The Art of Slowing Down (Galatians 5:22)

slowDown

Submitted by Andy McIlvain. 

Galatians 5:22

“Slow Down!”

My lovely wife has said this to me many times over the years whether driving a car or working on a project at home. I have always been a high achiever, type A, self-actualizing and fast. I have for as long as I can remember been a speedaholic. But fast does not always win the race.

We as a culture and in the developed world are stuck in fast forward. And slowing down is difficult for many. This pace is exhausting to everyone, especially our children who are often over programmed and overachieving.

Actress Carrie Fisher once said, “Even instant gratification takes too long.” As noted by columnist Michael Dirda, Baudelaire said we must release ourselves from “the horrible burden of time,” and “to break free of the ‘Matrix’-like illusion that we have no choice.”

Twenty or so years ago a movement started called the Slow Food Movement which now includes: slow e-mail, slow health care, slow food and slow cities. These movements or alternative ways of thinking and living, are filled with advice to help people connect and slow down. The spiritual aspect is offered through meditation and Eastern Religions like Buddhism. But, as Christians, we know this is not enough.

It was no mistake that our incarnated Lord chose to be born into the time he did. If anyone exemplified the slow lifestyle he did. But no one has called it that. Why? Because what we have today is a human solution to our brokenness. The slow movement is at its very core a self-help movement. Yet, we are incapable of self-help. Our pride always falsely convinces us we can help ourselves.

Slowing down means to live a life of connectedness, gratitude, community, compassion and empathy toward each other. We can do these things in the flesh, but they are never fully appreciated or understood unless we do them through the Holy Spirit and our Lord Christ Jesus.

As Christians, we should be pursuing transformation not information. God’s path is time-consuming, arduous, incremental, repetitive; a trial-error-correction process of learning.

Real growth takes time and if we look at creation God is not in a hurry. God is not slow, he is patient (2 Peter 3:9).  God is calling us to grow the spiritual fruit of patience and love (Galatians 5:22). And growth takes a long time. God is not in a hurry, so we don’t have to be either.

 

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