I’ve recently become a commuter and I’m quickly discovering the part of commuting that is most frustrating to me. I’m sure each of us have parts of our daily drive that tend to frustrate – and perhaps my point of tension is different than yours.
I really get frustrated by on-ramps and off-ramps. These mini-little sections of my commute are a point of tension because it is where everyone changes their speed and no one really knows how fast or slow to go.
It’s the ramp. Highway speed is too fast. Local road speed is too slow. When you expect to go at one speed and the person ahead of or behind you goes a completely different speed it can be frustrating, annoying or even dangerous.
While watching your driving speed is important, there is an area of life where paying attention to speed is essential. Each of us must watch our “people speed.”
People speed is the pace at which we engage with those around us in any given moment. While everyone tends to move at their own pace, I would suggest there are 2 basic speeds all of us have when comes to our interactions with others.
Speed 1 – the Speed of Relationship
Moving at the relational speed is like being on a local road. You enjoy the journey. To move at the speed of relationships is to engage in an unhurried pace with a non-anxious spirit. When moving at the speed of relationships we tend to listen well, ask questions and focus on knowing and being known. It is a slower pace, but it is rewarding for us and our community.
Speed 2 – the Speed of Production
Sometimes stuff needs to get done. Moving at the speed of production is like being on a highway. Most people don’t get on a highway to enjoy the scenery. Once you hit the interstate you push the speed limit in order to get from point A to B as quickly as possible. The speed of production is high paced and focused on a destination.
The reality of life is that we need both speeds. Contrary to the popular lyrics life is not a highway (though we spend time there, it would be unhealthy to live there). We need times where we slow to the speed of relationship and focus on engaging with others. While the speed of relationship is joyful, we cannot live every moment there. There are times we must speed up and move at the speed of production if we hope to have an impact in life.
On our local roads there are some people who constantly move fast and others who constantly go at a slower pace. Similarly each of us default towards a speed on the road of life. Do you know which speed you tend to gravitate towards?
For those of you who love to move fast (I am with you!), consider the moments this next week when you need to slow down and engage a little more. For those of you who could engage relationally all day long, consider what moments might be best to press the gas and focus on producing this next week.