God does not expect us to run before we can walk or walk before we can crawl. It is the world that looks at us with the expectation of running before we are ready. We then start placing the world's expectations on ourselves and get into a big hurry to do everything. We forget that we can slow down. Slowing down can feel like we will miss the opportunity or maybe the world has even told us that that's laziness. However, oftentimes, that is exactly where God is. In the slow down. This is where we can explore who we are and what God has placed in us. It is from our exploration that we can discover what the work is that we must do. When we slow down and listen to the voice of God we learn how to not compare ourselves to others. We simply learn to walk in our own journey, keeping our eyes focused squarely on what God needs from us. In the slow down our focus can become sharply concentrated on Him, thus alleviating our obsession with self. We can then take on the responsibility of doing our very best at whatever He has set us on the path for.
Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.
Galatians 6:4-5 NIV
How can we be prepared for everything that this world will send our way? The only way we can be prepared is to be with God. He is the only one that can help us in all things. He can prepare us, if we let Him. However, we cannot be prepared if we are too busy following the world. This is what the enemy wants. The devil wants us distracted by all the hustle and bustle of the world. When we are distracted with busy we aren’t focused on God. We are consumed by overwhelm and getting ahead. God needs us to put His full armor on each day. It is only when we are fully clothed in Him that we can face the day and go forward in His plans. This requires our steady and constant obedience. Obedience is not learned in a hurry. Rather it is realized, harnessed and used when we slow down in all that we do. This is when we can be conscious of our speech, actions and planning. When we slow down we seek to consult God more frequently, which is how we grow our prayers that are our communication to the Spirit.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:13-18 NIV
Considerations for your planner:
- Do you feel like you are in a hurry to accomplish something right now? Write it down and then write down what slowing down would mean.
- Do you feel prepared to walk out into the world each day? Write down what prepared looks like to you.
A Story of Slowing Down:
I have always been afraid of not meeting expectations. I thought that if I committed to something there was never a reason good enough to not see that commitment through. Thus, I fell into this vicious reality that I was only as good as the outcome of whatever I promised. I took on so much responsibility and rarely consulted God.
I have felt the overwhelm of this way of living for far too long. I started to fear what others would think if I did not live up to their expectations. I feared what I would think of myself if I did not live up to my own expectations. I didn’t want to be better than anyone else, but I had to be set apart. I needed to be special among the rest.
I have recently lived in a very isolating situation. I had to learn to let go of all the things I was doing, because my energy was just depleted. At first I felt lazy. Then I felt like I was missing out on opportunities. Finally, I learned to embrace the slower pace. I started talking to God more. I realized how often my mind would speed up and run off, leaving me feeling like I needed to catch up. Now I know when I slow down everything gets done and then some. This is only because of God.
Strengthen the Christian Planner Family by sharing your experiences. We'd love to hear a story about God's work in your life. Use the form linked below to submit your story.