Rest is good but living slow is not easy.
It’s undisputed that rest is good but our culture has found itself leaving no room for this vital behavior.
The world says: 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.”
Even though I know rest is good, I would think, “Mom, I’ll sleep when I’m dead. I have to do this.“
I have to rest? According to whom? Who told me I had to take on loads of projects, say yes to every request, be the top of my class, outdo my co-workers, stay up late to finish that degree, 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. The busier I became, the more I could humble-brag about my accomplishments.
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 the 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.
I was running my energy bank ragged, making all kinds of mistakes in the process. Rest is good but I was avoiding it.
I’d hear my Mom’s voice, “Laura, you need to rest. Rest is good.” 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 living slow 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.
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.
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. This is a lifelong journey.
(Excerpt above from Chapter 14 of Love Fast Live Slow)