The Importance of Slowing Down

slowing down

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BY BRANDY DAVENPORT, CO-BLOGGER

Setting agendas, scheduling appointments, making phone calls, doing work, washing laundry, packing for a trip, unpacking from a trip, prepping grocery lists, cooking meals, cleaning the house, bathing the dogs, bathing the kids, putting away dishes … sleep and repeat. Does this sound familiar to you?

All the things we chase in this life will eventually catch up to us if we don’t learn to stop. Some things, yes, must be attended to. But if we live in a cycle in which we can’t breathe until all the things are done, we will never rest.  

MY SON’S DIAGNOSIS MADE ME SLOW DOWN

With two little kids, a home to remodel, and full-time work, I was chasing my tail in this crazy to-do list cycle. Until I wasn’t. The diabetes diagnosis of my son brought everything to a screeching halt. I was assured in that moment that God was using it to slow me down and wake me up.  

The bible gives us the ultimate example in Jesus when it comes to slowing down. Jesus was simply never in a hurry. He took time away to pray repeatedly. He had to walk everywhere, which gave him time to think. Even when He was given the news that Lazarus died, He didn’t rush off. If we are to follow Jesus’ ways as an example, then this must be a part of how we live on a daily basis. 

I am reminded of the story of Mary and Martha in the bible. In Luke 10:38-42, Martha was going to be welcoming Jesus into her home and was busy getting ready. Once Jesus was there, she was still scurrying around. Mary, however, was at Jesus’ feet listening to his teachings. 

Jesus told Martha: 

You are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:41-4

THE GOOD NEWS

This is such profoundly good news! Everything we are serving here on this earth will one day be taken away. Everything. (Even suffering with a chronic disease will be no more!) Our good portion is what will be left. That good portion God speaks of is here, now, in our presence. When we don’t slow down, that good portion is often missed or taken for granted.  

What are we missing in our haste? What is Jesus not wanting us to miss?

I have learned to savor the act of slowing down over the years. I have started to enjoy those moments more and more, instead of thinking that slowing down is keeping me from being productive.

Some of my favorite activities for slowing down are:

  • Get outside and take a stroll. That’s right – get some good ol’ vitamin D straight from the source. And a walk is a wonderful activity to move my body and refocus my mind. Sometimes I walk with no purpose other than taking in the scenery around me. It’s therapeutic.
  • Sit on the front porch and sip a drink I like. I love just sitting and watching the cars go by. I listen to the birds, smell the fresh air, and feel rejuvenated.
  • Read a book for pleasure. I love finding a good book about something I love to read about, and I take the time to just relax and read. (Sometimes I sit outside on the porch and read!) 
reading
  • My personal favorite thing to do to slow down and relax is to take a hot bath. Maybe you’re in a warmer climate than mine and are already hot from the day, but a nice warm relaxing bath is instant happiness for me.
  • Sometimes I will call a good friend just to chat. Yep – no texting in a hurry. I literally call, sit, and catch up. 
  • I also like to find a project I’ve been putting off or a hobby I enjoy, and I turn on my favorite music. Doing something I love brings me joy.
  • There are few things more calming and peaceful than getting alone in a quiet place for prayer. I like to listen and just be still. 

These ideas are not to avoid real life but to get back to what’s really important and release what you cannot control.

As easy as it is to get caught up in this life right in front of us, especially as we care for a chronic illness, what are some practical ways you can slow down? 

What things can you say no to that don’t actually need to be done? 

How can you sit at Jesus’s feet and listen? 

Sometimes God uses big things so we can notice the small things. What small things are you missing in your haste?

Dear Father, I love the story of Mary and Martha. I need this story as a daily reminder that slowing down is how You lived as well, and I desire to be more like You. Forgive me of my hurriedness and help me stop chasing the things that keep me from sitting at Your feet. Amen.

MORE POSTS TO ENJOY

The Role of Rest with a Chronic Illness
Bible Reading Plan: From Chaos to Peace
How Diabetes Affects Relationships

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