Common sense tells us that if you want to follow someone, you can’t go faster than the one who is leading.
So, who are we following?
Are we too caught up in the busyness of life to even ponder this question?
Perhaps the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland provides an answer when she says, “Now here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.”
Jesus was often very busy, but it never seems that he was in a hurry. We can make the conclusion that being busy is an acceptable condition, but always being in a hurry may reveal an ailment of our soul. If anxiety and worry are common partners to busyness, then we might be following another instead of Christ.
I confess that I am drawn to the hurried life. Sometimes going a million miles an hour helps me to feel important, look important, and keeps my adrenaline pumping. Always being in a hurry may not always be a by-product of a disordered schedule, but an exposure of a disordered heart. And busyness can give me an excuse to not examine a very important question:
Am I serving Self or am I serving Christ?
I’m suggesting that beginning this week, we can take a spiritual timeout and re-examine ourselves. Busyness for the sake of busyness doesn’t have to rule our lives. It is possible for the hurried to become unhurried.
Several years ago, I came across a practice suggested by John Ortberg called “slowing”. This practice cultivates patience — a fruit of the spirit that helps bring order out of disorder. “Slowing” means to deliberately choose to place yourself in positions where you have to wait.
Ortberg suggests that over the next few days or weeks, try these out:
- Deliberately drive in the slow lane on the expressway.
2. Declare a fast from honking.
3. Eat your food slowly.
4. The next time you are at WalMart, discover which check-out line is the longest and get in it. Then, let one person go in front of you.
5. Reread a book.
6. Take an hour simply to be with God.
The concept of “slowing” allows us the opportunity to establish a new rhythm of engagement and withdrawal, so we may consciously invite Christ into our live instead of serving our Self or our schedule.
The concept of “slowing” is not a new practice.
Throughout history, mature Christian believers have understood solitude to be a foundational practice in drawing closer to God. Yet, this practice seems so foreign in today’s world. We are so conditioned to feel that our existence is justified only when we are accomplishing something.
I must confess that I harbor anti-solitude feelings because my mind wanders so much. This is especially true during times of worship or when I attempt to have an extended period of prayer. My body may be practicing solitude and rest, but my mind has great difficulty in slowing down. And it’s frustrating!
Brother Lawrence had a perfect response to my frustration: “For many years I was bothered by the thought that I was a failure at prayer. Then one day, I realized I would always be a failure at prayer; and I’ve gotten along much better ever since.”
So let’s step back a bit today. Let’s slow down. Instead of examining our schedules as a cause for hurrying, let’s examine our hearts.
When the new week arrives, we can establish a new rhythm of engagement and withdrawal that slows down our heart and sets aside time to consciously follow Christ by being in His Word, to converse with God, and to acknowledge and welcome the presence of His Spirit throughout the day.
I invite your feedback. How do you provide a balance between the busyness of live and following Christ?