Not too long ago we experienced a power outage when a thunderstorm raged through our area. The electricity went out at 6 p.m. and didn’t go back on until the morning. My husband and I lit candles and talked. We read a little and went to bed early. There was nothing else to do. The next morning we felt refreshed and said to one another, “we should do this again, on purpose.” Of course we haven’t yet—we’re too busy.
Today we live in a world where productivity and efficiency are the benchmarks of a life well lived. We have computers, faxes, smart phones, satellites, and GPSes to help us do more—and do it better and faster. How many of us have measured our self-worth by how much we have gotten done that day? Yet, is this good for our souls and for our relationships with one another? We may get a lot done, but at what cost?
Studies have shown that people are not happier living busier lives. In fact, depression, loneliness, and alienation are at all-time highs. It is essential that we reevaluate what’s most important and be intentional about slowing down and savoring life.
Let me suggest a couple of ways to do this:
Refuse to hurry. Hurrying through your day indicates that you are trying to get more done than may be wise. Your body feels it, and others notice it too. You get impatient with the slow driver or irritated with the long line at the grocery store because they’re slowing you down. When I remember to be intentional about not hurrying through my day, I not only find I enjoy more of what I’m doing—I always get done what’s most important.
Savor the moment you’re in. So many of us are so rushed that we fail to notice the obvious. We don’t stop to enjoy the field of sunflowers in front of us, the crimson and purple sky at sunset, or the hummingbird fluttering at our feeder. We’re too busy to stop and talk with a neighbor or breathe deeply and savor the preciousness of life. Each day, God brings beauty into our lives. But when we’re focused on doing more instead of enjoying what we do, we will miss it, and our lives will be impoverished because of it.
Practice stillness and silence. Our lives are full of so much noise that we must be intentional about creating pockets of quiet. I’d encourage you to drive silently—no radio, CDs, or phones. Carve out 20–30 minutes of silence in your morning for meditation. God tells us that our strength comes from quietness and rest, not from activity (Isaiah 30:15). Try it; you’ll be surprised how much more refreshed you feel.
For Your Reflection:
Do you ever feel guilty when you slow down? Thinking that you’re “wasting time”?