The Inspiration of a Sloth: Slowing Down Life   6 comments

I’m in my car at 4:30.  The seat is tilted back, and the windows are cracked just a bit.  Rain patters the window.  I am in my driveway listening to a book.  It’s a little bit of respite for me.

This morning I read Mark Batterson‘s words:

Guarding the margins of your life–in other words, managing your schedule in a way that you have time to read, time to pray, time to dream–is really guarding your heart.

and I found myself thinking – yes, that’s what I’m learning to do again – read, pray, dream.  I’m not very good at that, especially when life isn’t going the way I think it should be.  My normal reaction is to do more, get busier, try harder.  But of late, I feel the Spirit saying to me, “Slow down, Andi.  Listen.  You don’t need to do anything.  I’ve got this.”

Who knew sloths were so cute?

A few years ago I read a book called New Way to Be Human by musician Charlie Peacock. He talks about a conversation he had with his wife where she tells him he’s so busy he won’t have time to respond if something bad happens, and if a good thing comes along unexpectedly, he won’t be able to take advantage of that.  That written conversation really changed me and made me slow down – a lot.

But still, it seems like God is telling me to slow down even more.  As Mark Batterson said, if I don’t slow down, it’s like I’m asking God to follow me rather than me following God.  I make a fairly royal mess of my life when I’m in charge, so I think I need to take this caution and drop it down a gear again.

I’m not sure what this will look like given that I work on my own schedule, don’t have kids, and am not married.  How much slower can I really go?  Maybe I’m going to become a sloth – as my brother points out, they move so slowly moss grows on them.  I like moss.

Seriously, though, even with the lack of potential distractions in my life, I still find ways to spend my mental energy planning, fretting, doing.  It’s my way of avoiding what I really need to see, the things I need to have healed, the relationships I need to build, the whispers God is waiting for me to hear.

So today, I slow down even more.  Anyone know where I can sit and watch sloths for a while?  They might be just the inspiration I need.

 

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6 responses to “The Inspiration of a Sloth: Slowing Down Life

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  1. I feel like this is a message that I have been getting all over the place. My pastor has been challenging me to try to build that time into my life and make hard choices (ones that I don’t want to make in fear of letting people down) about my time.

    But I never thought of it as guarding my heart. But as I think about it, i think i understand.

    Thank you Andi for the shift. Needed that today.

    • You’re most welcome, Nate. A lot of people are telling me that they’re hearing something similar, so maybe we’re part of a larger movement that God is making, asking our culture to curb our busyness. I think I could be into that. Best wishes for your slow down.

  2. So I was always in a rush to finish up college early and start life soon. I graduated in 3 years and applied to physical therapy schools, but didn’t get in. I think it was God’s way of telling me to slow down. I really liked this piece, especially the sloth analogy. This really reminded me of our creative writing class at Cecil.

    –Simony

    • So lovely to see your name, Simony. Life does speed away if we’re moving too fast, I think. So sorry to hear about physical therapy school, but I do hope this slower time gives you perspective and renewed hope. Thanks for reading.

  3. I really needed to “hear” this. I like Mark Batterson’s phrase “guarding the margins of your life.” I’ve really had to focus on that, and it is hard. There is always that exception that either I choose to make or others try to get me to make. Always. Those exceptions that intrude into my “margins” turn into the rule rather than the exception so easily.

    • I absolutely agree, Terri. . . It’s so easy to become consumed by the little stuff . . the stuff that is supposed to take “just a minute.” Here’s to guarding our margins and our passions so that the bigger Plan can come through.

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