Have you ever been in the middle of cooking and you missed an important ingredient in the recipe? So, you go around frantically seeking out neighbors who might have it or if you might have it shoved away in a secret location, even you don’t know about.
How about planning to cook something, expecting it to only take 40 minutes, but you didn’t look at the recipe fully and you missed the fact that it takes 40 minutes to prepare and 4 hours to cook?
Yeah, both of these scenarios have happened to me. It is no fun. Especially when you tell your wife you have a plan for dinner and your kids are sitting staring at you with Oliver Twist eyes expecting you to feed them once they sit down.
I have a tendency to rush through details sometimes and, more often than not, I find myself in a tough predicament trying to scramble to fix the issues.
I think, for many of us, we tend to do this in our faith journey.
We scan through scripture, rush through prayer, hurry through our church experience, and miss out on some very important details that could ultimately influence our spiritual growth or understanding.
We all do it. I know pastors who do the same thing. They rush through the sermon prep, they fly past their congregants in order to get to their next function, they miss out on important details or issues that could influence their ministry. Yes, pastors are busy, but we should never be so busy that we miss issues in the lives of people we serve, because of our inability to focus on details or planning.
I am going to give three reasons we need to be willing to take our time and how we can practice it in our lives.
- When we don’t take our time, we lose our ability to reflect on what we experience. If we are so rushed that we pass right by each other or don’t listen to each other well, we lose the deep part of relationship building. Reflecting on what we experience allows us to share what we are feeling or what is occurring in our lives with each other. Taking the time to listen, discuss, and reflect builds stronger bonds and deeper relationships. Be intentional about slowing ourselves down for each other.
- Taking your time forces you to pay attention to detail. It is always fun when I discuss a piece of scripture with someone and they say something like, “Oh, man, I didn’t see that before!” Often times, it is because they really didn’t take time to sit and pay attention to the context. They either read scripture as a task to get done or skipped over parts because it seemed boring. However, there is a lot of information and wisdom to be gained in the mundane details. We need to pay attention to all of it in order to be sure we understand what we are reading or learning.
- We live in a fast world. If our internet connection takes longer than 3 seconds to load up a page, we get upset. If we have to sit in a drive-thru for longer than 5 minutes we get frustrated. We get irritated at the checkout lanes of a store if they are taking too long, when we could be meeting new people. Taking our time forces us to slow down. Slowing down essentially allows us to do the other two practices listen above. Quit being so rushed. Plan accordingly. Get a calendar. Schedule ourselves better, which might mean, releasing some things from our schedule. Slow down so we don’t miss out. Slow down so we can reflect. Slow down so we can pay attention to each other. Slow down so we can have enough time to spare, in order to take time for friendships, relationships, Jesus, and other important things in our lives.
Taking our time will benefit everyone around us. It will help us find rest. It will help us be intentional about cultivating healthy community. Most of all, it will allow us to connect better with our Creator.
God took His time in creation. He had a plan. He took His time to serve in His ministry. He was intentional about His journey. May we learn to live in that way.
May you find ways to slow down, pay attention, and reflect on your experiences and what you learn.
Peace and blessings friends.
QUESTION: How do you find ways to slow down?