Where did the lazy feel of the summer or winter go? October has a way of saying “Game On!”
Ever feel like your life is like a treadmill instead of a walk in the woods? Both involve putting one foot in front of the other, but that is about all they have in common.
Treadmill living is fueled with of all the important things to do:
—translate The Word and get it in people’s hands
—free people from slavery, prevent others from being enslaved, and tend those who have been enslaved
—educate your children and all that goes with keeping your home
—provide medical care to those who desperately need it
—care for those on the field
—plan and execute excellent lessons
The needs are never ending.
But that didn’t keep Jesus living at a crazy pace, nor wanting his followers to live at a crazy pace.
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest.'” (Mark 6:31)
When I think of October, I think of the pace picking up to a sprint to the end of the year. I do not think of slowing down.
But the practice of slowing is what October needs. It is what you need. It is what I need.
I have this idealized version of what slowing down looks like and it does not involve me craning my neck to see when the next bus or subway car will come. It doesn’t
Instead, my ideal picture of slowing down looks like a quiet morning with a cup of tea a space to think.
You may also secretly harbor that version, sadly (for us) that is not usually what God’s invitation to practice slowing down looks like. For me, I was gathering my thoughts and had begun typing this post. A friend showed up for lunch a little early so I put my computer away.
But the doctor did not come and did not come and did not come. Instead, what I was calling a “prison of waiting” in my mind—in fairness to my addiction to productivity, it was a small, windowless room with nothing for me to do—was actually a chance to practice slowing.
Oh the irony and sense of humor of a loving God.
God’s desire for us as we slow is to “curb our addiction to busyness and workaholism and for us to learn to savor the moment.”
I’m all for savoring the moments that I think are savor-worthy, but others, like a doctor’s office? Not so much. However, slowing allows us to “keep company with Jesus as we live at a saner pace.”
Every day this week, look for an opportunity to practice slowing. Maybe you’ll be at the longest meal on the planet, or find yourself in heavy traffic, or need to spend more time with a teammate than you had planned.
Calhoun has the following suggestions for this practice:
—speaking more slowly
—looking people in the eye
—chewing more slowly
—sitting longer at the table
—planning buffer between activities
—choosing the longer line (this seems like the dumbest idea to me, clearly I need to weave this practice into my life).
—walking or driving more slowly
Why? As someone who loves efficiency, this seems to be one big “embrace ineffiency” campaign to me.
Calhoun also shares the God-given fruit of this practice:
—freedom from an addiction to hurry or spiritual shortcuts
—patience, waiting with grace
—living the present moment to the full
—living the truth that love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible
—realizing the work of the Spirit isn’t an “instant” work
Today, in your very real life, God knows what you will face. He reminded me in the doctor’s office that invitations to slow down are all around.
I’d love to hear in the comments where you were invited to slow down and as you did, how God was there. Peace to you, on this Soul Tending Tuesday.
As October’s pace picks up, you might be tempted to believe you don’t have time to watch this month’s workshop with your team. Perhaps you practice slowing by watching Enneagram For Team Growth without doing anything else.