Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Moving Over To The Slow Lane

The moment I saw Jim Elliot's quote, "Wherever you are be all there", it grabbed me.

I was tired of being distracted by to-do lists, technology, rushing frantically from one thing to the next (and sometimes even for no other reason than to just be in a rush), intrusive thoughts...

I was tired of being present but not really BEING ALL THERE.

I began asking God to reveal the things in my life that I could let go of.  Because I knew that in order to create the space we all need for REAL relationships (OFF screen) and eternal conversations, I would have to make it part of my lifestyle.

All of this reading and soul-searching has led to the Holy Spirit calling me out.
Telling me things like:
Slow down.
Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions (to yourself, to others and even to God).
Dig deeper. Don't be satisfied in what you already know.
To REALLY figure out what living a life on mission looks like for me, because I firmly believe that God created each one of us with beautiful differences that work together to reach the world for Christ, and the way I love on others and share His wonderful story is going to look different than the way you do.  And that's ok.  That's the BEAUTY of it! It's the Body of Christ working TOGETHER for the Kingdom!

At times I have been in tears, looking into the ugly that is my heart.
Then sifting through the ugly to lay it down and let it go.
Those are the most difficult times.
When I can't excuse my behavior away.
Its pride. Its selfishness. Its jealousy. Its fear.
And this kind of ugly keeps me focused on myself instead of seeing others for who THEY are.

Other times God simply gives me gentle reminders to turn my phone over (or even off) so my family can have my complete attention.
Or to take the time to really listen to a person sharing something with me.
Or that life will keep going, even if I don't rush my kids from one thing to the next or say yes to every activity invitation.
Or that taking my tween up on the date she wants to take me on with her Starbucks gift card is the most important thing, even if I had other plans for my morning.
Or to spend an afternoon following through on an idea the LORD gave me in order to share His love with someone else.

Through it all I have noticed a common thread...it's not about me, it's about others.  It's about slowing down in order to see the world around me.

Have you ever stopped to realize that in order to help somebody on the side of the road you have to move over and slow down?

So what if I were to live a life actually LOOKING for people to help?  I can't just zoom in and out of traffic and expect to safely be able to slow down in time to help that person without causing a possible pile up behind me.  I might even accidentally hurt the person I initially stopped to help.  And I can't honestly expect people who need help to just appear in my car.   If I am going to view my day with eternal perspective I am going to have to drive my life in the slow (intentional) lane, looking and waiting for those interruptions and constantly fight the natural tendency to get irritated by the zooming traffic around me or even the urge to speed around the slow people in front of me.

And what I have found is a freedom, joy and fulfillment that I have never felt from trying to accomplish days just to be productive, no matter how many things I check off of my to-do-list, or activities I can accomplish by rushing around just to fit one more thing in, or how put-together my life can appear on social media because that is where I spend the majority of my time.  Because I've realized that none of that matters, without the Joy of the LORD guiding me and slowing me down for the next stop in the slow lane.
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