By Jess Robichaud
The art of slow is largely unappreciated in our fast-paced culture. But you can learn to master the art of slow and gain extra peace in your life.
Struggling to Master the Art of Slow
I truly believe that one of the greatest lies the enemy tells us is that we need to do all the things, right now. For me, this is a lie with which I really struggle.
Right now, life is requiring a lot from me. I’m managing about 50 different plates and feel an immense responsibility to hold them all.
I finally had a break down a week ago after not having a day off for about three weeks. I was feeling symptoms of depression. I was irritable and I felt distant from God, my husband, and my family. I felt isolated and alone.
To some degree I still struggle with this lie and hold it tightly as truth. Is this something you are experiencing too?
If we embrace this lie, then we forget Who is really in control. Or at least, who SHOULD be.
Mastering the Art of Slow
Are you ready to make a change with me? To intentionally slow down and hand the load over to God? Let’s go!
First, let me be clear. This doesn’t mean letting go of personal responsibility. You have a part to play and God has a part to play. The question that we have to ask ourselves though is if we are taking over God’s part.
Here are seven ideas for mastering the art of slow to get the rest you desperately need.
- Take time with Jesus each day.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
We need to keep coming back to making Jesus the center of our lives and the Person who fuels our day. He is the only one who can bring true peace and rest.
- Make a to-do list and prioritize.
Make a list of the things that are an absolute necessity and let go of the things that can wait. Not everything on your list has to get done. Some things really can wait. Ask yourself the question, “What’s below the line?”
- Ask for help.
Many women struggle to ask for help, including myself. Give yourself permission to ask for help. Ask your husband or kids to help with dishes or laundry. Ask someone to watch your kids for an hour so that you can get a cup of coffee and read your book.
- Recognize that sometimes, good enough is okay.
I can sometimes get so caught up in the desire to do something perfectly that I get trapped in the perfection spiral, which produces shame and guilt. It’s okay to let that go and simply accept it as good enough. This may mean that you forgo a night of veggies and baked salmon for a PB&J because it is simply easier and takes less brain power. Friend, with the stress that it removes for you, the PB&J sandwich may be the best tasting meal you and your family have ever had.
- Schedule some time to yourself.
Whether or not I feel that I “need” a day off, I still need to take it. I can go for quite awhile without a break and I can push through, but eventually I will feel the impacts of that. It’s very important to schedule time off to relax even when we don’t have an immediate need to have it. The hope is that we slow things down and have relaxation embedded into our life so that we won’t have an immediate need.
- Take time to laugh.
Play is so important. Take time to laugh, giggle, and bring out your inner child. This lightheartedness will help sustain you through the difficult days.
- Read a book.
I have a confession. I really like television. I love a good reality show, a good FBI drama, or a comedy. But I will tell you, this doesn’t seem to slow down time. If anything, if I’m watching television, time seems to slip away.
My husband and I have made a pact this year that we will decrease our television intake and increase our book intake. I can’t tell you what a world of difference this has made. The past few weekends we have spent a few hours reading and it has slowed things down in amazing ways.
Here is the honest truth. If you don’t take time to intentionally slow down, you will not be able to sustain the amount on your plate. You will burn out. Taking time to slow down will help us to persevere and continue on the path that God has called us to walk.
Remember, this journey isn’t solely up to you. God has a big part here. If we don’t take time to rest, pursue Jesus, and slow down, then we are essentially saying that we don’t need God. Being intentional about rest and the art of slow helps us keep the perspective that God is ultimately in control.
Wife step: Which of the seven steps can you add into your life today to intentionally slow down?
Jess is passionate about helping couples have an awesome marriage built on the foundation of Christ. Out of their own marriage struggles, Jess and her husband, Adam, founded Radiant Marriage to challenge and encourage couples towards deep levels of intimacy with each other and with the Lord. Jess is also a licensed associate marriage and family therapist where she walks with couples through trauma to bring healing. Together with her husband, their main goal is to radiate the love of Christ and bring hope to couples in the midst of difficulty.