God’s creativity is sometimes the blueprint for our inventions. Think about it … Long before human beings imagined modern technologies, tortoises and turtles had streamlined bodies, hard tops, retractable landing gear and mobile homes!
Think of the word “slow” and you’ll likely think “tortoise.” This sounds like Tortoise humor my granddaughters would love:
Question: “What do you get when you cross a tortoise with a porcupine?
Answer: “A SLOW POKE!”
I grew up in the era of Simon and Garfunkel, and one of my favorite songs was “The 59th Street Bridge Song” (better known as “Feelin’ Groovy”). You may remember the words:
“Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last.
“Just kicking down the cobble stones. Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.”
It was a song that always made me smile. When I heard it, I slowed down and “smelled the roses,” so to speak.
As a Type-A+ woman, slowing down is hard for me. It’s easy for me to forget the “Tortoise and Hare” fable – that rushing through life does not equate to effectively “winning” life’s race, and certainly not to meaningful living.
With maturity – and frankly, after a season of illness complicated by stress – I’ve learned to slow down. To intentionally halt swirling activities and say, “Enough!”
Some time ago, Jeff Goin challenged his readers to slow down, and I smiled as I read his challenges. They were exactly the points God has led me to embrace since 2007, when my life spiraled out of control.
I’m still discovering in this process of “slowing down,” but wanted to share six things I do know that help. (And I’d welcome your tips for pulling the plug too.)
1. Be Intentional. Slowing down doesn’t just happen (unless we’re sick, dying, or lazy). We need to make the choice to slow down – to choose with purpose.
2. Reflect and Meditate. Today may be all we have. Reflection and meditation will help us use our time wisely, understanding the will of the Lord (Ephesians 5:15-17). Slowing down doesn’t mean we veg in front of a television all day or cop out from our responsibilities. We seek God in prayer and the scriptures, and examine how we are living. Then, in all our planning for tomorrow, we don’t miss what God is doing this day.
3. Focus. Multitasking has become the norm in many of our lives (I am such a multitasker!), but sometimes we need to weigh the benefits of doing many things at once with the blessing of focusing on one thing at a time. We can ask God where our focus should be today … this hour … right now.
4. Stay Steady. Remember that tortoise. He faithfully plodded down the road and got to the goal. If God has blessed you with a quick and ready temperament, praise Him; but don’t discount times when it’s wise to slow down, stay steady, and see the Lord work on your behalf.
5. Learn to Rest and Wait. With all the input in modern society, the tendency is to feel we must move quickly to use what we’ve just read, heard or learned; to be a part of the forward-moving crowd or to not miss out on another great idea or “opportunity.” Sometimes, God just wants us to sit and stew on things for a while, to take time to let new information soak in. Then we can go forward in His strength (Proverbs 3:5-7a; Psalm 27:14). While it’s important to move ahead quickly to make some decisions, resting in God and waiting for marching orders is usually wise counsel. It’s not passive; it’s active trust.
6. Savor Your Life. Taking time “to smell the roses” is the common metaphor for slowing down with greater sensitivity toward life. We take time to enjoy God’s creation. We notice the people around us and take time to build relationships. We enjoy a meal, sitting down, rather than rushing through a meal or racing through yet another fast-food line. We examine our closets, shelves and possessions, and then we appreciate the good gifts our Father has already given us, rather than racing off to the mall to get “more.”
Are you movin’ too fast? I encourage you to relax and slow down.
You’ll likely add years to your life and accomplish more.
These are the principles that are changing my life, helping me to slow down. Can you share some other helpful tips?
Tortoise Photo: Image Courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net