The Simple Blessing of Slowing Down
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
A slower life sounds delightful! Maybe that’s why farmhouse living is such a popular idea. We idealize a lifestyle led by simple faith and slower daily routines.
But I’ll be honest, my farmhouse needs good Wi-Fi. I like the idea of a slower lifestyle, but not when it comes to my computer speed. Even a 3-second delay has me worried I might need an upgrade! (And I’m still waiting for my smartphone to make me smarter.)
The truth is, some of us would be miserable if things slowed down. We’d much rather things hurry up.
The problem is, my soul wasn’t created for hurry. And as a result, hurry is the enemy of what matters most in life.
For so many years it seemed someone pressed fast-forward on my life. And I say “someone” because I felt like a victim. It was always someone else’s fault we were rushing around in the morning or racing out the door in a frenzy.
It took years for me to realize hurry wasn’t a mandate. There were other options, especially those that made me a nicer person. Hurry didn’t bring out my best. In fact, I can be pretty self-centered when I rush. And the work I think I’m crushing is really crushing me.
The “why” behind living an overcrowded life isn’t easy to discover — and mine certainly wasn’t. The reasons I jam-packed my schedule were complicated. Clearly having the right planner or time management program wasn’t the answer. Because underneath it all, I was searching for significance and believed doing more was the answer.
The more you do, the faster you have to work to get it all done. And the hurry cycle begins.
Here’s the problem: Hurry never gets me what I really want.
- I want deeper relationships with God and others; hurry makes them shallow.
- I want to think more deeply about the Lord and the world around me; hurry makes it impossible.
- I want to do better work; hurry steals any excellence I hope to have.
- I want to serve others well; hurry causes me to brush over their needs.
Hurry steals the best from me, and so I must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from my life.
We were designed to go at a slower pace, to ponder, to process thoughts one at a time, to focus on the face in front of us with tender care. And when we try to go at computer-speed, we miss out on what’s important in life.
The Apostle Paul penned a list of the characteristics a Christian should exhibit when the Spirit of God lives in them. And not one of them is possible when I’m in a hurry: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control …” (Galatians 5:22).
Hurry robs us of the beauty God has placed in front of us and the grace others so desperately need.
Sometimes dealing with hurry is as simple as deciding to slow down. Walk more slowly … talk more slowly. Sometimes it means editing our schedules and removing half (if not more) of our optional responsibilities.
We can uncover the root of our hurry, but it takes time. To start, the next time you feel hurry start to sneak in and push the gas pedal, pause and breathe deeply. Refuse to be rushed. Declare that hurry has no place in the good work you’re doing or the beautiful life God’s placed before you.
Lord, thank You for Your patience with me. You are never in a rush when I come to You. Help me turn to You more often and invite Your Spirit to have His way in me, bringing a calmness I desperately need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ecclesiastes 7:8, “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” (ESV)
If you’re worn out from being too busy and long for God’s gift of rest, you’ll enjoy Glynnis Whitwer’s newest book, Doing Busy Better: Enjoying God's Gift of Work and Rest, with a free companion study guide. In it, Glynnis explores what gets us too busy and how to find the soul-rest God really wants for us.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
List your main optional responsibilities. These could be volunteer positions or anything that’s not your main priority. Which things can you eliminate from your schedule to give you more breathing room?
Does hurry have a hold on you at certain times of the day? Think through what you could do the day before to prepare for that time.
Join the conversation! How does hurry affect your world? Let us know in the comments section.
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