Slow Down

We had a very good and productive, yet busy summer.  We were able to squeeze in the “Matthew and Sarah only vacation”, but as the summer was coming to a close, we realized, that we had not yet, in the midst of all the travel and many different happenings, we had not taken our kids on a “Dad, Mom, Kids, only outing.”  While the kids were having a great summer with their cousins, they really got the short end of the deal when it came to “time with Dad”.  So, about a month ago, we packed up, drove to San Antonio, for a three day weekend of just me, Sarah, and the kids, one hotel room, one water park.

At one point, I was walking with Elie up one of the sidewalks, and she kept stopping, looking, touching at this or that, just taking it all in.  Some of the things she was interested in were confusing, some interesting, some simply (in her opinion) just deserved to be looked at in wonder.  But, being the more mature adult, for the first two days, I would tighten up my grip on her hand, give a tug, and pull her away from whatever she was taking the time to think on or enjoy.  In other words, she was loving the journey, and I was ignoring it for the sake of the destination.  Then at the end of the second day, as I was pulling her away from her post, I felt a small voice just say to me, “maybe you could stand to learn a lesson from her, slow down, and enjoy everything that is on the journey, because one day, it will no longer be there to enjoy the way you could enjoy it here and now.” – ouch!

But this isn’t the first time God had been telling me this, he uses a mentor of mine, Curt, to remind me of this all the time.  Then with my grandfather dying, and Sarah having a grandfather who’s life is coming to an end, I’ve really been faced with the question of “what really matters?” a lot. Currently we are preaching through Ecclesiastes, tell me that won’t get you.  I went to a leadership summit, and I’m thinking principally the key note speaker could have been speaking directly at me in his message. Then the water park experience.  So, for me, I’m not sure what it means to slow down, or maybe I’m not even sure how to, but I am working on it.  If this is you, there are a few things we need to remember:

  • Create a rhythm that is founded on God and revolves around family, community, and service (put non-negotiables first, and everything else takes a back seat or supports the non-negotiables). Then make everything else come secondary, if we try to do it all, the rhythm is off, and and our life is no longer a beautiful song, but just a loud noise, use everything else as notes that simply highlight the rhythm, to know more click HERE.
  • Figure out how to sabbath well – remember, the sabbath was created for man, and it was created for us for a reason…click HERE for a good starting resource
  • Live deeply right where you are.  the american way is to get to the next phase in life in order to get to the next phase – seems very pointless, when we look at it this way.  I honestly believe, most of our ineffectiveness is not a result of our lack of planning for tomorrow, but it is when we ignore today for the ‘better’ tomorrow, that never shows up.  Our families, our wives, our kids, our friends, our churches, don’t need the tomorrow version of us, they need the now-version.
  • Realize the reality of mission is not something you engage outside of your everyday life.  Mission is not something that you do better outside of family, community, or the average work day, rather these are the things/elements that God has given you for your mission and as your mission, so be fully present in them.
  • Contemplate – the majority of us, have not carved out time to simply think, mediate, dwell, contemplate… we are go, go, go from sun-up to sun-down.  Take time at a minimum, once a week, to get away from the noise of life, and journal, pray, listen, think about what God may be saying to you about your life…
  • Slow down, the world won’t fall apart because you don’t show up all the time  – Haiti will always be there, so will the church, as will your favorite hobbies, or the things you find very important – but this time in your kids lives, you will never get back; you and your spouse will never get to live this time over; one day your kids won’t need you to rock them to sleep, or lay by them when they are lonely or just want to watch a movie…so slow down!
Here’s what I have realized about me, I have some discontentment in my life, some of it, as Alan Hirsch would call, Holy Discontentment, is good, very good.  But the other elements I am discontented about, if I were to dig deep enough, are things of vanity, selfish ambition, and those are the things I need to rid myself of, by slowing down, so I can starve it out.  The truth is, much of what we chase, we chase because we are afraid, if we don’t achieve, arrive, accomplish, we won’t ‘be’ all we want to be, in other words we chase much of what we chase out of fear.  Sure, we like to dress it up and think, “if I don’t then it/he/she/they won’t…” but the truth is, for many of us, the motivation is, “if I don’t, then I won’t be, become, be noticed, find value, etc…”
Please hear me, this is NOT a call for laziness, this is a call for just the opposite, to slow down, and live deeply right where you are!

4 thoughts on “Slow Down

  1. I like it , I like it a lot…slowing down comes more easily the older I get…could be I’m learning something as well. Richard Exley wrote a book about 20 yrs ago called The Rhythm of Life, was a good start for me back then.

  2. That’s a great word. Today I was regretting all the things I didn’t have time for, but one person can only do so much, and sometimes by doing more, we actually do less.

  3. Pingback: …learning to let go… « Emmaus Life

  4. Pingback: Faves of 2011 « Emmaus Life

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