The Value in Slowing Down

I have been dwelling on the idea of “hustle” for a while now. In our culture, especially at the University of Georgia, hustle is a word that brings people pride. ‘If you want to be successful, you have to hustle.’ In the past year or two, I have started to deeply wonder if this could be true. To me, when I seem to live a fast-paced, productivity-driven life, there is very little room left for the peace and refreshing of God’s presence. John Mark Comer, an author and pastor, often says that joy is incompatible with hurry. The joy of God and the peace of His presence can be found anywhere, but we have to be in tune enough to His spirit to feel it. The joy of God is all around us, but when hustle and hurry are the definition of our lives, we tend to rush right past what God has for us. If we don’t slow down enough to hear Him, how will we ever slow down enough to know Him?

As a student and someone who is awful at saying no, I am a chronic hurrier. I’ve noticed that this pattern of life has caused me deep anxiety, loneliness, and a confusion in who I really am. I become so focused on my tasks, grades, and truthfully, myself. This causes me to lose sight and recognition of the One who knows me. It seems all good and fine to talk about slowing down, but how do I actually do that? It feels impossible with demanding tasks and constant expectations. Jesus is the most beautiful example of someone who tremendously helps us learn how to live in His peaceful presence. I often look to a short verse, but one that has been immensely beautiful for me.
 
Luke 5:15Yet the news spread about him all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sickness. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray.”  Out of anyone in the world, Jesus knew what it was like to have impossible and endless demands. He had the ability to fulfill all of these and more during His life on Earth if he really wanted to, but instead, He chose to model a life of slowness for us. His life was built on not only patience, but also fast-paced action. He waited 30 years to even begin the ministry He knew He was called for, and during those 3 years of active ministry, it was quite hurried. Even then, He somehow lived a life of simplicity and contentment in His father. As His name spread, all the more He spent intentional time alone with God.

The more time alone, and truly alone, with the Lord, the more we know Him. Knowing the Lord deeply and intimately reveals who we are in many ways, too. The more I lean into Jesus and the way He lived His life, the more I notice that I don’t want the hustle that brings temporary gratification. Our walk with God is meant to be a slow and steady one that gives us more than enough time to get to know Him, and for Him to know us. Jehovah Shalom, the prince of Peace, came to walk with us- not run. I pray that we let go of the idea and so-called virtue of hustle and lean into the endless, forever kind of love that we will get to experience when we go into the secret place with God.

Author | Fernanda Lima 

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