I’m deliberately finding joy for forty days. To start from day one click here.
Earlier today I read this post by beautiful Ann Voskamp and in the last line she asked if we might like to write about how we slow down.
I nodded at the time, thinking this was a good idea.
Ten hours, two meals, a trip to the store, 30 minutes on the exercise bike, a round of mopping, three assignments, 50 or so e-mails, an hour-long phone call, three loads of laundry, a date with my husband, and a batch of homemade pumpkin muffins later I am finally here to write.
I laugh at myself as I read that list because compared to others, today was a quiet one.
My name is Holley and I’ve got a problem with “busy.”
You too? Pull up a chair…
A glance at my book shelf reveals how hard it is for me to slow down. I took a quick look at it and found five books on this topic.
One that has deeply impacted me is Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald.
I read it two summers ago on my back porch in the shade of an umbrella. I will never forget the paragraph below.
He had just been describing sinkholes in Florida that suddenly appear in places that seemed to be sturdy on the surface…
“If we think about it for very long, we may discover the existence of an inner space–our private world–about which we were formerly ignorant. I hope it will become apparent that, if neglected, this private world will not sustain the weight of events and stresses that press upon us.”
I was in the middle of grad school that summer, burned-out, weary, and wondering how much longer I could keep going. That book caught my attention and reminded me that although I might think I could sustain this pace forever, it would eventually undo me.
More recently I read the book, Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Us Home by Susan Pohlman.
Finding themselves on the brink of divorce and drained dry by “the good life” Unlike many other books where suffering is the way back to God, the Pohlmans find Him again in slowing down and enjoying each other.
In one place Susan writes…
“We found ourselves with large chunks of time with nothing attached to them. At first, it felt odd. Some days I would even feel guilty, like I wasn’t accomplishing anything. That I was wasting the day. But that phase passed quickly when I realized that I was actually accomplishing all sorts of important things. They just weren’t tangible.”
The other books on my shelf contain similar sentiments. In case you’re wondering, they are Soul Space: Where God Breaks In by Jerome Daley, Running on Empty by Fil Anderson, and Resting Place: A Personal Guide to Spiritual Retreats by Jane Rubietta). I’ve heard Ann Kroeker’s new book, Not So Fast: Slow Down Solutions for Busy Families is also excellent.
As I think about this, I realize I’m much Like a child who hasn’t learned to use the brakes on her bike all that well. I need someone else to come alongside me and help me ease my pace.
And yet when we do slow down, joy has a chance to catch up with us.
I’m thankful God has put others in my path who do know how to go slower–like Ann Voskamp, Gordon MacDonald, Susan Pohlman—as well as friends and family who love me enough to warn me when I’m approaching the speed limit of my soul.
And, of course, the ultimate voice is the One whispering within us, “Be still and know I am God.”
He loves us in all of our hurry and yet never stops wooing our hearts back to where we belong.
And He knows even if we’re not completely there yet we’re making progress…slowly.
Do any of you find it hard to slow down at times or is it just me?