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Escaping the Rat Race

man and woman running in metal gear

The term “rat race” began in the 1940’s with the invention of modern day conveniences.  More opportunities and choices were available to us than ever before and soon some felt like they were endlessly busy but often with meaningless things.

Wikepedia defines the rat race as a term used for an endless, self-defeating or pointless pursuit. It conjures up the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape while running around a maze or in a wheel. In an analogy to the modern city, many rats in a single maze expend a lot of effort running around, but ultimately achieve nothing meaningful either collectively or individually.

Those who first used this term would never be able to imagine the modern day conveniences we experience in 2014!  We have more time saving appliances and resources available to us than ever before, and yet it seems that our stress levels only continue to rise.

Is it God’s will for His people to be trapped in this rat race?

Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but at succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter at all. ~Francis Chan 

So often we fear failure. We fear that our children won’t make the ball team or get good enough grades.  We fear wrinkles, grey hairs or missing out on the latest and greatest new gadget for our kids. But do we ever fear being successful at things that – at the end of the day when we stand before God’s throne –  don’t really matter at all?

When we are on the go-go-go, we can’t see the person who is hurting  and needs a hug. We can’t perceive our husbands’ need for our tender affection.  We don’t have time to linger at the bedsides of our children to really listen.  We don’t write an encouraging note to a friend who is hurting.  We can’t enjoy the sunrise, a surprise game of hid-and-seek, or a spontaneous song of praise.  And we certainly cannot hear God’s voice clearly.

It is in our slow moments when we best connect with our Creator (from Women Living Well).

Today I had big plans – it was supposed to be a family day (daddy was off work), but my daughter got a belly ache right in the middle of the day which messed up all of our fun plans.  I was on a mission to make a great day for the kids, but all she really needed was a mama who loved her and cared about her belly feel better.

My plans faded, and I was the one disappointed – cause this mama gets sucked into the rat race sometimes!  What mattered to her was not the long list of plans I had but that her mom would sit quietly on her bed rubbing her hair while she cried.  This forced pause in our day, reminding me of what really matters in life.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. ~Proverbs 14:1

The rat race has the potential to tear a family apart.  Many families barely have time to eat dinner together these days, much less read God’s word or pray together.  Last night I sat in bed with the kids singing “Our God Is an Awesome God” and a few other favorites.  It’s in these slow moments — moments of song, back rubs, and story time — that I am most fulfilled as a mom.

sweet mamas enjoy the watermelon days (1) (2)

As we write our to-do lists, may we remember to include the simple things.  Let’s build our houses with wisdom.

Walk with the King,


For more encouragement check out Courtney’s book titled –>>Women Living Well: Finding Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home.

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  1. Courtney, as always, you have given me a helpful reminder this morning to what really matters for eternity! I can get so caught up in getting out the door or “planning fun” that I miss my children’s present needs. It’s happened, and it makes me feel dissapointed in myself as a mom. I’m asking a God to make me aware of how to nurture my children unselfishly, and spend my days as a whole fulfilling His great plan for my family! We do make it a priority to slow down at supper and always eat as a family and have family prayer before bed. The more meaningful traditions that are set, the happier we all are! Thankful for His grace this morning. Thanks Courtney!

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