Slow it Down

fast_paced2Work deadlines. Business meetings. Dance lessons. Baseball (five games this week). Basketball. Cheer practice. Swimming lessons. Piano lessons. Cooking. Cleaning. Laundry. Dishes. Paying bills. Checking email, voice mail, snail mail, texts. Doctors appointments. Dentist appointments. Hair appointments. Working out. Cleaning up. Winding down. And the list goes on.

As a society, our lives are busy, busy, busy. Our calendars are jam-packed. And before we know it Monday melds into Friday, May morphs into August, and another year slips by. How can we just slow it all down?

In our video this week Ann had this to say:

Time is a relentless river. It rages on, a respecter of no one. And this, this is the only way to slow time: When I fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here. . . . I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment.

Stacey reminded us last night that “busy is not a 21st-century invention.” We looked at the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42, of how Martha was “worried and upset about many things” while her sister Mary chose “what is better”: to sit and listen at Jesus’ feet. Here’s an excerpt of what Stacey shared with us:

How often do we give any moment of our day the weight of our full attention? Part of me is Mary. I want to worship extravagantly. I want to sit at the feet of Jesus all day long and count my one thousand gifts. But part of me is Martha. There is just so much to do. How do we choose the better part and still get done what needs to be done?

It begins with a posture of thankfulness before the Lord Jesus and it continues into every part of our everyday, ordinary lives when we fully enter into the God-given moments of our lives with our full attention.

I recently went on vacation with my family and I carried along a bag of books that I’m pretty sure would have exceeded the weight limit for checked baggage, so I lugged that bag myself to the plane . . .  to the car . . . to the beach.

You see, I had big plans for my vacation. I was going to do some leisurely reading, some bible study reading, some preparation reading for this study and one coming up this fall, some leadership reading, some cookbook reading, and basically I was going to check off everything on my reading list. I was like Martha. I had plans, good plans. I wanted to learn, I wanted to grow, I wanted to come home from vacation with lots of things checked off my list. And it was all good. Reading isn’t a bad thing. Preparing a bible study isn’t a bad thing. It’s all good.

One morning on vacation I woke up before the rest of my family. I decided to walk down to the beach and watch the sun rise. I was the only one there. The moon was still out and the sun was almost peeking up. I can’t think of a better place than that for time with the Lord. I was praying and asking God lots of questions–questions about parenting, ministry, personal struggles. And I asked the Lord, “What should I do? Lord, what should I do about all these things?”

I wanted Him to answer it all right there. I wanted to come home from vacation with a clear plan for everything in my life. Was that asking too much?

And His answer was: Be still. Be still. What you’re doing right now in this moment is enough. Being still is enough.

So all those books I lugged with me, most of them sat unread and I schlepped them all back home. I’m so glad I took my eyes off the pages of my books and let go of my plans and preparations . . . my worries . . . and focused instead on just being still and knowing Jesus through the beautiful place he had placed me.

In Martha’s eagerness to serve Jesus, she almost missed the opportunity to know Jesus. I almost missed that opportunity too.

What would happen if we let go of our to-do lists . . . our worries . . . our rushing . . . and simply entered into a time of sitting with the Lord with the weight of our full attention? What might happen? We are told over and over in scripture that God hears us, that He is with us, that He is always working on our behalf. We have God’s full attention. Does He have ours?

Good questions. So, as you work through your homework this week, here’s what I’d like you to focus on:

What is one way you can slow down in the coming week? What step or steps will you take to make room for quiet, reflection, grace and thankfulness? Share with us in the comments if you’d like.

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