Since we’ve recently been through the family milestone of gaining a newly-licensed driver in the family, we’ve had a lot of discussions about driving etiquette and road safety. It’s forced us to renew our attention to the little things that we’ve pushed way back into our adolescent memories because most of us drive on autopilot most of the time.
My husband and I have had to polish up our own driving skills a bit, increasingly aware that each micro-decision and every movement is being observed closely…even if your permit-carrying passenger exudes nonchalance as he scrolls through his phone or seems intent on changing the music after every 12-seconds of a song.
This brings me to the rolling stop. You know…the lazy “approach and pause” at a stop sign? It’s a pretty common phenomenon – almost as if it has its own subculture, especially in familiar territory. We have a stop sign right outside our house, so we’ve had 18 months of close observation of stop sign behavior. We’ve mutually agreed that neighborhood stop signs seem more like a suggestion than a firm law of the road. They might as well be black-and-white, fading into the background of everything else passing by.
[Exception: school bus drivers are emphatic about their stops, complete with all the squeaks and hisses schoolbuses emit universally. We hereby excuse them from this discussion.]
According to a highly researched google dive into this issue, I found this definition of a rolling stop:
“a term used in traffic law to refer to when a vehicle fails to come to a complete stop. A complete stop is when there is no forward momentum and the needle on the speedometer is at 0. In a rolling stop, the car wheels are still in motion and the car is moving at less than 5 m.ph. Failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign is a traffic violation governed by state laws. The longer the stop, the more discernible it is to the naked eye, giving a motorist a better chance of avoiding a ticket.” – definitions.uslegal
What does this have to do with Rest or Chasing Quiet?
Having been more intentional about inserting rest into the rhythms of my daily life and trying to be mindful about finding Quiet amidst the daily hustle, I’ve caught myself doing a “rolling rest.” This occurs when I think I’m resting, but my body is still in motion (I’ve gotten up to do one more thing, or maybe 2) and my brain’s speedometer is nowhere close to 0 (emails to return, grocery lists, packing for the weekend trip, send a thank-you note, wrap present for son’s friend’s birthday, schedule dentist appointment, make dinner again, etc.)
I have to really work at coming to a “complete rest.” I have to get out of autopilot and be mindful of my surroundings. I have to put the brakes on my forward momentum. I have to be intentional about monitoring my brain’s speedometer, letting go of all those things that pop into my head and pull back into the moment of rest.
I have to wait for everything to settle.
Day 19 of #31daysofquiet
It’s in these moments of waiting for our bodies, minds, and spirits to truly rest that we can experience the Lord working in us. We have to be patient. We have to persevere, taking heart in finding His quiet message for us today in all the Loudness of the world.
When everything feels like it’s going off the rails, sometimes all we can do is appreciate a three-way stop. We are relieved there’s one less direction of busy traffic to monitor,
In this journey of seeking Quiet, I’m at least more aware of my tendency to roll into REST. Sometimes I feel stronger and practice coming to a full and complete rest. Waiting still makes me feel a little twitchy. I’m beginning to the fruits of this labor, though, in small ways. I may not ever get to that consistent schoolbus driver level of stopping completely each and every time I attempt to rest. But I’m paying more attention to the signs in my life that say “stop.”
As the holidays loom closer, what signs might you see that indicate it’s time to be intentional about rest rather than slipping into a busy autopilot mode and rolling through some restful opportunities?