In Praise of the Restrictor Plate

In Praise of the Restrictor Plate

True confession time: contrary to common belief, I am not a NASCAR driver. Chances are, neither are you. But, IF YOU WERE, and you planned to race at either Daytona International Speedway or Talladega, you would have to use a ‘restrictor plate,’ because both of those famous racetracks mandate their use in all cars. Here’s why. Technology has made it possible to move at tremendous speeds – dangerous speeds.

Back in 1987 at Talladega, Bill Elliot set a record for the fastest speed ever for a qualifying lap at a NASCAR event – an astonishing 212.809 mph. Ricky Hurst writes: “The cars ran so fast that they literally began to lift off the speedway, creating a major safety issue.” The speeds became so fast that the drivers weren’t really handling the cars. “In 2004, Rusty Wallace tested a car at Talladega … and reached a top speed of 228 mph in the backstretch, and had a one lap average of 221 mph.” Wallace described the experience in three words: “out of control.” He admitted that there is simply “no way that we could race at those speeds.”

What was NASCAR’s solution? Mandating a ‘restrictor plate’ which limits the power output of the engine, thus slowing the car’s overall speed. But even WITH the plate installed, the average speed of the cars is 187 mph! That’s still really fast!

Interestingly enough, I’ve talked to lots of brothers and sisters in my 30+ years as a Christian who’ve described their own lives in much the same way Rusty Wallace described taking a lap at 221 miles per hour: it’s “out of control.” Do you feel like that? That rather than driving, you’re being driven by a thousand urgent ‘must dos?’

The world will take everything we have to give and still demand more. It’ll promise us happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment, even as it saps us of every last ounce of energy we have. Ultimately, it lies. Far from satisfying us, it leaves us anxious and exhausted.

But Jesus isn’t like that. He cares about us and wants us to experience a joy that is only found in walking with Him. He beckons us to the quiet, to the stillness, to the calm in the eye of the hurricane. Rather than prodding us to work harder and move faster, our Good Shepherd says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

To consider:

  • Would you characterize your life – or certain parts of it – as “out of control”?
  • In what areas of your life might you need to install a ‘restrictor plate’?
  • Is it possible that coming to Jesus FIRST each day to find rest and refreshment in the weariness and burdens of life might give you the strength you need to face the new day with purpose, optimism and joy?
  • Rather than feeling “out of control,” let’s hand it over to the One who knows and loves us and provides a table for us, even in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5).
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  1. My out of control – in one word YES! In many aspects of my life – but I know God has a plan and a purpose and His timing is perfect. I am thinking of a song by Casting Crowns – face down having nothing else to cling to needing love that only you can give – face down where I know that I belong and I pray that this world sees in me someone humble and broken at your feet. Though I am not part of praise and worship now I am ALWAYS SINGING PRAISE AND WORSHIP – He knows my hearts desire- love you my Jesus

    • Kathryn Boisvert : October 25, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      In u I see a humble woman of God! You’re in a unique season & glorifying God in the process! Someday ur grandson Logan, will be a godly young man bc of u & Marc “pouring out” tirelessly & faithfully into his life! 😉

    • God Bless u and your family.

  2. This is a timely message for me because yes there have been areas of my life that have felt out of control. The restrictor plate of the Holy Spirit is what limits the flesh and allows me to walk in the Spirit. Sometimes I feel like I do not want any restrictions and I want to be able to do what I want to do when I want to do it. When my flesh feels like it can get away with certain restrictions it always tries. I am so thankful for my life in Christ which teaches me to “deny ungodliness” and to seek Him who gives me victory in the Spirit!

  3. I’m in an interesting position as a stay-at-home mom and homeschooler. It has the same end result…not feeling like I have time for anything…but for opposite reasons! I have to spend all day trying to get 7 little blessings to get moving!!! Hurry up! Just do it!!! I am personally the energy input for every chore or school assignment that happens. I usually make time for devotions first where I ask God for help with my attitude, with figuring out what are the important things to be doing, with…changing the kids! But I mostly feel stuck, pouring tons of energy into going nowhere.

    • It is truly amazing to witness your life from the sidelines Teri especially from the perspective that my season of child rearing has shifted to more of a position of mentoring. If I still had to coax my adult son to get moving and go to work, I’ve seriously neglected my parenting duties and possibly instilled a very bad habit that will impact every relationship he has ahead of him. The words of James Dobson are so true, “Parenting Isn’t For Cowards.” That is such an encouragement when those little darlings drain your energy to the point you begin to question your sanity or your salvation! The truth is Teri, you have wonderful children. Those of us who have taught them in Sunday school have no doubt that the word of God is taken seriously in your home. In fact I know adults who would probably loose a game of Bible trivia to just about any one of them. What I’m saying is that I don’t believe your energy is being wasted and not going anywhere, it is being invested. It’s being poured out in the most important place it can be during this season of your life and the life of your children. Psalm 127 comes to mind and basically states that when you have allowed the Lord to build your home and taught your children by your example of faith-life, they will be able to stand strong in the Lord as face of their own battles. That strength was nurtured long before they left home!

      • I totally agree with Pastor Steve on this one. Teri and Jeff inspire me on so many fronts. Your willingness to follow Jesus in the calling to care for the orphan just encourages me every time I see ANY of the Jaquith family. Your transparency in the difficulties gives me strength to persevere on my hardest days. And the joy your kids exhibit most of the time infects me with the same joy! So your time, while seeming to go fast but getting nowhere has led your children to an abundance that they might not ever have otherwise known!

      • Amen and amen

    • You don’t need a restrictor plate, you need a TURBO BOOSTER!(or a cattle prod 😉 )

  4. What great reflection points! Yes I agree, and have found over the last several months that reading my devotional first and sharing a summary of it with a few of my friends in our private FB group sets a great pace for the day. When I follow the devotional with prayer I become more aware of the many reasons I have to be thankful, and I find myself more mindful of the needs and concerns of my loved ones, which causes me to be more considerate throughout the day.

  5. I think we probably all have aspects of life where we need to slow down, but it’s not always easy. As our daily tasks take us from one thing to the next. From work to preparing lesson plans, to planning classes, to making meals, it goes on and on. As I sit here, reading this blog, eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and contemplating my next co-op class, I’m always trying to do many things at one time instead of taking time to do each task with thought and meaning. Life can be a constant racetrack: going around and around and getting absolutely nowhere. I also tend to get involved in many different Bible studies, which I love, but isn’t always in my best interest if my alone time with God suffers. I definitely need to focus more on prayer and sitting still and hearing the “whispers” of God.

    • Kim, I too can relate to the time it takes to be a great teacher.You are an inspiration. Because you care so much you give and give to your students and others hence you are tired. I have a saying in my class…I take care of you and you take care of me…
      Your constant faith and prayers will give you strength.. If you need help please ask…We often in life feel we can do it all but sometimes others would like to help…Prayers…

  6. I have had an interesting time as a new dad, I keep looking at my daughter and imagining what God sees when he looks at me. The other day I wanted Mandy to come to me and get ready so we could go home from Gramma and Grampas house. I so looked forward to seeing her, she brightens every day. I got there to pick her up and she wouldn’t come to me, she was in the middle of simultaneously watching tv, running away from one of her uncles who was chasing her around, stealing blocks from another uncle, trying to dodge a thousand kisses from everyone in the house and just being BUSY! I waited patiently but when it was time that we needed to leave she was completely exhausted and screamed the whole way home. She needed to eat and to rest. So I guess I feel like that, I spend the whole day running from all the things that want my attention like Mandy runs from her loving aunts and uncles, or I get distracted by a movie or entertainment, meanwhile my Father is waiting to hold me a spend time with me. A lot of times, by the time I get to Him I am so exhausted and tired and hungry that all He gets of me is a “crying little baby” instead of quality time that He is longing to spbe nd with me.

    • Love this analogy, Adam! I think any parent can relate to this. It is a visual for me that I think will help me to return the love my Father in Heaven is just waiting to shower on me! Thank you!

  7. Life can be fast paced when so many demands are on us at one time with family and life challenges… Seek the Lord… Pray..

  8. Whenever I turn on the tv, I need a restrictor plate. I find in so easy to slip into the vortex of escape and inevitably, I ALWAYS regret the minutes spent so frivolously. It takes time to adjust to the quietness, but it’s much easier to hear HIM in it.

    • Yes – my life often seems out of control. Between work, children, coaching, music ministry, trying to keep my wife sane (see her post above!), trying to build a real estate business in my “spare time”, I find it difficult to “be still”. But I do have a blessing in disguise. I have to drive to Boston at least 3x per week. If I don’t get moving on time, I end up with a 2 1/2 hour+ drive. (I guess Boston rush hour traffic IS my restrictor plate) I use that time for my Bible reading (I listen to the Daily Bread devotional and then the daily Bible reading.) With our new KLOVE station (95.5), I can then listen to inspirational and worship music almost all the way to work.

  9. Let’s face it…..Life is BUSY! It wouldn’t be “life” if it weren’t. But hey, we just have to face that reality head-on and do what we can to minimize the stress and those things that keep us from appreciating this gift of life we have been granted — busyness and all. Here’s the problem as I see it, or rather, as I experience it. Life’s busyness could be so much better, so much less draining and stress inducing, if we remembered to take God into that busyness with us — if we remembered to (chose to?) walk with Him into every chore and obligation, into the midst of the most mundane and monotonous duties of our lives. If we took the time to notice that He is there loving us, enabling us and wanting us to find the beauty in that moment, when life threatens to overwhelm us, we will discover an entirely new perspective.

    • Kathryn Boisvert : October 25, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      I agree, Lisa, He DOES invite us to find the beauty in even the mundane! I try to dialogue w/Him before I decide what I want to do; instead, give Him permission to interrupt my day. In this way, my calendar is “open” to Him, I want to live a well ordered life.

  10. Dave Medeiros : October 24, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    The longer I travel my pilgrimage road, the battle is to restrict those subtle urges which have a tendency to take over my thoughts away from the Lord. I then find myself driven to speed ahead to the next task. This battle is mainly at work where my goal is to finish as quickly as possible. The Lord is so gracious as time and again in the process of my job He has a situation where I have opportunity to minister and share how the Lord Jesus has worked in my life. Sometimes it is just sharing some tips of physical therapy I have learned along the way concerning a certain physical ailment we both have in common. I wonder how often I have missed the important because of that tyrant urgent. I have also learned that God will slow you down when you truly desire to be in the scope of His will.

  11. Haha! My kids rat each other out after church so I know they are not little angels!!! Thank you for the encouragement. Now if only I could have a giant diet Pepsi…

  12. I think of Scott’s comment from church on Sunday. (Thank you, Scott. I love your gift of breaking everything down and being so analytical!) In order for us to determine where we need a restrictor plate, we need to be examining our responsibilities, opportunities, what occupies our “free time”, etc. We need to be brutally honest – well, I need to be brutally honest. What is REALLY important? What can wait for a few minutes, a few hours, a few days…? Do I HAVE to check voicemail, email, facebook, etc., as soon as I walk through the door? Can we just sit and “be still” for a few minutes after work to reflect on what God had for me during the work day or what He may have for me while I make dinner? I need to be more aware of His presence and HIM being my restrictor plate EVERY moment, during EVERY task, and EVERY opportunity.

  13. My life is out of control and my restrict or plate is JESUS Without time in the word I would crash and burn

  14. Many of you watched me grow up and know that I was, quite literally, incapable of slowing down. When I got older I moved north to Maine and then south to Oklahoma and spent a whole bunch of time studying the natural world. Through the years I have woken up in the wilderness, the desert, and at campsites deep off dirt “roads” hundreds of times. When you wake up in the middle of nowhere, whether for a weekend in Maine or 6 months of living in a tent in the desert, you have no choice but to slow down. You can’t have coffee until you go for a walk, collect your sticks, build a fire, filter and prepare your water, boil it, strain the grounds. Most of these mornings, I was getting ready to start a day of field work – where I would identify blades of glass by how many “hairs” are attached to a seed head when you pull it from its casing or ant based on tiny notches in their faces and bumps and hairs on their bodies. It’s amazing what you will notice when you really take the time to look around. I’m still rather terrible at not being busy – the alarm clock in our apartment rudely wakes us at 3 every morning. But I think this is a great reminder to slow down and look around at the amazing world that surrounds us. I work more with bacteria right now, and (while admittedly less sensational than huge open prairies and forests and mountain ranges through the desert) those little guys are amazing.

  15. As I read each of your lists I am literally in tears seeing each of your perspectives and views from “your world” . My heart hurts and soars which each of your posts and touches my heart.

  16. Funny week: my car’s head gasket went followed two days by the washing machine, week ago fridge had an issue…so at first I admit to saying “Father, are you trying to challenge me to really be patient like that book I just read!??? and have to trust like our Haiti friends for every little thing some days!?’ (whine, whine)Fast forward 8 days, and I have had to borrow my kids cars, rearranging their work commitments some, too, but wow-even with 160.000+ miles a piece, we still possess 3 of them! My son willingly drove his bike to work a few times so I could take an extra overnight shift to pay for these bills..his one day off, he didn’t complain as I again took his wheels to get to work-instead he used the day to take care of several projects in our home…I am blessed to have a brother only a couple of miles away who MADE me camp out on his couch with a good movie, as my 4 loads of laundry got caught up with. I petted his dog, drank his tea, enjoyed lunch with him and my son and our parents who dropped by when they heard I was there with 45 year old hand made cards we had made for our dad as young children. (They are moving and cleaning and mom just thought we’d enjoy being given these sweet precious memories back now) I have always struggled to just sit still and relax,and even honestly acknowledged that to God a lot lately but Monday alone I did just that. This morning, still awaiting my car back a few more days, I got picked up by my cousin to enjoy a morning with him and my sister over eggs..a gift day….we seldom see each other even though we live a town apart. Last night , I got to borrow a car to go pick up a close friend for a meeting and we really got to laugh and talk while driving together. Oh, and despite all the broken down “things”, Abba through another Christian brother and sister, referred me to a car dealer service manager who HAD NEVER BEFORE SERVICED MY CAR OR MET ME-in fact, I used his competitor for past service work….but through this man’s humble attitude and desire to help the consumer-he advocated with his headquarter district manager and secured me the ability to fix the car for a quarter of the price!!! God be praised…..did I mention that last week, I, a bit reluctantly asked God to help me trust Him more? knowing like many of the pillars of faith who I love to read about in scripture that even after I asked Abba that, He knew my heart wasn’t really fully relinquishing hold of fear to Him..my default mode….yet when “stuff” that I at least here in America is so-“important to be able to function” is stripped away……the true riches of rest, time with family members and a dear friend, slowing down to just think normal and catch my breathe…..what deep JOY I really had this week……I learned being “stripped away” is where my best days, memories, and intentional trust time begins. Oh, and the day I was really “stuck” at home and a bit peeved I couldn’t go to the market for groceries as my day off…..that was the day my new boss was ABLE to reach me because I was at home, to offer me a new job!! Wow-does our Daddy delight to spend time with us, in His grace and mercy, I think He allows things to be orchestrated when we just plow ahead and He shows us patience with us enough to whisper…”come here, my child…..I have such sweet words, if you’ll hear…

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