Learning to Stop Quickly
One of the very first skills that I taught to kindergarteners and first graders when I taught physical education was the skill of stopping. I’m sure that a lot of people believe that the ability to stop doesn’t really need to be taught because anyone can stop. I would agree that nearly anyone can stop, but I would also be quick to point out that not everyone can stop quickly and maintain perfect balance. This is especially true when having to stop from a full out sprint.
Greatness and the Ability to Stop
Watch kids play and some will shuffle or take pitter patter steps into a stop, and they will often need a few recovery steps to get back on balance after stopping. Most people can stop after taking two, three, or four steps to slow down, but how many people can truly stop immediately in a position where they are ready to quickly move again in any direction? How many people can move sideways, backwards, or at any angle and stop quickly? Great athletes are generally known for being able to run and dodge, but it is easy to overlook the fact that great athletes are generally highly skilled at being able to stop under control with their bodies perfectly positioned to make the next move.
Stopping While Maintaining Inner Control
As a child, when my mom told me to stop watching TV and do my homework, I could stop watching TV, but it was hard to stop immediately. It was hard to stop and maintain a good attitude because I wanted to keep doing what I was doing. There are times when God wants us to stop doing something that is either sinful, or out of his will, or out of his timing. We may stop, but on the inside we are still staggering and straining to stop. God wants us to grow up and mature to the point where we can stop quickly when we need to while staying on balance with our emotions.
When Jesus called James and John to follow him, they put down their nets, stopped what they were doing, and immediately followed Jesus. They had an unusual ability to stop what they were doing in order to start doing what Jesus wanted them to do. What about me? What about you? We need to ask ourselves if there are times that we need to improve at stopping, and when we do stop, are our emotions and attitude under control, or do we find our emotions leaning in a direction that we know we should not be going? Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. God can help us improve at stopping while maintaining control of our thoughts and attitudes by the power of the Holy Spirit if we first take the time to stop daily, pray, and ask for God’s help, while looking to him to strengthen us. In doing so, God will enable us to stop quickly when we need to, while maintaining control of our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions.