It's okay to slow down

It’s Okay To Slow Down

It’s okay to slow down.

You have permission to slow down. You didn’t need it. But now you have it. As a matter of fact, the permission didn’t come from me. It’s straight from scripture.

“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.”

Psalm 90:12, CSB
It's okay to slow down

My Wishful View

I wish you could see my view right now. Looking right past my laptop, I see the bold horizon welcoming the sun to set along the waves.

We are spending the week at the beach, one of my favorite (and easiest) spots to rest and recharge. Oh, did I mention we are at an all-inclusive resort?

The kids are having a blast with the grandparents back home, and we are skipping through the week in pure stress-less bliss. Isn’t living slow easy?

Okay, that paragraph is a complete lie.

We are not at the beach. I am not gazing at the horizon. The view from my laptop is actually a never-ending pile of laundry, to-do lists that compound by the minute, an electric bill that is $75 higher than last month, and children rummaging through the pantry like mice looking for dinner. Isn’t living slow hard?

It’s undisputed that rest is good.

Our culture has found itself leaving no room for this vital behavior. The faster we get to our destination, the better—even at the cost of our mental and physical health. Thankfully I had a mom who knew better. 

When your mom speaks, you should listen. Sure, there were (many) times when my teenage-self thought I was wiser than she, but the older I get, the more admiration I hold for her.

My mom tends to redirect me with gentle nudges. I’d roll my eyes each time she’d recite this warning: “Laura, you need to rest.” 

On more than one occasion, I remember thinking, Mom, I’ll sleep when I’m dead. I have to do this.

I have to do this? According to whom? Who told me I had to take on loads of projects, say yes to every request, be at the top of my class, outdo my co-workers, stay up late to finish that degree, and wake up early to exercise?

Who said I had to do it all? According to my actions, my self-worth was wrapped up in how full I could pack my schedule. I did NOT think it was okay to slow down.

The busier I became, the more I could humble-brag about my accomplishments. 

Burning The Candle At Both Ends

When I worked in corporate America, I burned the candle at both ends. Nick and I were newlyweds, and we’d fight over how late I’d stay at work. I missed our first wedding anniversary because my boss sent me on a work trip that had promise of a bonus upon return.

This kind of compromise continued for years. It was a great company with great people, but when you put a recovering workaholic gal like me on the field, I will take it too far.

Soon enough, after extending myself year after year, my body started to fight against me. I developed heart palpitations, adult acne, migraines, and even a scare with an oncologist because blood work came back wonky.

There was a stretch of time when I traveled for 37 days in a row, not once putting my head on my own pillow. With all the airport travel, my immune system crashed, and I even caught swine flu when it was an epidemic in 2009. Woe is me [sarcasm mine].

It's okay to slow down

You make more mistakes when you rush

Here I was running Laura’s energy bank ragged, making all kinds of mistakes in the process because I was convinced that the finished was better than the perfect.

I’d hear my Mom’s voice, “Laura, you need to rest,” and I’d resist out of fear of letting people down. After all, if I rest, how will the world keep turning?

My work got sloppy.

My boss even hit “reply all” one day to the team with a message that basically said, “Get it together, Laura.” I knew this wasn’t the quality work I had promised to deliver. I knew I was disappointing my company, team, and God.

Thankfully our God is grace-filled. He is full of compassion and course corrections. 

God taught me the power of slowing down at the perfect time.

We were in our first year of parenthood and still experiencing zero margin in our personal and work lives. Nick and I would walk the neighborhood, stroller in tow, and discuss the hope we held on to that one day we’d have more margin: white space on the calendar and cushion between the lines of to-do lists.

We needed to recharge and refresh. We were certainly operating from empty cups.

The night Love Fast Live Slow Started

One night, Easter Sunday 2013 to be exact, the phrase love fast live slow fell on my heart.

I suppose that sounds super mystical. God and I don’t have a direct line of communication, but I can oftentimes discern what comes straight from God. And this message was directly from the One above.

Right after my conversation with Nick about creating margin in our lives, I began asking God how we could make this a reality.

As new parents, both working full-time outside the home, how could we find time to grow personally and professionally and still have time for each other? It’s the great mystery of the world. 

I was up late that night. Maybe I was restless, or maybe the baby wasn’t sleeping. But I journaled and prayed. It was as if I had a code in my mind I had to hack. I knew God wanted us to feel peace and live with purpose.

I knew there was something greater than punching the clock each day. What significance could we hold onto as we plowed through these tiring days? What driving force could keep our engines turning?

The answer I was given…just love fast and live slow. 

Slowing down takes practice

I didn’t wake up the next morning with an immediate change of heart or retrained mind. No, on the contrary I felt acutely aware of all of my shortcomings when it came to displaying love through my words and attitude.

I didn’t naturally wake up with a willing spirit. If anything, I’d wake up grumbling because I was holding Nick to the standard of whatever God was trying to teach me. If I was supposed to start loving fast and living slow, that meant Nick was supposed to be doing it too.

Every time I saw Nick fall short of my personal convictions, I’d call him out. You know, like a really good wife who doesn’t nag at all. Now that I knew God wanted me to live this way, I felt inspired but disgustingly far from that standard.

It’s okay to slow down

Living slow is a journey. It won’t happen overnight. And that’s why our blog exists. As we’ve described, this concept is a lifelong journey.

We have spent ten years writing blogs, books, and bible studies about this very topic. The conversation doesn’t stop here.

Link arms with this community for constant encouragement and practical tips on how to practice slowing down (and using your energy on what matters!).

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