By: Amy Dalke
I took a walk the other day. Which is not breaking news material, but just roll with it and hope that I actually have a point to this excitement.
First of all, a leisurely walk doesn’t quite fit into my category of Favorite Things To Do. I would rather run and get finished much faster.
But when my mentor suggested a meditative walk, I was all for it, since physical movement during meditation was preferable to sitting still (boring) for any length of time. Plus it would knock out two items on my list: exercise and meditation.#fantastic (FYI: I quickly learned that a meditative walk does not count as exercise. At all.)
Anyhow. On Thursday morning last week, I grabbed my shoes and my phone; and stepped outside to call Ruthann (my mentor), who would lead me on this meditation walk over the phone.
Once we got going, Ruthann instructed me to pay attention to the rhythm of my steps: “…as you walk, think ‘step’ with your left foot, and ‘place’ with your right foot.”
S t e p a–n–d P l a c e.
S t e p a–n–d P l a c e.
I could already tell this would be a riveting half hour it we kept up this slo-mo pace.
My mind moved at a much faster clip than my feet: Is this a joke? I look like a moron. Please God don’t let anyone look out their window right now.
It was just awkward, y’all.
After 3-4 minutes of fumbling through the rhythmic pauses with my slow motion feet, Ruthann read Psalm 23 to me. She read each phrase deliberately and paused between each one so that my mind had time to soak in the words.
That part was all great. The only problem was that we were now about 7 minutes into this meditative walk, and we had 23 to go. What in the world?! I had a laundry list of things to accomplish, and for crying out loud, I had no business taking a walk at 8:30am on a weekday morning.
My brain was screaming at me: You don’t have time for this. Don’t you know that success skips over weekday morning walkers? Who does this? Retirees, that’s who. And monks. And last time I checked you were neither. You have Greek to learn, a kitchen project to clean, and a guest post to write by next week.
That mental exchange went on for about 5 minutes. (Maybe shorter, but only God knows, since the whole walk felt like a lifetime from my perspective.)
Nonetheless, I finally did settle into a calm state after a soft whisper echoed powerfully over all my frantic notions:
“In My presence there is fullness of joy. Maybe your stress tank is overflowing, and your joy tank is empty right now because you aren’t present with Me.”
Well then. Busted. (And that’s a perfect example of why I think Jesus sometimes goes #boom when He calls me out on a thing.) (In a laughing, loving way of course.)
I just don’t know, y’all. I’m beginning to think living slow is key to abiding in Christ. When I really stop to think about it, I rarely discern God’s guidance when I’m hustling to the next thing and the next at lightning speed. Many days are like a sprint, and even when my calendar isn’t crammed from start to finish, I fret over what I should be doing to maximize the time.
If I don’t get still enough to sit before Him and just listen, how do I even know whether it’s His voice or my own directing all the traffic in my head?
Often, Jesus is sort of like a carpool partner. Once it’s time to get my day rolling, I drop Him off so that I can focus on all the things that are important.
What good does all our hurry do if we miss Jesus in the madness?
I’m not suggesting we go all pioneer days and ditch our Cozi calendars and iPhones altogether. But I am saying that scripture doesn’t portray a hustling, stressed out Jesus.
If we truly aim to be more like Him…we might do well to slow our roll…and pay attention to the Right Now.
A rhythm adjustment might jar us at first, sort of like awkwardly pausing between each step. And our neighbors might look out the window and think we’re weird.
But if keeping up the culture’s stressy-rushy pace means we’re too busy “accomplishing” All The Things to notice how God shows up all around us, then perhaps it’s time to reset our rhythm to the original factory settings.
After all, we were made for the holy, not the hurry.
What does your hurry look like? How does it feel?
What does it look like to slow down? What does that feel like?