“And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.” (Genesis 1:5)
This gift called time has not changed: it remains one of the few unaltered, original residents of the garden of Eden. Each day still holds roughly twenty-four hours, and each hour still holds approximately sixty minutes as Earth rotates on its axis in obedience to laws too old to be called ancient.
Time, by divine design, is quite composed. Demand it to speed up or beg it to stand still, time will remain steady because it bows to only One. (And we, too, are His servants.)
However, each slow, calm tick of time has ceased to be a sacred reminder of the gift of life (let alone of the Giver of life). Now we view the steady, unhurried ticks as maddening reminders of what is undone.
On the job, the undone may be a task. In our hearts, the undone is us.
In reality, time isn’t the enemy.
Faster isn’t the answer.
Undone isn’t the problem.
And slow is actually part of the solution.
Perhaps the real problem lies not with time but with our expectations. Since information travels at rates approaching the speed of light, we expect transformation to do the same. We want to grow faster and go faster and know faster than ever before. And if faith were a thing—a dead, inanimate thing—perhaps we could hurry it along by upgrading our technology.
Spiritual transformation, however, travels more at the speed of sound. To the point: we grow as we attend to the sound of God’s love.
Welcome to The Sacred Slow!
The Sacred Slow is a path that is both ancient (Enoch knew it) and holy (Jesus epitomized it).
Instead of going from surge to surge in pursuit of increasingly sticky spiritual experiences, The Sacred Slow invites you to willfully live in Him moment by moment by faith. Brother Lawrence described the contrast well:
People seek for methods of learning to love God. They hope to arrive at it by I know not how many different practices. . . . Is it not much shorter and more direct to do everything for the love of God.
This “more direct” route is not remotely a denial of feelings or a dismissal of experiences. But it is a call to revoke the authority we have given our feelings to tell us whether or not God is in the room.
Nor is this more direct route an elitist alternative reserved for certain personalities or professions. This way is open to all! As the sacred weight of slow living builds layer upon layer in our souls, we begin to live aglow from within, lit up in our minds and souls by increasingly continuous intimacy with God.
So what then should we do with our favorite experiences, spiritual boosts, and beloved devotional tools? Enjoy them as you would any gift or privilege! The songs, books, teachings, and conferences are not the real problem. The real problem is our belief that these gifts are how or where we encounter God’s presence.
God is not shyly hiding in the greenroom awaiting just the right atmosphere to make an appearance during a church service. Nor is He coyly withholding His presence from us until we play a certain song or open a specific book.
View these gifts not as sources of God’s company but as celebrations of God’s company. Delight in the gifts not as surges that usher in God’s presence but rather as holy reminders that God is already, and always, with you.
I’m pretty sure that this is the deepest desire of the pastors who craft services, the worshipers who write songs, the authors who pen books, the preachers who record teachings, and the planners who painstakingly choreograph conferences.
They want you to know that the God you hear about and sometimes feel there is with you everywhere.
And that reality, transforms every tick of the clock into a sacred summons to nearness with God.
[Excerpted with permission from Alicia’s book, The Sacred Slow: A Holy Departure From Fast Faith (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2017), p. 8-10.]
Dr. Alicia Britt Chole is a leadership mentor, speaker, and award-winning writer. She lives in the quiet countryside of Missouri with her husband of 27 years and their three children through the miracle of adoption. Her favorite things include honest questions, thunderstorms, jalapeno’s, pianos in empty rooms, and all things #LOTR. To explore Alicia’s resources or download her devotional GodPrint :: 7 Days of Discovery visit www.aliciabrittchole.com @aliciabrittchole