Addicted to Speed

Most of my life has been spent battling various addictions. Whether it is the daily morning urge for caffeine or the unfulfilling need to know what everyone else around me is doing, I’ve learned that I don’t have to use hard drugs to be an addict. We live our lives as addicts. Addictions to approval or affirmation will consume some; while addictions to websites and people will control others. We fall helpless to being addicted to control, power, or perfection. In college, I’ve noticed that a lot of us are struggling with the same addiction, myself included. To be honest, I think this addiction and obsession started long before my 18 year-old-self walked onto a college campus, but nonetheless it is rampant across millennials everywhere.

We are addicted to speed. I am addicted to speed.

No, not the drug known as speed, but the addiction to moving fast, going fast, and only pausing when my tank is on E.

I go from meeting to event to class to lunch date to class to meeting . . . and the cycle doesn’t stop. Somewhere along the way, I started believing this was normal. That to be successful or to be involved this wasn’t seen as going above and beyond, it was merely the bare minimum. It is what we are supposed to do – it is expected.

I started living in a world where the idea of a 40 hour work-week seemed part-time and that anything over five hours of sleep was a luxury. As college students, we sometimes live in a world where a good night’s rest is a quick nap on top of your bed. I was terrified that if I crawled under the covers, I may be too comfortable and not wake up when my alarm went off in three hours.

This lifestyle is glorified. I assumed that the less sleep someone got, the harder they were working. It is standard that when you ask someone how they’re doing, they reply “Busy, but good!” or “Exhausted, but I’m always tired.”

Every minute counts. The standard “accepted” speeding rate is going 5 mph over, so I’ll try 6 or 7 to get to where I’m going in time. And speeding on a highway? For sure in double digits. Every day I roll out of bed and gear up for battle. Yes, a battle against the world and Satan and others’ perceptions, but also a battle against the clock.

The clock: the one thing that I cannot persuade to slow down or give me grace. It will tick at the same pace, every day, day-in and day-out. I can beg it to stop during the moments where I want to soak in everything around me, and I can plead with it to speed up on the days where pain is real and tears stream, but at the end of the day, time respects no one.

Time respects no one and time controls us, if we let it.

We don’t stop and smell the roses, anymore. Heck, we don’t even know what color the roses are because we’re walking too fast. We want time to study more, pour into others more, rest more, pray more, and think more. However, all we ultimately want is time to do our one life well. Time to embrace and feel and live and leave this (looming) idea of a legacy.

I’ve written before on how Jesus has slowed me down when I get too caught up in the happenings around me, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I heard him ask me:

Erica, what have you ever gained from being in a hurry?

Boom. Jesus didn’t just slow me down, He stopped me. What have I ever gained from being in a hurry? What do I have to show for all the conversations I cut short because “I have to go!”

Truthfully, I’ve never gained anything by being in a hurry. Sure, I’ve made it more places on time which the world tells us is very good, but have I actually gained anything? Nope, nothing, nada, zilch, zero. When we follow Jesus – to live is Christ and to die is gain. What on earth could I possibly gain by just going quicker through my daily events? By cramming more things than necessary in my 24-hour timeslot?

Every day the clock reminds me how I’m not enough. How there aren’t enough hours in the day to be the student, friend, and daughter I want to be. Minutes pass and I feel like they’re mocking me, reminding me of my insufficiency to memorize all the material I need to for my upcoming exam, reminding me that I may not have time to run and take care of my health. I am not enough for time – it will always keep moving regardless of where I am or how I’m doing.

Jesus embraces His not enough. Jesus rejoices in His not enough. Jesus says, Erica, I know the world doesn’t think you’re enough, but I want you just as you are.

Life is not an emergency. This life is not about this life. We are prepping for eternity, where Jesus’s timeline looks drastically different than our own. Don’t treat your life like an emergency. Don’t waste as much time as I have, bouncing from event to meeting, thinking that is pleasing to God. My planner and packed-schedule has never once impressed the Lord.

Please learn from a fellow speed addict and don’t treat your life – a sweet, precious gift – as an urgent crisis. We do not gain by rushing through our minutes and moments; we gain when we lie them all at the foot of the cross.