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The Discipline of Slowing

By Chad Mattingly in Church Life on May 30, 2018

Sometimes God speaks to me through my kids. The other day as my family rushed out the door going the “next” thing my daughter commented, “Daddy stop! Why are we always in a hurry when we never go anywhere really important.” Intuitively, she picked up on the fact that hurry, the sheer pace of life got in the way of what was really important. Life is to precious to miss, and the faster we go the more likely we are to miss what really matters.

Perhaps you have experienced this as well. We can get so busy doing “urgent” things and so preoccupied with what comes next that we do not experience the now. It is almost as though in our fear of being late, we rush from the past to the future and miss the gift of the present.  We do not get to our futures faster if we hurry and certainly do not become better people in our haste. More likely than not, the faster we go the less we become. As followers of Jesus, that is a shame.

Slowing is the way we counter our culture’s mandate to tend to the bottom line, to move it or lose it, to constantly be on the go. In Mark 6:31, Jesus observes a frantic crowd coming and going without taking time to rest and eat, so he says, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” The invitation always before us, yet slowing does not happen automatically, but with great intentionality. It is a way to honor our limits and the fact that God is found in the present moment.

As some of you know, my family will be on vacation for the next two weeks spending time with family in Missouri and Florida. Admittedly, our family tends to pack so many things into our vacations that we need a few days to recover upon our return home. My intention is to make this vacation different, to incorporate a slower rhythm to our days, to enjoy longer coffee times in the mornings, to concede longer naps in the afternoons, to linger at dinner table conversations and to stroll longer in the woods or on the beach.

So, how will you choose to slow your pace this week? How about driving in the slower lane, speaking more slowly, eating more slowly or pausing to look people in the eyes. Let us covenant to slow down my friends that we may find God in each other and each moment.

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