becoming more aware of the limit

Photo Credit: Susan NYC via Flickr Creative Commons A cop pulled up behind me while I was driving yesterday.

 

I didn’t realize it at first, until I noticed the large grill and protruding side mirror. I looked at my speedometer. And then, became hyper aware that I didn’t actually know what the speed limit was on this road I drive every single day.

 

Soon, I discovered the speed limit was 25 miles an hour. Which felt like a painfully slow crawl for this last stretch of road before I arrived to work. A stretch I drive while running late, most days. Driving the speed limit was painful. I was certain a walker would pass me at any moment.

 

Which made me wonder… How fast do I usually drive on that road?

 

I mean, if the speed limit felt so absolutely dreadfully frustratingly sluggish, how far over that do I usually drive? The road is residential, but it has that wide lane, smooth blacktop, divided, and finished feel that invites my foot to press just a little harder on that gas peddle.

 

I know that I speed, but I am not that bad. Or am I? This scenario made me realize I haven’t been paying very close attention to how far I was pushing the limits.

 

Which made me wonder about something else… Is there anywhere else in my life where I have lost sight of how far I am going over the line?

 

One place that comes to mind is the place that always comes to mind with this question for me: my consumption of social media. I drive the road of blogging and Facebook and Twitter and Instagram every day. Fortunately or unfortunately, there is no external force that will police me. I have to keep my own boundaries. I have to ask myself, do I set limits the way I should?

 

Do I filter the content I read through history and academia and other more mainstream standards? Do I put down my phone enough when I’m with my kids? Do I separate my sense of worth from my amount of shares and likes and comments? Do I keep my footing on the solid Rock when the next big wave of whatever is rushing through the blogging world?

 

Sadly, the answer to all these questions is no.

 

And this post will become just one more thing to make me guilty about that. Will it change my behavior? I doubt it, to be honest. Not unless I find that thing that puts a check in my spirit like the cop car in the rearview mirror.

 

Figuring out how to draw these kinds of boundaries makes me frustrated about the free agency God has given us. I want to know what is right and what is wrong. How much is too much. I desperately want the Bible to have verses about how to use the Internet.

 

But it doesn’t. God leaves those kinds of decisions to us. Which in the end, we probably actually appreciate more. Even if it feels like it’s worse sometimes.

 

Perhaps, then, the best next step is to do the spiritual practice of examen more often. To consciously and deliberately and quietly think back on each day when I reach the end of it. To remember the times Jesus was with me. To feel how God was guiding me. To recognize the times I pressed that gas pedal a little too hard.

 

Then, the next day, I can start with that view in my rear view mirror. And hopefully, set the boundary a little tighter.

 

What do you think? Do you have areas in your life in which you have lost sight of the speed limit?

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