Slowing Down and Finding Rest
I have realized lately that I tend to be in a hurry a lot. I’ve got another email to send, call to make, appointment that I’m already late for, trying to hurry my kids to get out the door or brush their teeth or get to bed... The list goes on. When I’m in a hurry, I can honestly say that I’m not my best self. In fact, my worst moments probably occur when I’m running behind and trying to get my family out the door. I’m inpatient, short tempered, far more likely to raise my voice—so not exactly the definition of love.
When I look at the life of Jesus, he was constantly unhurried. It probably helps that during those times, the main mode of transportation was to walk from place to place. But some of his greatest moments came when something else was going on and he was actually interrupted. The children came to Jesus in Mark 10 and his disciples tried to shoo them away yet Jesus demanded they continue to come to him. He even used them as a picture of what the Kingdom is like! You can bet that many of us would have been just like the disciples, focused on the next important task at hand.
Another great picture is in Mark 5 and the story of Jesus going to heal Jairus’ daughter when his journey was disrupted. He was going to do something important, something great to save a little 12 year old girl who was deathly ill. When a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years touched his robe and he stopped and asked who had touched him. I would guess that most of the people there, especially Jairus, were probably thinking, “Come on, Jesus, we have to move a little faster and don’t have time to worry about who touched your robe in this crowded street.” Two people were healed that day as everyone seemed intent on just the little girl.
The fact that he wasn’t in a hurry, stopped, and was able to see people on the fringes is quite profound to me. It’s easy to miss people, especially those who may not seem important or helping us get to whatever goal we are trying to rush to achieve. I know when I’m in a hurry, I probably miss many opportunities to be patient, kind, loving and most importantly, see & impact people as Jesus would.
I also think there is something restful to our soul when we are not so rushed or hurried. As I think about the wisest and most mature followers of Christ, they seem to operate out of much more peaceful, unhurried, and content pace of life. In the age in which we live, distractions are abundant and attention spans continue to shorten. It also doesn’t help that we hold all information on the planet on a device that fits neatly in the palm of our hand or front pocket. I don’t believe there has ever been a time that is trickier to slow down and find rest. Maybe that’s why slowing down and finding rest go together, and why God even made the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. I believe this is an opportunity to slow down, disconnect from the world, focus on being grateful & content, and connect to our Good Father.
When we slow down and rest in his presence, we are reminded of who we truly are and our perspective shifts away from this hurried world, away from the next task we need to accomplish, and reminds us that He is enough and we have enough in him. After all, when we are in a hurry, it isn’t believing there is enough time and comes from the scarcity or empire mindset. Just like the Israelites coming out of Egypt, God reminds us that our identity doesn’t come from what we DO, and to rest in that fact. But a hurried world often takes us back into the scarcity or “empire” mindset where we are rushed, focused on the next thing to do, and usually worn down and weary. Luckily, Jesus gently reminds us by how he lived that slowing down and finding rest is for OUR benefit and leads to our actual purpose.