Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Leftovers

I spent most of today editing my sorry attempt at a book, and as much as I love writing, I am feeling a bit weary from it. I didn't know I could tire of text. Believe it or not, my well of words has run dry. 

So I instead of composing something new tonight, I'll just put out some leftovers. This is a portion of the book that has been cut from the manuscript. I hope you like it!

I am a “Ready. FIRE! Aim” person, more interested in action than accuracy. As you can imagine, this can get me into trouble. I once promised my young son a fabulous adventure traveling by train. When we arrived at the station for our departure, I learned that I had bought bus tickets by mistake. I had one very disappointed little boy on my hands, and I wasn't too thrilled about it either. Another time I accidentally bid $2500 for a Lego set on eBay. Oops! I've gotten my car stuck on railroad tracks. Really stuck. And I've never successfully packed my own suitcase. Somehow details like prescription drugs, underpants, and toothbrushes escape me. My husband has a lot of grace.

It seems my life is more about speed than direction; but thankfully God has opened my eyes to the problem and he has graciously been slowing me down.

It began one day when I was sitting in a friend’s kitchen drinking a cup of coffee while she tended to her breakfast dishes. We were having a nice conversation, but I was distracted by her washing. She carefully lowered plates and bowls into the sudsy water and she seemed be caressing them with the cloth. Her movements were gentle, deliberate, and slow. I was captivated because when I do dishes I do them quickly, like a whirling dervish, often breaking things in the process. I don’t dawdle over the task, I charge through it. I never considered dish washing—or any other chore, for that matter—something to be savored.

But as I watched my friend, I began to wonder if maybe I was missing something by always rushing through life. Is there pleasure to be found in the mundane tasks that I approach with disdain? And perhaps fewer broken plates as well?

While I willingly accept the plans that God puts before me in any given day, I tend to reject his pace. Proverbs 19:2 says, “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.” Zeal? I have it! Hasty? That’s me! Miss the way? Sadly, yes. Another version of this same verse says, “He who hurries his footsteps errs.” The word that is translated as “errs” is “châtâ’” in Hebrew, and could also be translated as “sins.” This does not mean that it is a sin to hurry; rather, that when I hurry, I often end up sinning. Or breaking dishes.

So I am learning to move through my days at God’s pace, matching the rhythm of my steps to his. If I pay attention, I can sometimes sense the weight of his hand on my shoulder, gently giving me pause in moments when I am tempted to rush. Responding to his touch, I change my posture. I slow my speech. I choose to wait. I still to listen. I linger over a much-needed hug.  And I find that his pace is far superior to mine. Food tastes better, conversations are richer, colors are brighter, relationships are stronger.

Learning to live an unhurried life will be an on-going journey for me. I fear that “fast” is my default setting. But a patient God accompanies me on the path, giving grace in the process. 

4 comments:

  1. Don't know why this had to be cut...it is wonderful! Thanks for sharing your leftovers. :)

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    1. Thanks, Mara. I'm sure there will be more leftovers in the future!

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  2. That was beautifully put. I'm not necessarily a fast-moving person, but I still don't tend to slow down enough to savor things. I love how His Spirit constantly guides and teaches us, even in things like slowing down enough to savor His blessings.

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    1. Thanks Kelsey! Fun to hear form you. :)

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