Love doesn’t rush. God has been teaching me to slow down lately. If you have ever met me you know how absolutely excruciating that is, but it’s necessary. This lesson was a long time coming.
When God’s will doesn’t match my expectations, I can choose to challenge or trust His plans for me. I have seen this in my character over time: when my grandmother died, when I hit my 30s still single, when I got a call from an estranged family member wanting money and threatening to hurt themselves. When circumstances and relationships don’t turn out the way I had hoped – I am disappointed, but God slows me down so I can see HIS bigger picture.
When God slows me down it’s not a punishment but His loving mercy. He uses it to expose the things deep in my heart that I don’t want to deal with. He’s digging deeper, in his compassion, to help me heal and grow. He uses it to transform me, not just temporary change but lasting change. He exposes what it is that I am chasing and my motives.
Often times in my disappointment or pain I chase accomplishments, achievements or the affirmation of people to fill me in ways only He can. He holds me accountable for my choices but in His loving mercy He also comforts me in my pain.
Physical pain slows us down. If we try to move quickly while in pain it just hurts more. I recently end-up in the hospital on an IV. It was scary. Just when I wanted to pick my pace back up, I was forced to slow down, to a grinding halt. I’ve learned it’s similar with my soul. Trying to move quickly when my soul is hurting only hurts more. Reading Lysa Terkurst’s new book and specific scriptures has taught me that in these moments, slow becomes necessary. Slow becomes good. Slow is the only way through even though I want to sprint.
Lysa TerKeurst wrote, “Feelings are indicators not dictators.” I couldn’t have learned this lesson or the difference between the two without slowing down.
Slowing down invites me to be more deliberate about my thoughts and actions. I can slow down enough to see the thoughts that lead to the emotions. I can slow down enough to practice compassion with myself. Enough to make choices where previously I felt taken hostage by emotions. And…enough for my feelings to become indicators rather than dictators.
Jeremiah 2:25 (MSG) “ Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway? But you say, “ I can’t help it. I’m addicted to alien gods. I can’t quit.…”
Jeremiah 2 is filled with so much love yet simultaneously hard truths. When we know God’s character to be first and foremost love this read is so powerful and I encourage you to go and read the entire chapter. Here is this all-knowing God aching in disappointment over me rejecting His perfect love over imperfect things that just leave me more thirsty.
Jer2 (NLT) 13“They have abandoned me— the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!”
Have you ever tried to fill yourself with something and it just comes up empty? You got the new job, degree, relationship, hit a personal record at the gym, and yet were still left craving more? They all fell short and didn’t fill you for long. You wanted more, or next… the next thing would be better, but it never is.
When I look to anything but God’s perfect love to fill me I am left wanting more. I lose sight of how He sees me and I forfeit God’s peace. God knows that we are not meant to be filled by these other things. When I turn to God for my fill I can enjoy all those other things in right perspective and balance, bringing me joy without me seeking my identity in them. God’s love disarms the resentments I allowed to built up and allows His peace to begin to enter the deeper parts of my heart.
Ps37:7 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way…”
I want to run but God in His compassion slows me down. He asks me to be patient with myself. He’s ok with me asking ‘why’ as long as I am ok with His answer being, “You my dear, don’t need to know right now what my plan is, you just need to trust it is good. I have you. I have every single person you love. Lean into me, Trust me, slow down so you can hear me and feel my presence.”
As I walked with friends recently I found myself falling behind the group instead of leading the way. I paused and smiled. I hadn’t run ahead. I wasn’t in front. I was behind. The view was different. The perspective was different. I felt all the joy and all the pain. I saw and heard everything around me so much more. It was as if someone had turned on the high definition. I was going slow and it was ok. I am going at the exact pace God wants me to go right now and that, that is better by far.
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