Strength to slow down

Do you long for a slower pace?  Do you feel as though you are frantically rushing through life?  Does your to do list blur before your eyes in a flurry of must accomplish tasks?  Do you yearn for that ability to savor and enjoy the splendor of the gift of time?

Do you think that slowing down is for the weak?  Perhaps there is too much to do, you couldn’t possibly imagine how it would all get done if you slowed down.  Do you see mountainous stacks of dishes, laundry, paperwork work and the like looming over you at the mere prospect of a 30 minute break?

I can only ask you these questions because I am so familiar with the answers.

Yes.  Yes.  Yes!

I can throw quotes, philosophies and ideas at you about efficiency, effectiveness and progress improvements all day long and still have the strength to do it again every day for a week.  I’m a bookworm and have the nature of a world class studier.  I’ve read, I’ve researched and I’ve practiced what I’ve learned.  I’m always looking for ways to improve so I can do more with less.

I have to admit something, sometimes I’m not doing more with less.  I’m just doing more, and more, and more.  It’s like that proverbial snowball that starts at the top of the hill as a couple of tiny flakes rolling, but by the time it reaches the bottom of the hill it’s destroying villages better than Godzilla.  I hate having to say that my speed has caused damage to myself and those around me, but it has.  Guilty as charged.

It’s an amazing concept to me how much strength and time it takes to stop something or someone who is moving.  It makes me think of driving my mini van and how long it takes to bring it to a full stop.  I was curious to see if I could figure out how long it would take me to stop a vehicle.

I did a google search and found a plethora of mathematical formulas.  If I shared the formulas with you that  would certainly stop your reading in an instant.  So I will spare you from that.  I will share an estimate I found was moving at 30mph it would take about 23 meters or the length of 6 cars to stop a vehicle.

I found something very interesting in the reading.  When you are calculating the distance it takes to stop a vehicle, part of the calculation is a perception reaction distance or “thinking distance”.  Kudos to the mathematicians for adding in the time it takes for us to realize that we need to stop.

Time to think.  Thinking…thinking is hard.  Thinking requires time.  Thinking requires focused effort.

Isn’t it easier to let someone else do the thinking?  Don’t you just want to get to the doing part?

Slowing down seems to be getting more and more complicated.  I have to think about it to make it happen.  I’ve got to apply force, pressure and strength to get myself to slow down.  No wonder why I’ve struggled with this.

Once upon a time I thought that it would show weakness to slowdown.  That seems like a really immature thought to have.  I wonder how many miles on my journey were accumulated in “thinking distance” before I started to apply the breaks in my life.

It takes a strong and dedicated person to slow down.  It’s like applying those breaks in our vehicles.  We’ve got to put pressure on our lives and limit the sheer amount of movement that we are doing to slow down.

I’ll be honest.  I am guilty of trying to do six things at once.  Cook dinner, send a text, email, wash dishes, carry on a conversation with a family member and add to tomorrow’s mental to do list.  Yes, you can count, that’s six things.  I can tell you with a 100% guarantee none were done to the best of my ability.

I’m a repeat offender when it comes to speeding through life.  Ironically, if you drive behind my minivan you’d probably never guess that.  I’m kind of a slow driver on the road.  But, put me in my house and you will see me rush around as if I’m doing triage in an emergency room during a national disaster.

In Philippians 4:13 it says, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”  How is a speed junkie like me able to slow down in life?  Through Christ’s help.  I’m telling you, that I fight it each step of the way.  Sometimes I just don’t know what’s good for me.

I am captivated by what it says in Isaiah 30:15, “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”

In repentance, in rest, in quietness and in trust we shall find salvation and strength.  That sounds exactly like what I desire.  Then there’s the dreaded BUT, “you would have none of it”.  Oh, it pains my heart when I honestly reflect upon the times that I would have none of it.  No repentance.  No rest.  No quietness.  No trust.

As much as it hurts to look at these poor choices I have made and continue to make, I know it is for my own good.  I know I need to take where I am at now and hold it up to God for direction.  He knows exactly what I have done and what I will do.  “You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you” Psalm 69:5.

I know that God will build up my strength and my maturity so that I may be able to come against the pressure to move fast and succeed in slowing down.  I find great reassurance in the words of Jesus when He said, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:26-27

The Holy Spirit is with us.  Don’t panic.  God knows that we have a lot on our minds.  He knows that we have many lessons we have yet to master.  He understand what it takes to be able to slow down.  God will provide it when we need it most.  He is faithful.  Do not let our hearts be troubled or afraid.

Jesus blessed us with His peace.  He gave it to us.  He knew we would need it.

Dearest and Beloved Lord,

Thank You so very much for giving us hearts that long to do much for you and for others.  Lord, You tell us to be still and know that you are God; be still and let the LORD fight for you.  Lord, thank You for the strength that You provide to help us slow down. 

Sometimes it seems that it is so hard to be still.  Please help us know when those critical times are that we must be still.  Help us to fight the urge to rush off to another task or the distraction of another need that is demanding attention.   May we just come to You to be with You and to experience all of the love that You have for us. 

In Jesus’ name, amen.

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