EXPOSE | We Are “Off Pace”
“If we compare our pace to the pace of Jesus’s life, there aren’t many similarities. Jesus was never rushed. He wasn’t overwhelmed by life, even though He had an enormous mission to complete in a very short period of time… Culture’s obsession with busyness and hurriedness isn’t just a scheduling problem. It’s a heart problem.” – Frank Powell
EXPLORE | Only Do What You Are Called To Do
Life has become a flywheel. In all our efforts to be efficient and to do more, we’ve got that sucker spinning pretty good. As Powell states above, busyness flows from our hearts. So, we need to ask, Who or what would lead us to such hurriedness?
There are those things that we have been called to do–and everything else. The “everything else” is optional. That allows us to thrive as we slow down.
We are simply too hurried. Jesus wasn’t. We don’t have to be.
EXECUTE | Implications and Suggestions for Slowing Down
I believe this to be the way with most things in our lives: they impact more than just one area. As much as we like to believe that we can compartmentalize, what we believe is just physical, actually has spiritual implications as well.
First, we’ll look at what Frank Powell raises as spiritual implications of a “hurried life”. The foundation and starting point for all that we do. Building on that, I’ll introduce you to someone that I’ve not mentioned up until this point. Mark Sisson. If you’re looking for an in-depth, on balance approach to being healthy, he is your guy. He offers some practical ways to help us free up our perspective so that we can make the most of our time.
The Spiritual Implications of Not Slowing Down
“I don’t believe God is impressed with an exhaustion. He isn’t glorified when you take on so many responsibilities that your soul floods with unrest and discontentment. Feeling burnt out isn’t a badge of faithfulness. Take your foot off the gas. Slow down.”
– Frank Powell
A Hurried Life Destroys Your Relationship With God. “As Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Unless you spend extended periods of time alone with God through prayer, solitude and sabbath, the speed of the world will skew your understanding of God. Anxiety, unrest and discontentment will hover over your life like a dark storm cloud.”
A Hurried Life Decreases Your Capacity to Love Others. “It’s not a coincidence that the great love passage, 1 Corinthians 13, begins with “Love is patient…” Considering the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others, you need to consider whether your hurried life is costing you more than you realize.”
A Hurried Life Increases the Power of Temptation. “Through temptation, Satan tries to decrease the time between impulse and action. And, in our instant gratification culture, Satan has masterfully deceived people… When you nurture patience and learn to wait, you trust God to give you the things in time that Satan says you need now.”
A Hurried Life Numbs You to Injustices. “When your life moves at freeway speed, you have no time or energy to consider the world outside of your lane. You become desensitized or unaware of brokenness in the world. Your heart becomes calloused to the things that break God’s heart.”
A Hurried Life Increases Narrow-Mindedness and Legalism. “Information increases knowledge. But knowledge alone leads to legalism… Truly knowing God requires discernment and wisdom. These grow incrementally through reflection, solitude, prayer and Christ-centered community. The difference between knowledge and wisdom is the difference between having minimal knowledge about God but recognizing Jesus (Disciples), and having a wealth of knowledge but crucifying Jesus (Pharisees).”
Hurried Life Clouds Your Purpose and Diminishes Your Passion. “But God’s idea of purpose isn’t about doing. It’s about becoming. So, think about these questions: Are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control increasing in your heart? Are you a man or woman of integrity? Are you trustworthy? Do the people who know you most respect you?”
Powell is right, it is a heart issue. We need to care for the very basis from which flows all that we are called to do. Starting here ensures that we will be able to separate what we are called to do from the “everything else.” Now, from Mark Sisson and a couple of others, I wanted to highlight some practical ways that we can look at how we handle the time we are given.
Slowing Down and Making the Most of Our Time
“An important piece of living well as you age that most never consider is taking advantage of the fact that time perception is entirely a construction of the brain. By slowing down the perceived passage of time, you seemingly have more of it and live longer—and better.”
– Mark Sisson
Stop thinking of time as money (even if it is). “Increasing value breeds scarcity, even if it’s just the perception of scarcity. So when we think of our time as money, our time gets more valuable—and more scarce… instead of packing our schedules full of interesting experiences, we work longer to make more money. Reading for pleasure becomes wasteful. Sitting down to dinner with the family is an extravagance you have trouble justifying. The time we do take as leisure becomes more harried with worry we could be doing more.”
Embrace novelty. “Time passes slowly for children in part because everything they’re experiencing is new and takes up a larger portion of their memory. Each experience is fascinating. Compare that with the average adult working a 9-5. Novelty is about trying something, almost anything, new… it might be as bold as the bucket list items, or as subtle as taking a different route to work, or eating lunch outside–give your brain something to remember.
Work smarter. “Working smarter is keeping work contained. Optimize work to make the most of work, so that you can make the most of ‘not work’.
Move. “Everyone knows that the faster you move through space, the slower time unfolds. We see this in sci-fi movies about astral explorers aging more slowly on interstellar journeys, but there’s no reason it doesn’t also work on a local, micro level, even if just barely and mostly imperceptibly. Try it out if you don’t believe me. Spend one day exploring the city on foot. Walk briskly, bike, whatever you want. Just physically move through space without stopping.”
Disconnect. “Scientists think our relationship to technology has sped up our perception of time. In a series of human experiments (results awaiting peer-review), researchers discovered that people who are constantly connected to technology perceive time to flow faster. What was actually 50 minutes felt like an hour to the tech addicts, who were more anxious and stressed about time running out than the folks who used technology less.”
Plan trips. “Planning a bit, even if it’s just a skeleton plan, gives you something to look forward to… Throwing together a rough itinerary several months out, one that leaves plenty of room for improvisation, can really increase the density of your experience and thus slow your perception of time.”
Go into nature. “We’re slaves to the clock. In the wilderness, there are none. Rather than seconds and minutes, out there time is measured in seasons, sunrises and sunsets, temperature changes. It’s a much grander thing embedded in the landscape itself. The linear tick of a digital display cannot hope to contain it.”
Two Bonus “Lifehacks”
I found these two additional “hacks” that I thought were also worth considering:
Write Parkinson’s Law somewhere you can see it often: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” “Maybe you really need more than ten hours a day to get everything on your to-do list done. Or maybe you’re stretching your work to fill longer hours because society associates so many positive things with busyness. This saying reminds me to limit my work and still get it done so I can then focus on other things.” – 10 ways to slow down and still get things done
Do one less thing at the end of the day. “Instead of cramming one more thing in when you have a spare five minutes, save it for tomorrow. Hurried work is never good work. It will take enjoyment away from what’s ahead.” – the art of slowing down: 12 simple ways
Life is worth living at a pace that allows us to exercise wisdom, not to mention avoid the spiritual and physical implications of living in a hurried state. What begins as a heart issue must necessarily be framed practically. Is your heart ‘on pace’? And if so, have you built the requisite ‘guard rails’ from sliding back into the busy life?