It has been well over two months since I posted the last installment of thoughts on the 23rd Psalm for the Hurried Life. Time for confession. After posting regularly for a couple of months I fell silent. Not because I had nothing to say but because (wait for it…) I got too busy.
Being busy is a great excuse. I can point to lots of other things I had to do and claim that they were keeping me from what I really should be doing: spending time with the Lord, writing my book, interceding, and posting to my blog. I had some significant changes at work (the company I work for was purchased) and seasonal uptick in work I needed to complete on a deadline. Those things did happen and did compete for my attention, but I still had time for pleasure reading, watching TV, and playing solitaire on my computer. (Here is a clue: if you have time to play solitaire you are not too busy to be doing other things.)
Being busy was an excuse. I was choosing to do many things that made me feel busy. We like to be busy. It makes us feel important. Why else would I be so busy if I wasn’t doing important things? In reality, I was not really any busier than I normally am; I was choosing different priorities. Thinking back to Spinning Plates, I was choosing to focus my attention on other plates I wanted to keep in the air and neglecting the care of my soul and attentiveness to the things the Lord calls me to. I was allowing the urgent to overwhelm the vital.
That is one of the reasons to slow down: to make sure that we are not allowing things that appear to be urgent to drown out things that are vital; to make sure we are paying attention to what is truly important. The last “verse” of the 23rd Psalm for the Hurried Life tells us the harvest we reap when we allow ourselves to be too busy (or keep ourselves too busy!):
Surely stress and fatigue shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall rush past the house of the Lord forever.
When we allow ourselves to be too busy, to live the hurried life, we reap stress and fatigue and we hurry past opportunities to be with our Pops.
When we do slow down enough to be attentive to the leading of our good shepherd we reap a different kind of life:
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
Psalms 23:6 (NLT)
Slowing down, being attentive to our inner lives — to the condition of our souls — allows us to see God’s goodness and his unfailing, covenantal love for us. He invites us to value ourselves enough to step off the treadmill, slow down and care for our souls as he leads, guides, protects and loves us.
Life will not be a bed of roses. Tragedy may still strike. We will still suffer painful losses. But we can know from experience the comfort of the steadfast love the Father has for us, if we slow down enough to seek him and to notice.
It is never too late to start slowing down, to start stepping into more healthful rhythms. There many resources to help you get started. You could keep yourself quite busy reading them all! One I will recommend is Alan Fadling’s Unhurried Living.