If you didn’t read last week’s Insanity, then you can take a quick look here. This week, the Lenten Exercise for the Soul is “Slowing Down.”
When John Ortberg was about to begin his ministry at Willow Creek, he called his friend and mentor, Dallas Willard and asked him what he should do to prepare for his new call. Willard’s response was immediate:
Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry From Your Life
Ortberg wrote it down on his yellow pad and said, “Great! What else?”
“That’s it” Dallas replied, “ruthlessly eliminiate hurry from your life.”
That’s advice for all of us.
We live in a hurry hurry rush rush culture.
Personally, I’m addicted to hurry.
I actually apologize when my 4G takes to long to load something I’m trying to show someone. Even though, as Louis C.K. reminds us, my phone signal has to travel all the way to a satellite in outer space and back. I need speed.
We all do, I think.
We dream of travelling faster than light,
we make snap decisions,
hope games go into sudden death,
speed read, speed skate,
put our kids into accelerated learning
and want all responses As Soon As Possible.
We want As Soon As Possible to happen so As Soon As Possible
that don’t even bother to say the whole phrase.
We abbreviate it.
We want our fast food so fast, we don’t even bother to go inside,
instead preferring to just ‘drive thru.’
Our need for speed has created a society
where productivity determines human value.
What you do and how much you do it
is far more important than
Who You Are.
This is not the way we created.
Carl Jung said, “Hurry is not OF the devil, it IS the devil.”
In Psalm 46, God speaks these words,
“Be Still, And Know That I Am God.”
The NASB translates it, “Cease Striving.”
We were created to take a break. To stop chasing the second hand.
This week, if you are looking for a way to join into the Soul Exercises,
I challenge you to ‘be still’, ‘cease striving’, ‘slow down’ in one of the following ways:
1) Don’t use contractions.
2) Don’t make authoritative “You Should…” statements,
Ask more questions instead.
3) Walk slowly.
4) Look around. Notice things you wouldn’t normally notice.
5) Breathe. Are you aware that you are breathing right now?
6) Drive in the slow traffic lane.
7) Jump in the longest line at the grocery store.
Let someone go ahead of you.
8) Men, ask for directions.
9) Read the instructions
10) Bonus Round: turn off notifications and check email and texts once a day.
Any one of these may really work out your soul.
Lent is a time for the discomfort of the new,
to allow your soul to paint the world with it’s left hand…or right, depending.
Before Jesus fed the 5000, he was speaking to his disciples:
“Many people were coming and going, so there was no time to eat. He said to the apostles, ‘Come by yourselves to a secluded place and rest for a while.’” Mark 6:31
When Jesus speaks in a secluded place,
it’s a place that’s empty of external distractions that pull us out of the present.
There are no weapons of mass distraction.
Again and again, as we pursue spiritual life, we must do battle with hurry. For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them. via John Ortberg
Find your secluded place.