They say, “Love is slow.”
Really? Slow?! How does “slow” operate in the fast-paced world we live in? Let’s be real – there are things that need to get done (now, not later).
Jesus came to show us how to love. He was able to love slow even while He was in the middle of rescuing the entire world: healing the lepers, giving sight to the blind, casting demons out of two scantily dressed men in the cemetery, etc. Consider the leper. I can’t picture Jesus saying to the leper, “Sorry bro, I just don’t have time; I’ve got another meeting that starts in fifteen minutes” (as He’s checking his text messages).
Jesus never seemed to be in a rush. After a full day of taking care of business (and yes, he would have been physically and emotionally exhausted) Jesus sits down and takes the time to hang out with a bunch of little kids. You think your 5 year old asks a lot of questions? “Why this; why that?” Imagine being the Man that has just walked on water and raised a dead man back to life; you think the kids had a long-list of questions for Jesus? You think he had to say a lot of extra prayers for all of their little individual “boo boos?” Of course, and yet He takes time for them.
In this day and age, “slow” does not get any pats on the back. The culture is exclaiming, “Do more. Do more! Not only is the cultural pace utterly furious, but our own insecurities drive us to compare ourselves to other moms and wives who seem to be accomplishing so much more. It’s our own productivity-driven version of keeping up with the Jones’.
Let’s be honest; nobody remembers the slowest runner in the race. Who finished last in the 800-meter dash in the winter Olympics? I have no idea; and neither do you.
No one browses through Target in search of the slowest hair dryer. The car dealers are not selling the 25 year old the slowest car of the year. The guy at the Apple Store certainly isn’t trying to see you the slowest computer. Your husband and children will rarely say to you, “Just slow down and take your time on getting dinner on the table.”
We have a need for speed. High-speed internet (remember the “dial-up” days?). My husband is on his way to Cedar Point, the largest amusement park in the world. He keeps telling me about this ride that goes 124 miles per hour! If that’s not enough, he and his friends bought a “Super Fast Pass” on top of that that lets them pass everybody else and go to the front of the line every single time!
Fast-drying nail polish, fastest route to a destination on the GPS. Our local crafts store (Hobby Lobby) had Christmas decorations out in July! You can purchase 4th of July and Christmas decorations all at the same time. We rush through seasons and can’t even enjoy them.
When it comes to the kiddos, it’s not much better. I find myself rushing my children through stages of their lives. I couldn’t wait until my babies started sleeping through the night. I rushed them out of diapers. When school was in session, I could not wait for summer. When it was summer, I could not wait for school to start.
Recently, I have been convicted over how quickly I try to put the kids to bed. I have perfected the art of skipping entire pages in books without anyone noticing (don’t act like you haven’t done it). Nobody ends up enjoying the process; it’s stinking pandemonium.
“I just do not feel like I am enjoying the kids!” I tell my husband. The truth is I am not enjoying them because I am rushing. I am viewing them as interruptions in my life. However, by God’s grace, I want to change! I want to slow down and enjoy what God has given me. After all, we only get our little ones for a few short years, and then we look up and they’re gone. The old saying is so true; the days are long, but the years are short.
It always happens; it’s 4:30pm and I am in the process of preparing a somewhat healthy meal for our family (yes, we are old people that eat and go to sleep 2-3 hours before everybody else; don’t hate). In the middle of cutting onion, I hear a scream. Now this isn’t just any scream, this is scream on steroids and sounds of utter chaos – possible toys and/or body parts flying. Now I have the choice: do I intervene, or do I let the three siblings have a “Hunger Games” type of showdown? Is this an interruption? Sadly, most of the time I view such instances as just that – annoying interruptions to my time-sensitive progress. My production is going to be slowed down, the onions will not cut themselves. If my production is slowed down, I have nothing to show for my work. If I have nothing to show for my work, I am a failure.
At the end of the day, God is sovereign and I thoroughly believe that He works all things together for my good. Why do I not believe that all of these distractions and interruptions are for my good? God has allowed this particular “inconvenience” in my life for a reason. He is interrupting me from my “productivity,” because sometimes He is more concerned with producing something in our hearts than He is seeing us produce something in the kitchen.
Have we ever thought about it this way? What if God is the one intentionally forcing us to slow down?
I know we’re after productivity (which seems like such a noble aspiration), but what if genuine and long-lasting productivity was not measured by a to-do list or a spreadsheet? What if the kind of productivity that God values the most means being present(really present) with those around us; slowing down; making eye contact. What if productivity is laughing with our children, picking flowers, reading a good book (not page skipping), another game of hide and seek, or just cuddling? All throughout the New Testament, Jesus models for us this kind of slow love. He valued the person over the project. He valued the soul over the spreadsheet, and the leper over the “list” that was 3 pages long.
Way too much of our life is merely a checklist. When we get it done, we’ve been successful. Six loads of laundry done. Check. Dinner cooked. Check. Discipled young woman. Check. Bible study. Check. Sex. Check.
Ladies, we are probably not going to get any pats on the back for building a stellar Lego castle, but the Lord sees it, and someday our kids will remember it (and be thankful).
Remember moms, our kids are watching us. By watching us, they’re learning something true, or not true, about Jesus. We are just like messy little children. We have nothing to offer Him but our messes and dirty hands, and yet He says, “Come to me.” We are not interrupting Him. He desires to cover us with His love. No, we have not loved those around us perfectly today, but we have a Savior who has loved perfectly. Jesus, please help me to slow down and to rest in the work you accomplished on a bloody tree 2,000 years ago. Jesus, even as you said, “It is finished,” and sat down at the right hand of God the Father, teach me to learn to say, “It is finished” at the end of the day, and to sit down and enjoy your unending love for me, regardless of how much I did or did not “produce” today.