A couple of years ago, I was driving in the car alone, when a song came on Air1 that really caught my attention. I remember being overwhelmed in that moment. I was out and about, trying to get a million things done. The song was super fast paced in the first verse, and the lyrics were naming off the millions of things a person had to get done. I remember thinking of how much I related to the person that the lyrics were describing. And then all of a sudden the chorus came in. It said…
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
All I remember in that moment was a feeling of relief came over me. I don’t really know why exactly. If I was to guess, it was because I was reminded that it is okay to slow my mind down. It’s okay to slow down, and give myself a break. It’s okay for you to do the same.
But so many times, we tell ourselves that it isn’t okay to slow down. We are constantly caught up in a fast-paced society that doesn’t bring true joy. We may have satisfaction in ourselves when we cross another thing off our to-do-list, but it doesn’t bring us fulfillment. After one thing is crossed off, our mind is just on to the next. Honestly, with living like this, how does our mind ever get a break? Instead of living in the present, we tend to get a mindset where all we think about is what we have to get done in the future.
When the coronavirus shut life down as we once knew it, we were forced to do something that we don’t know very well. Slow down. I didn’t even know how to begin to face this new found reality. I honestly can’t remember the last time in my life where I actually took time to slow down. It took some training of my mind to come to peace with it all. At first, I found myself having little stress episodes because I felt like I was always forgetting to do something or be somewhere. I had lived so long constantly having my mind on everything I had coming up that I forgot how to just live in the present. I would get little stress episodes because my mind was confused. It was confused that I wasn’t going from this place to that place. I didn’t have anywhere to be, and it took my mind sometime to get used to that.
The fact that it is hard to slow down isn’t surprising but definitely is problematic. We live in society that trains are minds to not be content in the present. We are constantly living in our past and future, but when do we even take time to live in the present? We live in our regrets of our past and desires for the future. Living like this is draining. I would know because I’ve been there, and I feel like most people have been in this place. If we would focus on the present, we would definitely free our minds from the fast-paced trap that we all seem to fall into. Instead of looking at our mishaps in the past and the million things we have to do in the future, we can put those aside and focus on the moment we’re in. Think of how much baggage and worry that would take out of your every day life. It’s insane the impact that living in the present can have on your life. It allows your mind to truly slow down.
Another realization I’ve had over the years is that your worth is not determined by the number of to-dos on your to-do-list. Your worth is given to you by God, and it claims you as priceless. It’s always been a terrible habit of mine to compare my schedule to others and base my worth off of that. For some reason, I’ve engrained this thought into my head that if I’m not as busy as another person, then I’m clearly just not living a life worth living. But that way of thinking is wrong. Pick your own pace that allows you to have the time to slow down and concentrate on the parts of life that are actually important. We need to make our faith the priority, not success. We need to make our relationships a priority, not being perfect in all that we do. We need to strive to do our best, but we don’t need to get ourselves to the place where we shut people out because we put all of our time and effort into being perfect in things that will not follow us to heaven.
A couple of years ago, I went to a church camp that named the theme of the week, “Sabbath”. If you don’t know what the Sabbath is, it is God’s command to us to rest. God created the world in seven days and on the seventh, God rested. It’s, in my opinion, one of the most vital days of creation. God taught us, by example, the importance of taking time to rest. The week of church camp, where we were learning about this, I remember one of the leaders asking the question of how we practice the Sabbath in our own lives? I hope you give this question some thought and answer it honestly. My honest answer was, I don’t practice it at all. I never give myself time to rest because my priorities lie in what I have to do next. I definitely have not gotten much better at practicing the Sabbath, but I’ve really tried to be better at giving myself the rest that God commands. God commands rest because God loves us. God knows what we need because He created every inch of us. He knows that we are creatures that are designed to slow down. Rest is a beautiful and life-giving gift from God.
I hope you’ve learned the importance of slowing down and living in the present during this pandemic. I will say that I’ve seen parts of people that I never even knew existed. People have discovered their talents and have been sharing them with the world. I see people sharing their voice through music, drawing beautiful art, and finding new found passions that they didn’t even know that they had. The simple answer to this is we were forced to slow down. We have had time to explore parts of us that we didn’t know were there.
Here’s a thought for the day: Maybe God commands rest in order for us to discover who we are. Don’t miss out on that opportunity by prioritizing your to-do-list.
‘”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”‘ – Matthew 11:28
“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” – 1 John 2:17