Jennifer Slattery Christian Blog and Commentary

Heeding the Warning Signs to Stay in Step With the Spirit

  • Jennifer Slattery

    Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who co-hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast and, along with a team of 6, the Your Daily Bible Verse podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Biblestudies, and…

  • Published Nov 27, 2017

I’m adept at making excuses. If only the sidewalk hadn’t been so uneven. If only my phone’s notifications hadn’t been so distracting. If only the sun hadn’t been so bright, or the clouds cast so many shadows. And yet, countless other women jog over that same terrain day after day, and I don’t see any of them sprawled, face to the pavement. Like ever.

In running—and life—I’ve tripped over cracks, landing smack on my face, way too many times.

Enough times that I should know better, have a firm-footing game plan in place by now. Or at the very least, been alert to the pre-pavement-eating signs. It begins with fatigue, which I stubbornly push past, more often than not, out of pride. In my determination to go just a little farther, just a little faster, I conveniently ignore it when my feet start to drag until, splat, I make a mess of myself and my pride—that same pride that got me in that mess to begin with. 

I can be just as careless in my personal life. My schedule gets busy, my pride awakened, and I’m tempted to cram a few more things into my agenda, push myself just a little harder for a little longer when everything within me is screaming for a break, and in the middle of my stressed, over-committed day, someone says something offensive, or things don’t go my way, and splat! My filter comes off and hurtful words go flying.

And I’m tempted to think, “If only she hadn’t been so rude,” or, “If only I wasn’t so tired,” as if this burst of ungodliness came out of nowhere.

When in reality, it’d been simmering all day, maybe all week, and I’d had plenty of opportunities to check myself. To pause when I felt my stress level rising, to pull away, go for a walk, spend time with Jesus, and immerse myself in His word.

So why don’t I?

Most often, my pride deceives me into thinking I’ve got this Christianity thing covered. I go to church on Sunday, read my Bible in the morning, listen to Christian songs fighting my way through Omaha traffic …

In the moment, when the pressure is high and my schedule jam-packed, it feels as if I don’t have a moment to spare. As if pushing the pause button, even but for a minute, would irretrievably derail my day. When in reality, by not hitting pause, I risk derailing much more than my day. I risk damaging relationships that could take years to rebuild. Inflicting wounds and creating insecurities in others. And honestly, developing a foundation of guilt and regret for myself.

So much damage leading to so much time wasted, all of which could have been avoided, had I simply hit pause.

Galatians 5:25 says, “If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit” (WEB). This implies doing life with God, step by step, and learning to recognize and heed His voice. To remain pliable to Him, easily swayed by the slightest whisper. And obeying.

Can you relate? When have you ignored warning signs, like mountain stress or tension headaches, pushed yourself past your filter, said or done something hurtful, and wished you’d hit pause instead? What are some ways you check yourself when those first warning signs go off? What are some things you’ve learned to do, pre-splat, to create margin in your day and your patience? Share your stories and ideas with us in the comments below because we can all learn from and encourage one another.

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