Can I be honest with you, internet reader? Maybe we’ve never met, and maybe we have. Either way, I have something I need to get off my chest.
I struggle with insecurity…often.
Whew, there I said it. That felt good. So much of social media feels like it’s about putting our best out there for the world to see. Sometimes it feels good to let everyone in on the other stuff.
By often, I mean that I struggle with insecurity basically every day.
I’m a big fan of social media, but even I have to admit that it can add to this feeling. You see everyone posting their filtered photos and travel status updates and it sometimes feels like you’re falling behind.
Falling behind — there’s that phrase. Life goes so fast, and we’re constantly stuck in the muck of our own lives. There are bills to pay and work responsibilities. We get home and there are family responsibilities. Any dreams we might have in the margins of all that seem to get blurred very quickly. Then, we hop on social media and see that our friend just booked a trip to Bali. We all know it’s not good to compare, yet who among us hasn’t done it? We think that if life just slowed down for us to get our hands around it, we’d be fine.
News flash — life is never going to slow down.
We’re never going to feel like we have a complete grasp on it all. We can’t bend life to our will and make it slow its pace. Life is fast now, it’s just the world we live in.
Yet there are still moments when we can find a slower pace within the hectic nature of our lives. These moments are fleeting and they must be sought after. But they are there. Right in front of us. It’s just a matter of finding them.
There’s Joy in the Journey
For years, I’ve been a fan of the Chicago Cubs. Though I’m only 25, I can tell you that I was sitting in the bleachers well before there were names like Bryant, Rizzo or Baez on the field at Wrigley. There weren’t even video boards in the outfield yet. And this was well before the 108-year World Series drought ended.
I remember being so confident in the 2008 team that I bet $20 with my best friend that the Cubs would win the World Series that year. Didn’t end up being my best decision. I also remember the team losing 101 games in 2012. And I was in the stands when they got swept by the Mets in the 2015 NLCS.
Sure, the Cubs struggles before 2016 are well-documented. My point is, I felt it. There was an emotional tie for me.
So when Game 7 of the 2016 World Series came around, I was invested. When the Cubs jumped out to a lead, I could see the light. Then it all dwindled with a Rajai Davis home run. Finally, a well-timed rain delay and a Ben Zobrist double reignited the flame. And this time, it didn’t go out.
I remember thinking after the Cubs won that game about how sweet the victory felt. A lot of that sweetness came from the fact that I had experienced the struggle that came from years of watching other teams win. The victory wouldn’t have been as sweet if I hadn’t experienced the struggle. It was the full experience of the journey — from lows to highs — that brought the greatest amount of joy.
If life decided to magically slow down for us, that’d be great for a while — sure. But there’d be no struggle. There’d be no journey. The fact of the matter is life won’t magically slow down, and so we’re faced with finding joy in the midst of that journey.
Find the “Slow” Moments
I went for a walk the other day on a sunny afternoon. My work day had been frought with complications, my wife and I were in the midst of some major financial decisions and my mind was racing. But then I looked up and felt the sun on my face. I looked to my right and saw a small bird splashing in a puddle. A little farther down the path, I saw a turtle sunning itself by a roadside pond.
I experienced a “slow” moment.
It’s not as if everything suddenly moved in slow motion or the speed of everything in my life changed. No. I still had cares and worries and details to consider. My life didn’t slow down for me. In that moment, I was the one who chose to take notice of the moments around me that moved at a slower pace. The moments that called for me to set aside my worries and shift my focus. Just for a brief respite. But what a needed respite it was!
This isn’t a post about the values of going on walks, though I’ve often found them to be helpful. It’s not a post about meditation or solitude, though both have their place. You’re the one who must find the tactics that help you slow down in the midst of life’s crazy pace. For me personally, I find that prayer and reflection help me to slow down and reset. I need that momentary reminder that my faith is not in myself, but in God. That helps me each and every day.
The point is that you’re the one who must find that rhythm. Life is never going to slow down for you.
You wanna know the good news? You’re up to the task. You can do it! How do I know? Because you’re worth it, and you matter. You’re life is worth the effort and the struggle it takes to step outside your own insecurities and the fast pace of life. Your life is worth the journey. And when you dive in and begin to find those small moments in each day that call out for a slower pace, you’ll see a new backdrop. All the cares and worries will still be there, but they’ll be less and less of a focus.
And that insecurity? Don’t let it sap that focus away from you. I’m talking to myself here as much as anyone. I know my tendency to analyze and compare adds to this feeling that everyone else is figuring out this fast-paced life while I’m stuck way behind. It’s a lie, and it’s one I fight against daily.
So let me encourage you — you’re on the right path. Keep going. But don’t expect everything around you to slow down all of a sudden. Life is life, and it isn’t slowing down for anybody. But there are still moments around us each day that call for us to step outside the movement and the clutter and pause for a brief respite. The respite is part of the journey just as much as the striving is. Without the striving and the struggle, the respite wouldn’t be as sweet. But without the respite, the struggle would be unbearable. Don’t let yourself get there. Find some “slow” moments today.
I’m still on that journey, and I’m growing every day. I hope you’ll join me.