Does anyone else feel like God is patiently teaching them the same lesson over and over and over again? I’m thankful He is so gracious with my stubborn little heart. For me lately, the theme has been slowing down, which I have written about before here.
I am rereading a book by Alan Fadling called “An Unhurried Life,” and it is dramatically shifting my whole mindset. I think that somewhere along the way (I’m guessing sometime between college and entering the workforce), my default mode became HURRY HURRY HURRY. I once read a quote that said, “Life is not an emergency,” and I literally had to think about it for awhile to let it sink in. It’s not??
In “An Unhurried Life,” Fadling talks about how Jesus was relaxed, yet fruitful. I think a big problem for me is that I equate being relaxed with being lazy, and that is just not true.
The book cites the classic Bible story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) as evidence that we are called to be willing to abandon our own agendas and slow down in the name of loving others. If you remember from the story, there was a man laying on the side of the road bleeding and in need of help. Two different people, a priest and a Levite, saw the man but passed him by without so much as a word. The third man, the Samaritan, not only stopped and “bandaged his wounds” but paid for him to stay the night at an inn and then came back the next day to check on him. Wow. After reading that, I had to ask myself some hard questions- would I have stopped and cared for the man in that way? Or am I too busy following my own schedule and trying to be “productive” and “efficient” that I pass by people in need?
One reason I love my job is because it gives me so many opportunities to directly care for others. As I’ve been reading this book, however, I’ve been realizing how often I do a poor job of that because my mind is so focused on being efficient- getting our tasks completed, achieving goals, finishing documentation, and wrapping up the day in a neat and tidy bow. I will be the first to admit that I have so much to learn when it comes to being present and loving others. I know it is possible to go through the day in a relaxed and unhurried way while still getting everything done that I need to, and I have been asking God to show me how to do that.
Fadling prompts us to ask ourselves, “Is the pace of my life Christlike?” He goes on to say, “What if I learned to work from a place of unhurried abiding? Isn’t that what Jesus did? We find no evidence that Jesus was ever in a rush. In fact, there is more evidence that at times Jesus frustrated His followers because of His lack of hurry. Jesus lived an unhurried and fruitful life. This fact can sound like an oxymoron to us.”
I want to live an unhurried yet fruitful life; to create margin so that I have time to slow down and meet the needs of others. Listening, loving, and caring for others cannot be rushed, as much as I often try to make it that way. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13- love is patient. Am I patient? These are the things I’ve been thinking about and asking myself these days. I don’t want to get to the end of my life, or even to the end of the day, and feel like I just sprinted through the finish line of a marathon but didn’t notice any of my surroundings or talk to any of the people that were running alongside me. I want to reach the end of each day knowing that I walked in step with Jesus, that I loved others in His name, and that I completed the good works He prepared in advance for me to do. I am becoming increasingly convinced that those things can only happen as I seek to eliminate anxious striving and instead live an unhurried life.