right now I am unable to give it the attention it deserves. May we discuss the matter when I have the time?” The person will probably feel grateful for your desire to be helpful. And you will feel more relaxed discussing the matter when you can give it greater attention.
Even if living at too fast a pace does not give you heart trouble, it can harm you in other ways. It can result in frustration, robbing you of the joy of living and of doing things for others. A mother, for example, may feel frustrated because her pace so wears her out that she has little pleasure from the association with her family and friends and little strength left for any recreation.
If you are in business, do you find that the pressure of work causes you to take little interest in other workers, or even in your own family? Perhaps you are inclined to answer others harshly. But, really, is it wise to live at a pace that results in such actions?
Even more serious is the effect that your pace of life can have upon your relationship with God. What would you think if your children were so busy that they did not show the least interest in you or what you had done for them? Should we show less appreciation for the Grand Creator, who gave us life and breath and all good things? When was the last time that you thanked Him in prayer, or sat down and read from his Word the Bible?
If you are a victim of the fast pace of modern living, try to analyze the cause. Could it be, as one doctor put it, that you are struggling too incessantly to accomplish too many things in too short a space of time? “Yes,” you may say, “but what can I do about it?”
One thing that you can do is to establish priorities, perhaps making a list of things needing attention. Then make sure that you do the most important things first. As a result, if some things are neglected, they will not matter so much. If you are a wife, you would do well to talk this list over with your husband.
A feeling of rivalry or competition is frequently responsible for some persons driving themselves too hard. It is easy to become infected with this spirit that is so prominent in the world. The solution is to recognize the wisdom in this Scriptural advice and follow it: Do “nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, but with lowliness of mind considering that the others are superior to you.”—Phil. 2:3.
With many persons the driving force behind their going at too fast a pace is their quest for material things, not necessities, but extras. But the question might well be asked, ‘Of what value are these things if they are gained only at the loss of one’s health or one’s opportunity to enjoy one’s family?’ Wisdom would indicate heeding the divine counsel: “Let your manner of life be free of the love of money, while you are content with the present things.” To those who heed this counsel, God promises: “I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.”—Heb. 13:5.
So take stock. If the pace at which you live is too fast, learn to slow down. Take a pace that does not rob you of your health, that does not frustrate you and cause you to neglect showing love to your fellowman. Above all, set yourself a pace that leaves you time to worship your Creator, Jehovah God.