The Spiritual Discipline of Slowing
In Alan Fadling's book An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus' Rhythms of Work and Rest, he talks about something he calls the spiritual discipline of slowing.
For example, sometimes, he chooses the slow lane on the freeway so he can be present in the moment. On those days, it’s not about the destination but the journey. He tries to pay attention to how he feels, then explores possible negative outcomes. In other words, he doesn't run from his thoughts. He mines them.
"When I'm walking, I sometimes choose to walk a bit more slowly," he added. "I try to rediscover the ancient art of strolling. Or when I'm writing an email, I may take a moment to thank the Lord for the person to whom I am writing, or I may ask him to guide my communication."
He also sets aside low- or no-tech times in his schedule. Technology has a way of accelerating his inner life and it makes him too available. He goes on to quote Elton Trueblood: "A person who is always available is not worth enough when he is available."
I've been thinking about that quote. It's so accurate.
I don't answer every phone call or respond to every text or email right away. My slow response isn't rooted in a lack of concern for others. I'm just not capable of being available at all times. Nobody is.
Luke 5:15-16 records a time when Jesus healed a man who had leprosy. As word began to spread about Jesus' ministry, large crowds gathered around him to hear him teach or to seek healing. Verse 16 says, "But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray." He didn't necessarily try to meet every need or heal every sickness. Instead, he prioritized communion with the Father.
Slipping away often seems like a pretty good model.
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