Slow Everything Down

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kathy escobar -slow everything down2

I’m a fast person. I type fast. I walk fast. I talk fast. I get tasks done fast. I’m just not a tortoise; I’m definitely a hare. My husband, Jose, always teases me that I can do the same task as him in half the time.

This is a good quality in some ways. I get sh*t done.

But the truth is, speed is not always a good thing.

I often respond to a message fast without thinking it through. I’ll verbally process a conflict or problem immediately, escalating it unnecessarily. I’ll complete a task quickly and then find out that it looks or tastes terrible or it falls apart right away.

Slowing things down is not easy for me, but I’m learning how to do it a little better in this season of my life.

I am trying to wait before I return a call, email, or text that I know has some charge to it.

I am letting a conflict sit for a day or two, so I can think it through before trying to resolve it.

I am learning to write something and then come back to it a few days later to see if it’s actually what I meant to say.

I am more okay taking the longer route to get somewhere, instead of always mapping out the quickest way.

I am practicing slowing everything down.

It’s not the easiest thing for me. It’s pretty brutal  and goes against all my instincts. In fact, I’d call “slowing everything down” a true-blue spiritual discipline.

My reflex is to call, respond, process, move, control, make-it-happen, get-it-done-now-instead-of-waiting.

But I realize that in doing that I am often not trusting the longer story. I am trying to relieve immediate anxiety but actually ending up with more stress. I am controlling a conversation instead of letting it simmer. I am maneuvering life to be on my timetable not the natural rhythm of its own.

This season is one of the busiest seasons of the year for so many. From Thanksgiving to Christmas is often one big fat blur. It’s easy to say “slow everything down” from the comfort of an airplane, where I am writing this post at the moment. It’s easy to say, “Slow everything down,” when I’ve just been on vacation. It’s easy to say, “Slow everything down,” right after a yoga class.

In the moment, if you’re a hare like me, it’s a whole different story.

Holding back our fingers, our mouths, our feet, our hands, even our heart, is so uncomfortable.

Breathing, sitting still, and unplugging from electronics can feel like torture.

Letting a conflict go unresolved for a short period of time while we get our head a little more together, is no small thing.

I will never be a person who can slow everything down. But I can be a person who can slow something down.

That’s what I’m aiming for, what I need God’s help with, what I want to keep practicing.

The season of Advent is about waiting. It’s about anticipation. It’s about not knowing. It’s about not controlling. It’s about the pregnant pause. It’s about Mary living with carrying Jesus and not having any clue how the story was going to turn out. It’s about Joseph taking the next best step and trying to trust. It’s about the Kingdom of God that doesn’t always have to make sense.

Slowing something down does that to us.

It helps us not need to make sense of everything in the moment.

It helps us strengthen our roots to gain the stability we need to do hard things.

It helps us let go a little, instead of holding on so freaking tightly to everything.

It helps teach us things we need to learn that won’t come quick.

As I write this, I am heading to California to pick up my dad who was just diagnosed with terminal cancer. We are bringing him to Colorado to live with us and do home hospice so he can be surrounded with dogs and kids, instead of being alone.

It’s going to be a weird and hard season for us with countless unknowns.

I also know it’s going to force me to slow not just something, but everything down.

I will not be able to work at the pace I’m used to working, to do what I’m used to doing, to live how I’m used to living.

And I know deep in my heart that’s a good thing for me.

I want to keep practicing slowing things down.

I want a little more tortoise and a little less hare.

I want to keep learning what I can learn in the slow, the wait, the in-between.

SheLovelys, some of you might already be a natural at slow, but for those who are hares like me, know you’re in good company.

This season may we practice pausing, waiting, slowing something down.

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Kathy Escobar
Kathy Escobar co-pastors The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver. A trained spiritual director, speaker, and advocate, she also blogs regularly about life and faith at kathyescobar.com and is the author of Faith Shift and Down We Go—Living out the Wild Ways of Jesus. A mom of 5 young adults and teens, she is married to Jose and lives in Arvada, Colorado.
Kathy Escobar

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  • Praying for you right now as you enter these final days with your dad.
    Having my mum in our home slowed me down in ways I did not expect and was not prepared for. It was the hardest thing I had ever done, even though I know it was God’s plan for that season.
    Blessings to you as you learn and lean in the coming days of in-between.