Tag Archives: slow down

Slow Down

Recently my wife and the Lord have told me that it’s time to start saying no to things. When life gets so busy that you’re double booking, forgetting things you’ve agreed to and are living exhausted all the time, you’re doing too much. Life has lots of demands by itself, then we start complicating it by adding things to it. If we’re not careful, we can get so caught up in doing things for our families, our friends, our churches and others that we forget to stop and rest. Worse yet, we can miss our quiet time with God.

Busyness is not necessarily a sign of Godliness. In our minds, it’s easy to equate the two, but there is a point where we just need to stop, sit down and feed ourselves mentally, spiritually and emotionally. When Jesus went to the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, Martha was busy preparing food and serving her guests. She was doing what was necessary because she had guests, but she was stressing herself out too. That’s when she noticed her sister wasn’t even helping her. Instead, she was just sitting there listening to Jesus.

When Martha complained to Jesus, His reply to her was also to us. In Luke 10:41 He said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things” (AMP). Each one of us should substitute our name for hers right there and know that God is ok with you slowing down, clearing your calendar and removing the things from your life that distract you from Him. Life isn’t about being busy all the time. It’s preparation for eternity. When you get to Heaven, you’re not going to be asked how busy you were or how much you accomplished. You’re going to be asked how well you knew Jesus and how well He knew you.

Photo by Karen Lau on Unsplash

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Full Speed


My son is every bit of six years old. He runs through the house at full speed, laughs so hard he can’t hear anything and has to do everything himself. There are many times when I’m trying to give him instructions, but he keeps going. I yell his name to get his attention, but he keeps going. I’ve tried with everything in me to get him to hear me, but often I get no response while he’s moving around. It’s not until I have to get up, go over to him and get in his space that he hears me or realizes I’m trying to give him instruction. 

I know he probably gets that from me, and as I think about it, I wonder how often that describes me today. How often is God trying to get my attention, screaming my name, but I can’t hear Him because of my busyness? I’ve got a lost of things to do, my mind is racing with ideas of what’s next and I’m halfway looking where I’m going. I don’t stop until God gets in my space and says, “Hey! I’m trying to talk to you. I’ve been trying to get your attention, but you won’t stop and listen.” 

In those moments, I wonder how long He had been trying to get my attention. I have to think back, replay the last little bit and see all the ways He was trying to get my attention. I then seek forgiveness for being to busy to hear Him and renew my commitment to slow down. That’s when I’m reminded of Psalm 46:10. It says, “Be still, and know that I am God!” (NLT) I think the Psalmist was a lot like me and that was his message from God that goes out to all of us who run full speed all the time.

I’ve learned that God cares less about my busyness and more about my ability to stop and listen. I’m learning from my son that when I’m running around, I can’t hear what’s being said. I can’t focus on what I’m supposed to. How many mishaps could have been prevented? How many blessings have I missed out on because I was too busy to hear Him? If you’re like me, let me encourage you to take time to stop today and listen. Chances are that God is calling your name and is trying to get your attention. 

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More Important Things


Sometimes we will host a large group of people in our home for a birthday party or some other event. My personality style wants to make sure everyone is taken care of. I go around making sure people have what they need, empty the trash, put out more food, etc. at the end of the night, after we’ve cleaned everything and head to bed, my wife will sometimes ask, “Who all did you get to talk to? Did you visit with your aunt? Or did you get to visit with this person?” More often than not, my answer is, “No one. I was too busy.”

In my business, I forget to slow down and engage with people. My mind says that for people to have a good time, there needs to be food out, plates cleaned up, and the trash has to be taken out. Most of that can be done after the party, but it’s hard for me to let go. I get distracted by all there is to do, and then end up not interacting with my guests the way I should. I find that I have a lot in common with Lazarus’ sister Martha.

She hosted a party for Jesus and His disciples in Luke 10. While she was cooking food, taking out the trash, picking up plates, and such, her sister Mary was just sitting there interacting with Jesus. I’m sure she asked her for a help a few times before she complained to Jesus. She said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work?” (NLT) She was socked by Jesus’ answer I’m sure because it goes against her personality.

In verse 41-42, Jesus said, “But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.’” God is less concerned with our busyness in making sure things get done than with our interaction with Him. Yes, things need to get done, but there are more important things out there. Sitting at Jesus’ feet is one of them.

You and I can get so caught up in the work of ministry and the life of a Christian that we forget to spend time with Jesus. When we fail to interact with Jesus, it’s easy to begin to think our work is what impresses God and others. It’s time each of us stopped the things that keep us busy and spend time interacting with Jesus. I think we’ll find direction and become more productive when we do. Doing Kingdom work is good, but it needs to come after we’ve spent time in His presence. 

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Rest Up


If you’re like me, you probably lead a busy life. You wake up running behind it seems. There’s so much to do, but so little time to get it all done. Weekends are no better. They seem to be just as busy. Life gets pretty hectic so I want you to take a cue from God. He gave us a day of rest and told us to honor it. He Himself rested on the Sabbath, which means to stop. God not only told us it was ok to stop, He commanded it. 

God doesn’t want you to go 24/7/365. He wants you to stop, breathe, relax, and rest once a week. If you do, you’ll find that you will actually accomplish more in six days than you could have in seven. It’s important to know that you have permission to rest. Schedule it. Make it happen. God did it, you can too. Find a day a week to stop, block out the noise, and honor what God said. You have permission from God, now make it happen.

Here are some Bible verses on rest.

1. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.
Genesis 2:2-3 NLT

2. He offered rest and comfort to all of you, but you refused to listen to him.
Isaiah 28:12 GNT

3. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.
Exodus 14:14 AMPC

4. What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.
Luke 12:29-32 MSG

5. Let my soul be at rest again, for the LORD has been good to me.
Psalms 116:7 NLT

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Intimate Conversations 


I like to tell people that I’m the busiest person I know. I carry two phones with three numbers attached to them. I work a full time job, write, do ministry, and drive for Uber at night. I look around though, and see other people who are just as busy. Somehow in our world, we equate busyness with value. The more we do, the greater we are. Even in the Church, we have adopted this mentality with ministers and lay leaders. We are always on the clock, we never take a sabbatical, and we never say “no” to anything or anyone.

That’s not the example Jesus gave us for ministry. Even though He was very busy and sought after, Luke 5:16 says, “Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” (NLT). The model He gave us was to step away from our duties often to spend time alone with the Father. He understood that it is not wise to continually give without going to the Father for a refill. As our lives become more busy, our intimate conversations alone with God in our prayer closet should increase.

Revival is coming and we need to be in the habit of stepping aside from all the distractions to spend time alone in prayer. Performing miracles, leading the lost to the cross, caring for the poor, and preaching are not supposed to take the place of our quiet time with God. He wants us to understand that busyness equals distractions and distractions keep us from going into our prayer closet. We can’t have the power of God flowing through us until we have been intimate with Him. God has always valued alone time with Him more than our busyness for Him.

Think of Martha and Mary. Martha was the one who welcomed Jesus into their home and as Luke 10:40 says, “was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing.” Mary was the one who was just sitting at the Lord’s feet listening. When Martha complained that she was doing all the work, the Lord replied, “There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it.” Each of us need to discover what that is as well. We need to take time often to just sit at the feet of Jesus, away from the distractions, and listen. That is what Jesus values and what we should value as well.

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Quiet Place Of Peace

  
Have you ever found yourself looking for a quiet place to get away from it all? In today’s connected world, it’s hard to find a quiet place. We are besieged by emails, texts, and phone calls. Social media calls to us constantly begging for our attention. Our jobs hunt us down after hours to find solutions and our families deserve our time as well. It can be hard to find that place where we find peace among the craziness of life, but it does exist.

David looked for it as well. He didn’t have a cell phone ringing or a boss demanding over time. He had people who were hunting him down to kill him. He lived a lot of his life on the run. He was either being chased or was chasing someone. On top of that, add in that he was running a country. He was a very busy person, yet he longed for that quiet place of peace as well. He wanted a place where he could just rest.

In Psalm 27:3, he describes a little bit of his situation and how it makes him feel. He wrote, “When besieged, I’m calm as a baby. When all hell breaks loose, I’m collected and cool” (MSG). For most of us, we can’t identify with those statements. When we are besieged by our todo list, we are not calm as a baby. We are stressed. When everything seems to come apart at once, we aren’t cool and collected. We become frantic at the situation with no solution. How could David be this way in those situations? He found his quiet place of peace.

In the next few verses, David writes, “I’m asking GOD for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic.” He knew that prayer was essential in finding that peace in the storm of life. When we pray, we acknowledge God is in control, even when we aren’t.

He also mentioned meditating on God’s beauty was as well. It’s not enough to just pray. We have to keep our mind on God throughout the day in order to stay in that place. The other thing he did was to study at God’s feet. He made the time to study God’s Word. Knowing what God says and understanding how it applies to your life is critical in finding that place of peace. Stress comes from not being able to balance everything on our plate and losing control of our life. Peace comes from knowing God is in control and then leaving the outcome to Him.

David ends this Psalm with the a way to find confidence in God that comes from the faith that knows God is in control of your life. “I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with GOD! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with GOD.” He gives himself a reminder in the chaos. He wants his mind to stay with God instead of wandering away to all the what if’s. He also reminds himself not to quit or give up. He knows that if we stick with God in every situation, we will find that quiet place of peace.

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The Importance Of Rest

I like to jokingly tell people, “I’m the busiest person I know.” My life, like so many people’s is full of coming and going. Home it seems is just the place you go to sleep at night. Between work, family, friends, and ministry life can get so busy that it’s hard to stop and eat. Most days you plow through work, answer emails, solve problems, get on conference calls, head home, go to a family event, or visit with friends or someone in need. Life is rarely quiet, but that’s just what we need.

Early in Jesus’s ministry, He sent the disciples out two by two. He gave the authority to cast out demons, to heal the sick, and to preach the Gospel. They went from town to town doing just that. Before long, Jesus was a household name in that region. People would come from miles around just to hear Him speak or to get healing for themselves or a loved one. Jesus and the disciples were finding it hard to take a break from ministry.

Mark 6:31 records an interaction between Jesus and the disciples that we can learn from today. It says, “Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest a while.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat” (NLT). Sound familiar? Jesus lived a busy life just like you and I do. The difference? He understood the importance of rest.

The Blue Letter Bible defines the rest Jesus was talking about as, “To cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength.” Jesus gives you and me permission to take a break and to rest from our ministry and our busy lives. He knows that at times you need to go to that desolate, technology-free, communication-free place in order to recover and collect your strength. There is much work to do, but you’re going to need your strength to be effective in doing it.   

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