Yesterday I was talking to a friend about the book The Anxiety Cure and suggested that she take the time to read the sections on the importance of rest and relaxation and why slowing down is so crucial in our lives today. This got me thinking about the many ways in which my own life has slowed down even though it remains, at times, impossibly hectic.
In high school and college I competed in short to middle distance running events and field events. I’ve always appreciated and been good at bursts of intensity over endurance. If you can win a race in a half mile, why run more? If you can jump the highest or longest on the first try, why jump more? Not surprisingly, I see this theme everywhere in my life.
I have been a runner for 20 years now. My running life now consists mostly of nursing an unpredictable right knee with a very tight IT band while trying to pound out as many miles as I can throughout the week, resting on Sundays. It doesn’t make sense now to drive to the track and sprint 800 meters. That’s not really a workout and doesn’t provide the health benefits of distance running that I need at this stage in life.
So God has been teaching me the value of slowing down, going longer, and getting stronger. My “races” (in running, with God, and in life) now are about endurance, appreciation of the scenery as it goes by, and a willingness to experience the pain associated with process (and man is there pain!). To be sure this is also an exercise in patience…another area where God knows I am severely deficient.
The value of slowing down is something we need to have a decent grasp on in order to counsel those who have not yet learned how. Our society scoffs at the idea of rest, and increasingly it is seen as weakness. I may not be as quick as I once was, but with patience and endurance, with perspective and with surety that only comes from a mature relationship with God I will still reach the finish line richer for the journey. Helping our clients to reach their goals and to find meaning in the journey is something to which we all should aspire as professional counselors.