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Why You Need to Slow Down, According to Science

Why You Need to Slow Down, According to Science

In 1967, experts on time management delivered a report to the U. S. Senate. These experts believed the speed of technology, satellites and robotics would present a big problem for the American workplace in the years to come.

The problem? People would have too much free time.

They concluded that “By 1985, people might have to choose between working 22 hours a week, 27 weeks a year, or retiring at 38.”

Good call, “experts.” If I had a time machine, I would fire all of you.

Almost 50 years later, we’re moving faster than ever. We’re obsessed with being busy and getting things done quickly. Our pace is out of control.

If we compare our pace to the pace of Jesus’s life, there aren’t many similarities. Jesus was never rushed. He wasn’t overwhelmed by life, even though He had an enormous mission to complete in a very short period of time.

Jesus never rushed, because He moved at God’s pace. You see, hurry isn’t from God. It’s the world’s pace.

Culture’s obsession with busyness and hurriedness isn’t just a scheduling problem. It’s a heart problem. It’s time to consider what a hurried life is costing us:

1. A Hurried Life Destroys Your Relationship With God

Wing Mandao, a Chinese pastor, said, “We have so much to do that we never really commune with God as He intended in the Garden of Eden.”

Intimacy with God requires stillness, attentiveness and silence. You must get off life’s busy freeway to grow closer to God.

Jesus frequently removed Himself from the world. He spent time alone in prayer and solitude. And in these moments, Jesus received the strength to fulfill His mission, the confidence to continue His mission, and the wisdom to discern the ways of God from the ways of the world.

Unless you spend extended periods of time alone with God through prayer, solitude and sabbath, the speed of the world will skew your understanding of God. Anxiety, unrest and discontentment will hover over your life like a dark storm cloud.

As Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

2. A Hurried Life Decreases Your Capacity to Love Others

It’s not a coincidence that the great love passage, 1 Corinthians 13, begins with “Love is patient.” Love isn’t easily angered. Love doesn’t leave at the first sign of trouble. It doesn’t rush to judgment.

In The Rhythm of Life, Matthew Kelly says relationships can only thrive under “carefree timelessness.” And this is something hurried people don’t have. The more you increase the speed of your life, the less capacity you have to love others.

Considering the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others, you need to consider whether your hurried life is costing you more than you realize.

3. A Hurried Life Increases the Power of Temptation

Through temptation, Satan tries to decrease the time between impulse and action. And, in our instant gratification culture, Satan has masterfully deceived people.

So many of my mistakes—sex before marriage, stealing, drunkenness, porn addiction—are the result of looking for instant gratification.

When you nurture patience and learn to wait, you trust God to give you the things in time that Satan says you need now.

4. A Hurried Life Numbs You to Injustices

As Kirk Jones said, “Hurry is a desensitizer, snuffing out moments of intimacy with life to the point that we get used to living day after day with little deep feeling.”

When your life moves at freeway speed, you have no time or energy to consider the world outside of your lane. You become desensitized or unaware of brokenness in the world. Your heart becomes calloused to the things that break God’s heart—the Syrian refugee crisis, the abortion of millions around the world, the heinous treatment of God’s people by ISIS.

God’s heart breaks for injustice and oppression. If your heart doesn’t break for the things that break God’s heart, it’s time to slow down and consider the world outside of your life.

5. A Hurried Life Increases Narrow-Mindedness and Legalism

In today’s world, information is at your fingertips. Any podcast from almost any preacher can be accessed with a few clicks. You can purchase books with your phone. Type in any question, Google will answer it in seconds.

With all this information, you would think Christians would know more about God than ever. But that’s just the problem. Information teaches you about God, but it doesn’t connect you to Him.

Information increases knowledge. But knowledge alone leads to legalism.

Truly knowing God requires discernment and wisdom. These grow incrementally through reflection, solitude, prayer and Christ-centered community. The difference between knowledge and wisdom is the difference between the disciples, having minimal knowledge about God but recognizing Jesus when He approached them, and the Pharisees, having a wealth of knowledge but crucifying Jesus when He approached.

6. A Hurried Life Clouds Your Purpose and Diminishes Your Passion

“Purpose” is a trendy word in today’s culture. It’s also more elusive than the Loch Ness Monster.

In a hurried culture, your life’s purpose is determined by what you do. It’s all about what you can see. What you can hold.

But God’s idea of purpose isn’t about doing. It’s about becoming.

You can do good things for God. But if those good things don’t flow from a relationship with God, discovering your purpose will feel a lot like looking for a two-legged unicorn.

So, think about these questions: Are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control increasing in your heart? Are you a man or woman of integrity? Are you trustworthy? Do the people who know you most respect you?

A hurried life looks externally for answers to life’s big questions. But a life at God’s pace looks internally for these answers.

Your life’s pace matters. Unless you move at God’s speed, you won’t see the world through God’s lens. It’s time to slow down.

I don’t believe God is impressed with an exhaustion. He isn’t glorified when you take on so many responsibilities that your soul floods with unrest and discontentment. Feeling burnt out isn’t a badge of faithfulness.

Take your foot off the gas. Slow down.

This article was originally published on Used with permission.

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