I am not a slow person. I like to keep things moving, figuratively and practically (I get annoyed when people drive below the speed limit). My top two strengths from the Strengthsfinder test are Belief and Achiever, followed by Responsibility. This means that if I believe in something, I will go to nearly any lengths to accomplish what needs to get done in order to see that thing through. I have a high value for accomplishing things, getting stuff done, and doing them well–and responsibly.
But this weekend, I slowed down. Way down. It was the first weekend in months that I did not have papers to grade, lesson plans to write, a writing deadline to meet, or a ministry event to attend. And instead of resorting to my usual default mode, which includes trying to get ahead with work, ministry, or the house, I rested. I spent time with my family. We played Sequence and Catch Phrase. When Ella napped on Saturday afternoon, I took a nap, too. And then I did the same thing on Sunday afternoon. When the weather was nice yesterday (glory, glory, hallelujah), rather than go on a run with Ella in the jogging stroller, I decided to enjoy the day and walk—slowly—around the neighborhood and up to the park. Michael joined me after his meeting ended and we walked in looping circles together while Ella sat contentedly and watched the world roll by.
I needed to slow down. I spend a lot of time moving, going, working, pushing. I needed to pull back and remember that I can’t do it all. I can’t even do most of it. My life is not a race. It is a relationship with God and those I love.
And relationship requires slowing down. As we inch our way closer to Easter, yet still situated in this season of Lent, I am remembering lines from Psalm 127:2.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Sleep. Rest. Lack of anxiety. Those can’t come from naps and slow walks—the internal rest and peace that I need can only come from God’s presence in my life, from trusting him with all of the things I can never achieve or accomplish.
But naps and slow walks this past weekend reminded me that I don’t have to always be doing and pushing and working. I can rest in God. I can trust him. And although there are many seasons in which there is much that must get done, sometimes I can take a nap and remember who is really in control. It’s not me.