Gearing Down

I drive an automatic vehicle, and I find that I don’t usually think about the gears I pass through to accelerate, or decelerate as I am driving.  The vehicle does it for me automatically, and I am mostly responsible to just add gas or brakes as needed, but that all changed when we moved to a home on a hill.

It is almost the same stigma of wearing white shoes and white pants here in Homer, you are singled out as a tourist–especially if you have a camera around your neck, but being the person who rides their brakes all the way down East or West Hill also puts you in that category of “novice” or “newbie.”   That was me for the first week or so, pressing my brakes the entire descent from East Hill as I tried to keep my car  between 20mph and 30 on the tight corners, and maintaining a controllable speed on the steep grade.  By the time I got to the bottom, my brakes, I am sure were hot, smoking and wearing out quickly.

I was reminded that my automatic vehicle also has gear options like 2nd, and 3rd gears and that it might be in my best interest to use them instead of my brakes for my descents.  Soon my changing gears became “automatic” to me, and I would travel to the bottom of the hill in 2nd gear instead of riding my brakes all the way down.  I find myself shifting in my automatic vehicle just as much as if I were driving a standard shifting car.

I’ve learned that life is no different.  When the curves are tight, and the descents fast and slippery, my best options are to gear down.  When I am learning a new skill, new routine, tackling a new task, I have to break it up into smaller pieces, call on more help, and lay down other things until I have my feet under me.  Needless to say, this is a life-long process.  This is how things are accomplished…at least in my life.

I find that if I shut life out and only do the things that come automatically to me, it is similar to applying the brakes to life, and I burn out creatively.  I need to take some hills.  I need to master some hair-pins.  I need to figure out how to get from point “A” to point “B” without burning up or burning out.

It’s the same principle used by cyclists, runners, swimmers, and others who must practice the art of endurance–set a pace and keep it.  Gear down if you must, but keep going, and when you get to the end of your project or lesson, or if you have an unexpected break in routine, celebrate!!!  Take stock in what you have learned in the process, thank God for His grace that got you through, and take a good long nap!!

Grace to you who are needing to gear down.


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