“Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, [Jesus] said to [his disciples], ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” Mark 6:31-32
This is the third time I’ve written about slowing down. Seems like I can’t seem to kick the obnoxious habit of near-perpetual busyness. But I am. Slowly.
I like to walk in the evenings. My wife, Starwyn, reminds me often of all the health benefits: Less stress, less joint pain, better sleep, etc. I believe her, so I try to walk when I can.
One evening as I hurried down the road in full stride I had a very odd thought come into my mind.
“What if I walked slow, like really slow, instead of walking fast?”
The thought confused me. Walk slow? Why would someone walk slowly? This makes no sense! We’re supposed to get our heart rates up right? 130 beats per minute! We need to sweat to make it worthwhile the experts say tell us.
So, I tried it. I slowed down.
I started walking slowly and it nearly killed me. It was so unusual, I almost instantly sped back up. Walking slow seems to have no purpose, I thought. Then I slowed down again. Then, I really went into slow gear where you almost fall over between steps…I mean real slow. But that was weird. The whole thing was weird.
It seems nearly all of us are programmed from birth to walk fast, drive fast, shop fast, talk fast, act fast, do the deal fast, eat fast and just about anything else fast.
After walking slowly for some time now, I have found that I am significantly more present to the small things of life than I when I walk fast. I am more connected to the moment and to God. I see things I have never seen. I hear things and notice all sorts of new things. When my body slows down, my mind seems to slow down. I know that God must be leading me down this path as it’s simply not within me to do this on my own.
Now I try to remind myself to walk slow as I enter customer buildings, walk slowly into church, walk slowly upstairs, walk slowly into Starbuck or in Walmart. I somehow find more peace, even in the busyness of Walmart.
My quiet time is even busy. I used to move from prayer, to Bible reading, to devotionals to a book, to a Podcast…so much motion! Then, one day I decided to just sit still and “be” with the Lord and it has revolutionized my quiet time.
If I could give myself and others one gift in life besides increased faith in Jesus, I think it would be to take time to just be quiet and slow down.
Today I encourage you to slow down. Be still. Sit before God in silence. Enjoy just being present with Him and with yourself. I am convinced it will revolutionize your inner well-being.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35
“When Jesus heard [that John the Baptist had been beheaded], he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” Matthew 14:13
Just so you know, I don’t walk slow all the time. My heart rate does need to get elevated periodically….and I don’t always just “sit” still during my quiet times. But I do have enough quiet, slowness and stillness in my life that I now more able to be present with God and it soothes my weary soul.