My grandfather was always up to something. He always had a plan, a hobby, a project to work on. Even when he got old, he didn’t sit still for too long. When health finally forced him to stop, that’s when he went on to be with the Lord. I remember my grandfather as a guy who never stopped moving forward, looking for the next thing to build, the next place to go, the next person to help . . . He didn’t just talk, he did. With this as his attitude in life, the advice he gave me one day appeared to be a little out of character.
Emotionally, I was going through a rough patch in life. From the outside perspective, it looked like things were going well for me. Life was working out just fine. I had a house, a family, a job . . . but I was not content. I couldn’t figure out what I should be doing next. Should I be working harder? Should I be doing more? Or should I just be happy with things the way they were? That’s when my grandfather told me “Sometimes, you just coast.”
“Sometimes, you just coast.” It sounded like good advice at the time and I’ve never forgotten it, but recently, I have wondered if it is really true. After all, the Bible says we should run life as a race. Run to win. That doesn’t sound like coasting to me. On the other hand, there are also stories in the Bible where God told his people to relax. To stop striving. He would fight the battle for them.
I think my issue was that I was confusing coasting with drifting. Now, maybe my grandfather wasn’t purposefully so choosy with his word, but even so, I’m glad he said “… sometimes you just coast …” and not “… sometimes you just drift …” Drifting is aimless. You just go wherever the currents of life take you. Coasting is still purposeful. When you coast, you still aim toward the goal. You still move in the right direction, but you stop striving so hard to get there. You stop pumping the peddles of the bicycle like crazy, relax a bit, lift up your head, and enjoy the breeze as you coast toward your goal.
In life, there are always hills to climb, times when you have to peddle hard just to make progress. Times when you feel like giving up, like you will never make it to the finish line. That’s when you build strength and character by keeping your head down and pushing the peddle with perseverance. But if that were all there was to the journey of life, most of us would give up before reaching the destination.
I’m glad there are times when we can coast. Times of resting and refreshing and being content. The important thing is to know when to coast, to recognize and enjoy it when you can, and to always keep steering in the right direction. I guess that’s what my grandfather was trying to tell me years ago. Sometimes in life, “you just coast.”