Saturday, November 5, 2011

Slowly, Slowly

Hurry is bad for your health. That's one of the few things all health experts agree on.

Everyone is always in a hurry. That's one thing virtually every American citizen agrees on.

If you're not hurrying, you're getting lazy and need to find more to do. That's another thing that modern Westerners agree on. At least our typical behavior says as much. Tell your average professional contact you've been "frantically busy" and chances are the answer will be, "That's great!" Stuffing all the accomplishment one can into life is worn like a badge of honor. We hate it; we acknowledge the health problems it creates; but we'd about as soon die as change.

Accomplishment, and the pride it feeds, is the god of modern America's unofficial state religion.

The real God makes somewhat different demands of us. "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10a). "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me... and you will find rest for your souls" (Mt. 11:29). "You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed" (Lk. 10:41b-42a).

Certain traditional cultures have a charming descriptive phrase for periodic rest breaks: "giving your soul a chance to catch up." Your soul--and the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit.

He will only change us when we stop rushing to force change in ourselves.

(For more on modern life's negative health impact, see the recent Newsweek article, "Andrew Weil's Spontaneous Happiness.")

Slowly, slowly, we are growing
Under God's all-knowing care;
Though we may see little progress,
Yet His work is always there.

Slowly, slowly, God is working
As He shapes each heart and soul;
Let us not become impatient;
In His time He makes us whole.

Slowly, slowly, we are moving
Toward the Land of joy and rest;
When we enter, we will clearly
Know God's speed is always best.

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