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Starting Slower

Photo Credit: Mark Shutt

(By Michelle Snippe)

Can we just start a little slower this year?

Can we hold space for ourselves as we sift through the old and seek out the new? Can we be gentle and kind to our souls as we search for fresh rhythms? Can we give ourselves permission to reach for a little less rather than so much more? Can we be courageous enough to add a little more margin to life? Can we honor how far we’ve come rather than strive for the ideal of how far we think we should go?

Can we pause and ask questions and listen for their answers?

Listen to God.

Listen to His Spirit.

Listen to His Word.

Can we do these things this year?

I think you want to answer “yes” to every one of these questions. And, I do too. Yet we hesitate. Why?

Because going slow, taking time, and making extra space feels unproductive. It can feel uncomfortable. It’s not what others are doing. And, if we’re really quite honest, it might even feel like failure somehow.

The online world urges us to plan to do more, plan faster, and plan it all in a flashy way so everyone can see just how much we’re accomplishing, because this world wears busyness like a badge. Holds it high like a trophy.

But deep down in the very depths of our souls, what we really want is to plan to do less. To plan at a slower pace. And to plan it all quietly, intentionally, behind closed doors, with God, and without anyone else’s opinion or assessment.

So, what if we did that? What if we didn’t just “want” to answer yes to all the questions but did so, and then dared to follow through?

Would it be that, at the end of the year, we’d regret that we said “no” more often? We’d feel the white spaces in our planners a waste? We’d mourn over not being maxed out?

So many questions, but with such obvious answers.

And those answers are challenging as we stand in this tragic gap between the pressure the world puts on us as it proposes its own ideas of productivity or success and what we know God says it is — and isn’t.

And just as a little reminder: God isn’t particularly impressed by our showy goal successes.

He’s more about the kind of productivity that, for the most part, can’t be seen. The most important productivity. The type that can’t be produced at break-neck speed or by checking off lengthy lists written meticulously with pretty new pens.

But we forget. Because we’re human. And we fall prey to measuring by sight.

Well, maybe this year can be different. Maybe, this year, the goals we jot down in our planners will be only the most important goals. The goals God invites us to prayerfully and humbly pen: fall in love with Him more and become more like Him.

Maybe that’s it, this year. Maybe that’s enough.

Because, through silence, and stillness, and space, and Sabbath spent with Him…this is how He finds the margin to work within us. To transform our own ideals and ideas for our life into His purposes and plans for us that always yield an abundance of His fruit.

And isn’t that what we want most this year? A life overflowing with His fruit?

While I don’t know what your new year will bring, nor mine, I know what I’m bringing to it: the same deep desire David had in Psalm 27:4:

“I have asked one thing from the LORD; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the LORD and seeking Him in His temple.”

One thing, wrapped up in these: dwelling, gazing, seeking.

But, that will require a measured and careful and hard plan that prioritizes the space for this longing.

Yet, at the end of the year, what I want more than a list of accomplishments and “to dos checked off” is the knowledge that I was a woman who went slow and paid attention to my life and allowed God room to transform and grow fruit in it.

Praying you create space for Him to do the same in you, friends.


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