If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I like efficiency. (It’s the hallmark trait of an Enneagram 3).
The faster I work, the more I get done. If I get more done, I’m more likely to be seen, recognized, successful, valuable. Or so the logic goes.
And so, I move quickly.
I drive, as I like to say, like I’m trying to lose someone. Not super fast, but fast enough.
Despite never taking a typing class, I type quickly (and with terrible form I imagine, but it gets the job done).
Each week, I speed through my housework like a Tasmanian Devil.
I dare you to keep up with me at the airport. Or anywhere, for that matter. I’m short, but I’m fast.
Grocery shopping. Packing my bags. You name it-I guarantee I am mentally calculating how to get it done as fast as possible.
It’s like I’m playing a game of “whoever does more wins.” Faster feels better. It feels like winning.
I don’t do slow.
Or at least, I historically haven’t. God started me on a journey in the spring of reclaiming space in my life. Turns out it’s more than just doing less. It’s doing less at a slower pace. Living an unhurried life.
I’m learning that having less in my schedule doesn’t necessarily mean my soul is taking life at a slow pace.
As Mark Buchanan says in The Rest of God, we are meant to sabbath, “not just a day, but as an orientation, a way of seeing and knowing.” Slow is not just about time, but it’s an attitude, a way of living.
So lately, I have to ask myself, “What’s wrong with slow, Gina?” What do I gain by all this hurry?
Maybe the better question is: What do I lose?
When I make it my aim to drive as quickly as possible, my body stays in a state of tension. Slow drivers irritate me, my patience wears thin. Other people become nothing more than obstacles. My focus is on my pace, more than anything else around me, including those with me.
When I type quickly, I feel myself ramping up. The, “more is better” lie whispers in my ear.
A day of housework at top speed leaves me exhausted, depleting me of reserves I could have spent elsewhere.
When I race through airports and stores and down the sidewalk, I miss life along the way. I miss the people around me.
And all for a few extra minutes, one more task completed, another email sent.
All this speed makes my soul feel left behind. There’s no space, no rest. Getting more done, getting there sooner, doesn’t guarantee more life, more love, more anything. I’m left impatient, exhausted, and irritated.
For the sake of my soul, I’m choosing slow.
So I’m choosing to drive slower than I could. When someone in front of me is taking their time, I often change my speed to match theirs. There’s a long stretch out to our neighborhood where the speed limit is 55. Recently I found myself barely driving 50 down it. (I used to hate people like me).
I’m slowing my typing too. It’s hard to do-fast habits are hard to break. But there’s a release of tension when I intentionally do slow (bonus: I mistype things less too).
Recently, I flew to Little Rock, Arkansas. When the people in front of me walked like they had all day to get to the gate, I was tempted to swerve around them. Instead, I took a breath and kept walking with them. It was good.
As I make these choices, something unwinds in my soul. Breathing comes easier. I remember I’m not as important as I think I am. I find peace I didn’t know was there.
Now I’m looking for other places where I could do slow. When I feel the temptation to speed, I ask myself what I hope to gain from it. And what I could gain from an unhurried pace instead: patience, gentleness, grace, rest.
Where do you need to be slow?