THIS SERIES: CREATE SPACE FOR LIFE
Life may have slowed down for some during this pandemic, but for many it is busier than ever. It’s a good time—in the midst of the rush—for all of us to recalibrate. Perhaps there’s the possibility we could live more simply?
Have you ever thought or been told the following?
We live in a world where our effectiveness as human beings is measured by the busyness of our schedule; a full diary has become a badge of honour which announces to anyone paying attention that we are important, successful and sought out.
Our dedication to our jobs is shown through our willingness to arrive early, stay late and work through our lunch breaks (often without pay); and is often a prerequisite of being hired. Even in the church a person’s spiritual health and commitment to the Lord is frequently measured by their involvement in all aspects of the church programme.
When did we get so busy? Man has always had to labour to provide for the essentials of life. But modern fast-paced living is more than that—it is a frenetic attempt to crowd the days, to shoe-horn more and more into our schedules until something bursts.
Everything has speeded up over the last century producing instant communication and access to information, ease of travel, labour-saving appliances and the world at our fingertips. In this age of instant everything, we expect to live in the fast lane. And so we fit more in to each 24 hours than any other generation. But it comes at a cost…
The cost is to the health of our bodies, and the wellbeing of our souls; to our primary relationships which need an investment of time, and in particular to our walk with the Lord; (and actually to the fulfilment of our unique destinies). Just as our environmental clutter creates noise (see last post), so do our over-busy diaries. And that noise often drowns out other sounds: the creaking of relationships, the distress of loved ones, the protests of body and soul, and … significantly, the voice of the Lord. Maybe we need to learn how to live life in the slow lane—some times, at least.
6 WAYS TO SLOW DOWN
1. In our fast-paced living, we often don’t really notice what’s happening around us. Choose some daily activities to do at an unhurried pace and pay full attention to them. Noticing the details of life will make time will appear to slow down.
2. Determine to really savour and enjoy the present moment, even in lock-down; we only have one life—let's make the most of it. Sharing with those moments with others through photos, and verbal and written communication helps to build a bank of special memories which will enhance our sense of well-being in days to come.
3. Make a note of how often the habit of multi-tasking kicks in. Choose some tasks to do with full concentration. For example, resist the temptation to read or watch television while eating, or chat on the mobile phone while surfing the internet. Gradually develop a new habit of complete focus.
4. Consider adopting the idea of a Sabbath rest—one day per week to stop and rest, step back and look at the bigger picture. Perhaps a fast from our digital task-masters could also be included—one day a week when we don’t open emails, review our work schedules or take work-related phone-calls; one day a week when we are unavailable if we choose.
5. Relax and enjoy the important people in your life—through Zoom calls if necessary—investing in strong relationships is one of the most important things we’ll ever do. Resolve to become a good listener—you may change someone’s life!
In this long hiatus there is an opportunity to evaluate our lives, and create new habits which will have a long-lasting effect—we can create space for life.
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TIME FOR THE LORD
Jesus was often hard-pressed during His three years of ministry; but we sometimes forget that unlike today, He was tied to one place and time; nothing happened with modern speed—He had to walk everywhere; and without the benefit of electric lights, a lot of night-time activity was curtailed. We also read that He constantly withdrew from the crowds, either to spend time with the disciples or alone with His Father.
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey,
they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home.
Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary.
Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared.
But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores
in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said,
“Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself?
You should tell her to get up and help me.”
The Lord answered her,
“Martha, my beloved Martha.
Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions?
Are they really that important?
Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet.
She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.”
[Luke 10: 38-42 The Passion Translation]
Let’s make space for living in our schedules this year—not just while in lockdown—for the things which really matter. Let’s choose life in the slow lane and make space for that abundant life Jesus offered. And in particular, let’s respond to His invitation:
Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.
Next Friday: Take Every Thought Captive: Declutter the Mind
PASS IT ON
[Photo credits: Pietro Tebaldi (girl thinking); Logan Weaver (slow-down notice); Joshua Hoehne (mobile)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
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