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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Tuesday, February 16

Be still and know that I am God.
—Psalm 46:10

In her book Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith, Barbara Brown Taylor tells about a friend who got badly lost while driving to Taylor’s house in the north Georgia countryside. It was in the days before cell phones, and the woman had nothing but an out-of-date map to go by. She was an hour late already, and was speeding through a small town, when she saw flashing lights in her rearview mirror. Dismayed, she pulled over and stopped.

"I am so sorry," she said, handing her license to the officer. "I know I was speeding, but I’ve been lost for the last forty minutes and I cannot find Tower Terrace anywhere on this map."

"Well, I’m sorry about that too, ma’am," he said, writing up her citation, "but what made you think that hurrying would help you find your way?"

We are all going too fast: we talk on cell phones while driving, we eat on the run, we buy books on "one-minute prayers" so we can pray quickly and get it over, and then we wonder why we lose our direction on the pathway to God.

Taylor admits,

For years I had kept hoping that intimacy with God would blossom as soon as I got everything done, got everyone settled, got my environment just right and my calendar cleared.

I think most of us could say that, as well. Spirituality—intimacy with God—becomes an achievement, a goal. We forget that spirituality is not a destination; it is a journey.

"What made any of us think that the place we are trying to reach is far, far ahead of us somewhere and that the only way to get there is to run until we drop?" Taylor asks. Perhaps our culture made us think that; maybe our families did it. 

Whatever caused our addiction to running and speeding, we need to give it up. We need to stop; we need to be still, and we need to remember that, in the words of that wise officer, hurrying will not help us find our way.

Help us today, O Lord, to put the brakes on our racing lives so that we may be still and know that you are God. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2007.