When I was in seminary (graduate school for people called by God to public ministry), I broke my foot.
If you’ve ever broken a bone, you know painful it can be. But even more than that, you know how inconvenient it can be. Simple actions that you could do with no problem before now take a ton of time or can’t be done at all.
I had to learn how to use crutches and do a “tripod walk” with a boot. It took me forever to get anywhere. As someone who was used to shoving as many things into my schedule as I could, it was amazingly frustrating.
When I was particularly upset about the inconvenience of my broken foot (and had complained for an extended period of time), a classmate of mine asked me a question that changed everything.
“Where do you see God in this?” she asked me.
In a snarky mood, I retorted quickly: “Well, clearly God wants me to slow down!”
And as my classmate sat back with a knowing smile on her face, I realized that I had actually spoken truth to myself. God hadn’t broken my foot, of course, but God was using my time of waiting and healing to show me something important.
I had been living life at 100 mph, and it was time to slow down.
After that powerful conversation with my classmate, I found myself gravitating towards this specific Bible verse over and over:
Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in all the earth.Psalm 46:10
Many of us live life in a whirlwind of scheduled commitments and busyness. In fact, society encourages it. Busyness is seen as a badge of honor. If you’re busy, it means you’re important, and what you do matters.
But God offers us a different way of life. How are we to be still and listen for God if we are never still?! How are we to exalt God and put God first when everything else in our lives crowds into our time?
God is inviting us into a slower life, one with less busyness and more time to be still.
What’s Most Important?
How can we live into God’s invitation for a slower life? The Christian minimalist lifestyle is a good place to start. If we focus on the aspects of life that matter most and intentionally remove everything else, we naturally simplify our schedules and how we use our time and energy.
Start by making a list of everything that you spend time doing in a typical month. This list will include both scheduled time commitments, as well as how you spend your time when it isn’t officially scheduled (like media usage, family time, etc).
As you look at this list, ask yourself– which of these things match what is most important to me, and how God is calling me to use my time and energy?
Now, cross out those things that are not most important to you, that are not in line with what God wants for you. Give yourself permission to let go of those time suckers, to have more time to be still with God and focusing on what matters most.
Why We Were Made
God did not create us to run full-speed through life, never noticing God’s actions. We were made to listen for God and get on board with what God is doing. We are not able to do that if we are constantly running between things, never paying attention to God.
How is God inviting you to slow down and be still?
Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We would like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing though some stages of instability – and that it may take a very long time. Above all, trust in the slow work of God, our loving vine-dresser.Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
*If you want some more practical steps on how to slow down and simplify your schedule, check out this short article.*
Note: This is an updated version of a post that was previously posted on the Christian Minimalism blog in 2018.
Did you like this post? Check out the Christian Minimalism book!