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Have you ever struggled with being slow? Did you ever wish that you were speedier and arrived at the finish line of a project or competition quicker?
There have been innumerable occasions when I’ve bemoaned the fact that I’m slow. For example, when I was in elementary school, I was almost the slowest runner in my class. That wasn’t enjoyable at Field Day every year, nor when I was often tagged out in a kickball game. In high school, I was one of the slowest members on my basketball team – eventually, I lumbered my way down to where I was supposed to be.
I’m also a slow reader. I have friends who read three or four books to every one book that I get read. Sometimes, my friends try to help me feel good about my reading speed by telling me that I’m thorough and that I have amazing comprehension or retention. Maybe that’s true, but the reality is that I’m a slow reader.
While I’ve often thought that being slow wasn’t good, I’m also seeing that there are some good benefits to speeds that are less than zippy. For example, with my slow reading, I find that I absorb and digest stuff, specifically from the Bible, more thoroughly. Being slow with reading the Bible also helps me to have deeper insights and reflections. To this end, I purposefully slow down even more (reading the Hebrew or Greek) so that I can more wholly be present with what I’m reading rather than blazing past the content in high accomplishment mode.
I’m also coming to appreciate that being slow in my relationships can help me to avoid hurts and misunderstandings that I’ve often experienced with hasty friendships. Indeed, some of my best relationships have the longest runways. In contrast, my speedy friendships have often included hurtful conflicts and poor communication.
To this end, I think it’s really helpful to keep a long game perspective in our relationships, particularly with God. The long game can be more rewarding in contrast to short term transactions and pious compliances. Being with God can often be more fulfilling in the long run, than various short term speedy accomplishments.
Finally, with all this consideration related to speed and being slow, I’m reminded of what it says in Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” While we don’t know exactly what was happening to David when he wrote this Psalm, we see David acknowledging God to be his help, protection, strength and hope throughout all of this Psalm. David’s final words, in verse fourteen, emphasize waiting on God.
It’s important for us to spend some moments thinking about David’s words, where he tells us to wait on God. This is essential because we live in a “microwave world” where speed and efficiency are tools for accomplishment and value. But let’s recognize and value that taking time, marinading, waiting, slowing down and both reflective and methodical pacing are vital ingredients for both maturation and a deeply satisfying life. Sometimes, speed can be the enemy to deep fulfillment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah Bowling is on a mission to connect every one with the heart of God while loving those who are overlooked, excluded, and ignored. Her unshakable conviction that unconditional love transforms everything, permeates every message, and connects individuals to the heart of God. Sarah aspires to facilitate this connection by equipping people with resources and tools that empower them to walk in an intimate and vibrant relationship with God. Author of the book Hey God, Can We Talk?
Sarah is a powerful scholar and spirit-led teacher with a gift to articulate and connect God's life-giving revelation to our modern moment. Her passion takes her many places around the world to bring lasting change to each of us with the transforming love of God. Sarah also co-hosts a daily television program, Today with Marilyn & Sarah.