Imagine your life as various points on the highway.  Fast Lane, Slow Lane, Shoulder, Ditch.

And at any given time, in any given area, you can be in one of those four.

Living in the Fast Lane means you’re getting where you’re going. You’re fulfilling your purpose.

In the Slow Lane you have a lot of movement, but you never quite seem to get there, wherever “there” is.

On the Shoulder, your “engine” is running, but you’re not moving ahead at all.

In the Ditch means you’ve crashed or are stuck, and without help you aren’t going anywhere.

Having punched my card in all four locations, I can tell you we’re all a mixed bag. You can be idling on the shoulder in one area, cruising in another, and crashed out in a third. So let’s break it down a little more.

If we were talking about your spiritual life, whatever you define as your relationship with God, where would you be? Fast Lane, Slow Lane, Shoulder, Ditch?

What about your dreams of the future and your ability to focus on them?

Your feelings of happiness and contentment?

Your ability to get what you truly want in life?

How about your physical health and energy?

Your belief in yourself?

Your relationships with your most immediate family members?

What about your relationships with intimate, close friends?

Your contribution to the more extended community, such as your church or larger community?

How about your financial well-being?

Your professional or business life?

Your ability to resist distractions or temptations?

Fast Lane, Slow Lane, Shoulder, Ditch?

Okay, So Now What?

All of this is based on the biblical Parable of the Sower, reimagined (reverently!) with a different metaphor.  The ditch represents what Jesus described as the wayside where the seed fell and the birds snatched it away. Hard. Resistant. Powerless.

The Shoulder represents the stony ground that yielded a shoot, but no roots. In autospeak, the engine is running, but you aren’t going anywhere. And sooner or later, if nothing else changes, you simply run out of gas.

The Slow Lane represents the thorny ground that gives as much nourishment to the weeds as is does to the seed. So it has a shoot and roots, but no fruit because it becomes choked out.  In highway language, you drive but never arrive.

The Fast Lane? That’s the ground that gives the right environment for the seed to flourish and reproduce. Fulfilled purpose. Arriving at your destination.

Once you identify where you are in a particular area, this suggests what the next steps should be.

If you’re in the Ditch, you have a problem of the will. In an effort to be your own boss or control your own life, just the opposite has occurred, and now you’re powerless to do anything about it without help.  And the first act of surrender is to ask for help.

If you’re on the Shoulder, you have a problem of the emotions. The same enthusiasm that makes you willing to “get on the highway” can’t sustain you when times get tough. You’re going to have to find something more powerful than mood to get moving again.

The Slow Lane is the trickiest of all, because it gives the illusion of progress. Slow Lane people are busy, sincere, and engaged. But they never seem to arrive at their destination? Why? Because they have a problem of the thoughts. Jesus referred to this as the “cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches.” Slow Lane people need clarity, focus, and a willingness to say no to the “good” in order to focus on the excellent.

In the Fast Lane, people are making progress, but they quickly learn they can experience more abundance. Leave a legacy for future generations. Increase their productivity.  Free themselves from energy drainers and snares. And experience the deep joy of knowing their Heavenly Father is pleased with their progress.

Wherever You Are…

Wherever you may find yourself today in whatever area, if you are ready to move to the Fast Lane of fulfilled purpose one thing is certain: You were never, ever expected to go there alone.

This is not – and never will be – a solo flight.  Everything God makes available to His family is done in the context of community, relationship, and iron sharpening iron. And if you’re thinking “Well, all I need is Jesus,” you may find that your biggest argument comes from Jesus Himself.

You can you connect with? Who can you partner with?

Who can help you find healing and get out of the Ditch?

Who can help you find power to move off the Shoulder?

Who can help you find clarity and vision to get out of the Slow Lane?

Who can challenge and inspire you to multiply your impact and effectiveness in the Fast Lane?

Don’t just accept where you are as the last word. Choose today to fulfill your purpose, increase your performance, and serve the Kingdom.  Now who’s gonna help you get there?


Andy Wood is a professional speaker, author, teacher, and executive coach. He helps people, especially leaders, move to the Fast Lane. For more information about how he can help you fulfill your purpose, increase your performance, or serve your people, email him at [email protected].


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