While Slowing may be a spiritual discipline that you are unfamiliar with, it is exactly what it sounds like. Have you ever looked at your teenager and thought “Where did the time go?! I wish time would slow down.” Or been on a vacation and tried to soak in every single minute of beauty and joy that you could? This is slowing. Slowing down allows us to be more present, to end our obsession with busyness, and to create space to check in with ourselves and to hear from God.
This time of year, with the holidays just around the corner and so much to do before then, the spiritual discipline of Slowing seems to be even less attainable than normal, but I’d argue that it might be the best time to start. In a culture that values busyness, slowing down takes intentionality. Some ways to practice slowing are:
- Waking up 10 minutes early so that you can sit down to enjoy your breakfast and coffee
- Driving in the slow lane
- Taking 2 minutes to breathe deeply and fully
- Standing in the longer line at the grocery story
- Lingering over dinner
- Taking a slow walk around your neighborhood, taking the time to notice the briskness in the air, that distinct smell of fall, and the way the leaves on that tree fade from green to gold to red
- Scheduling 10 minutes during your work day to just do nothing
- Building a buffer between meetings so you aren’t running from one thing to the next
Slowing reminds us that we are not what we produce. That we are enough, regardless of what was left undone at the end of the day. That the person in front of us is worthy of our undivided attention for that moment. It creates space for us to talk to God and to hear from him as well. If we are too busy rushing from one thing to the next, it becomes hard to distinguish those little nudges from the Spirit.
This discipline goes against what our culture teaches us, and may be one that takes some getting used to. I would encourage you to stick with it all month long and journal or reflect on your experiences with this practice. Think about how you felt standing in that long line, or what was going through your mind when you were stuck behind that slow driver. Consider how your hurriedness impacts other areas of your life, like your relationships and your self-care. Remember to be kind to yourself; the purpose of this is not to add one more thing to your to-do list or to make you feel guilty. It’s to show you the freedom that can come with slowing down.
Slow down. Take a deep breath. Remember that you are more than what you do.