If there’s one word God has written on my heart as the theme of this summer, it is SLOW.
I knew things needed to slow down for me and my family, but the slowness He’s been working into our family life this summer has gone much deeper than I expected. It’s moved beyond a slower pace and a slower schedule, though that itself has been significant. Following my car accident last month and the subsequent five weeks of managing life as a one-vehicle family, slowness of schedule was forced. How fast can you go when you don’t have a car to take you anywhere, right?
But all of that serves as a backdrop to the bigger learning I’ve had to do this summer, the lessons pointed at areas of my “mom heart” needing to change – sins such as:
Choosing to give my kids criticism over encouragement.
Being frustrated by both their sin and the energy it steals from me, rather than embracing the opportunities to nurture their souls with God’s love.
Offering harsher words than needed instead of pouring kindness into them when I instruct or correct.
There you have it. These are the things I struggle with on a daily basis, but God has relentlessly brought to mind one word that has convicted and directed me more times this summer than I count. I forget, but then it’s not long before I hear him whisper it again:
This work is more about slowing my words and slowing my responses to the little people in my life. There’s nothing new about the teaching, just fresh in how it’s been piercing my heart lately –
“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” – James 1:19
Why? Hopefully it’s because I’m so grateful to receive from a God like that.
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” – Psalm 103:8
That is who He is, and I want a heart that moves more comfortably in slowness. I want breaths before words. For those breaths to be filled with the deepest inhaling and exhaling of grace, the pace of my life does need to slow down considerably. I have to remember that although a more cleared-out calendar won’t make me into that kind of person, it does provide me time to dwell on his love and goodness more and be so affected by it every day that what’s squeezed out of me exudes grace. Slower days make way for pondering grace longer, ultimately leading me to think more often before speaking.
I want that and I believe God is working it into my life, but I slip too easily into impatience with the timing of his work. Ironic, isn’t it? I want to learn to slow down in these ways, to be changed into a slow-hearted woman, but I’d prefer my nature be changed so instantaneously that I can bypass the struggle found in learning it! Yes, I really am that ridiculous.
I remind myself that an abrupt stop would mean a crash, that the s-l-o-w-ing is a gift and this longer-than-I’d-prefer learning process is a mercy that keeps me from hitting that crashing point. It’s lengthy but surely deeper this way. Change at the core of who we are – at the level of the heart and all its desires – is always best (even if it seems to take forever). Surface-level is pointless.
Do you ever feel God is slowing down your world so He can reach into your heart and draw attention to something new He’s doing? And practically speaking, what are some ways you cooperate with him when he tells you it’s time to slow down?