Following the Holy Spirit means that we allow the Holy Spirit to set the direction & pace regardless of the terrain. So I’m learning that the course navigation isn’t up to me, nor are the seeming detours when I think we are aiming for a particular destination.
Additionally, for pace, there are times when the Holy Spirit seems to move slower than molasses in Winter. At other times, it feels like I’m on the Aerosmith rollercoaster at Universal Studios, going from 0-60mph in 4seconds. Exhilarating!!!
And then there’s the terrain part of following the Holy Spirit – bumpy, hilly, rocky, smooth, dusty, pristine, raucous & serene.
To be sure, following the Holy Spirit is a lifelong journey in which we get to know the Holy Spirit better & better one step at a time!
I like to go fast – snowboarding, quick flights & speedy travel. In the last two weeks, however, our family has taken a “slower” vacation. We’ve driven from Denver, stopping to see relatives & friends, all the way to Washington DC. We are now driving back to Denver from DC. I’ve done the round trip flight from Denver to DC more times than I can count & it takes about 7hours total (including driving & airport security) to fly one way. In contrast, it will take us 2.5 days to drive from DC to Denver, with minimal stops.
Along this vacation, I’ve noticed some significant advantages to this slower travel stuff:
More time to think, pray & explore – rather than focusing on the travel, slowing down allows me the space to pray & process
Beauty in various forms – from flat farmlands to the Smokey Mountains & rolling forested hills of West Virginia, there’s beauty everywhere. Being on the ground let’s me experience this beauty & appreciate Gods immense creativity.
Deeper conversations – getting to chat with my relatives & friends face to face has been a great benefit to this slow down approach to travel.
There’s some good wisdom to the Simon & Garfunkel song, “Feeling Groovy”
Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.
I pray that you can slow down & enjoy your weekend with the Holy Spirit!
At some point, all of us have played Follow the Leader or Simon Says, most likely when we were kids. The first few times, it took me some practice to get the hang of it, but rather quickly, I wanted to be the leader so I could make others do what I said. That felt really powerful ,)
I remember one of my teachers telling me, “Sarah, if you’re going to be a good leader, you have to learn to follow well.” Of course, this wasn’t the advice I was eager to hear, even though it felt right in my heart and I still hear these words bounce around in my heart & thoughts to this day.
I’ve been thinking of these words about following as they relate to Jesus following the Holy Spirit in Luke 4:1-2. These verses describe how Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and led by the Spirit around in the wilderness for 40 days as He fasted & He was tempted by the devil. When I’ve thought of these verses, they don’t feel particularly alluring nor enticing. I’d prefer to not wander around in a desolate wilderness and fast for 40 days, nor be tested by the devil. Yet that’s exactly what happened as Jesus followed the Holy Spirit. Later in Luke 4, we read about Jesus being anointed by the Holy Spirit, speaking gracious & powerful words and we see Jesus start to walk in the fullness of His earthly ministry. But all of that came after His committment to follow the Holy Spirit.
When we follow our flesh, it can briefly make us feel good. But following the Holy Spirit has far better & longer lasting results than any flesh adventure we could choose. Let’s be committed every day to following the Holy Spirit.
I like to go fast. In our family, I’m the one who gets speeding tickets, I’m the one who snowboards fast & I tend to make going fast a high priority. While it’s fun to go fast, it also causes problems. For example, there are times when I try to speed through writing a blog & then make grammar & content mistakes :/
There are times when I find myself making speed a higher priority than quality or being present & engaging. That’s a recipe for train wrecks & dysfunctions.
There are times when slowing down & being present have better benefits than going fast or accomplishing stuff. Like with Mary & Martha in Luke 10, Jesus let Martha know that it was better to listen & be still with Him rather than be busy around Him.
So today, I’m telling myself to slow down & be still with Jesus 🙂
On Wednesday nights, our midweek church service, my family usually has frozen pizza for dinner because it’s a quick & easy meal. Pop the frozen disc in the oven & less than 10minutes later, voila we have dinner 🙂
Maybe Moses had the same mindset, initially, when he confronted Pharoah about letting the Israelites go & worship God. Maybe Moses thought this liberation experience would be fast & efficient. But alas, the liberation process was exactly that, a process. This process happened over the course of a few years & included massive destruction to the status quo, hardship, death, thirst, frogs, hail, Pharosh growing increasingly resistant, grasshoppers, drowning, plundering, . . . . And I haven’t even started to talk about the mental transformation that God cultivated in a nation of people entrenched in a slavery mindset.
Let’s appreciate that God is growing us through not only the miraculous but also the process, which isn’t always lightning fast 🙂
America has this very civilized concept called speed limits & they’re very nice in theory. Speed limits are supposed to keep us driving at a safe speed & help us get to our destination in an orderly fashion.
Me, not so much. It’s not that I’m rebellious, I just like to go fast & not only with driving. With my “go fast” mentality, here are a few things I’m learning lately from God
*Slowing down isn’t failure it’s the space you need to marinate: time is often a necessary ingredient for a thorough outcome & not just something that’s half-baked, or good enough
*pacing enables me to go farther, longer & finish rather than burning myself out with each beginning
*sometimes I speed to excuse a lack of discipline in my life or to compensate for not being proficient at something; some people use the same idea but for going slowly & maybe being obstinate 🙂
*I’m learning to trust God for the various seasons & paces in my life – growing & learning
“Sarah, it just takes time & you’re making great progress; remember that time is your friend & not an enemy.” My physical therapist for my shoulder keeps telling me that it just takes time: this to a person who wants to GO FAST, have fun, play some basketball, go swimming & be active. I’m learning that maybe I’m kind of impatient, possibly ,)
If I try to do too much or go too fast with my shoulder, I just hurt myself & delay my recovery.
These lessons can apply to lots of areas:
*learning to manage our money
*improving our physical health
*growing in our walk with God
*learning a new skill, sport or job
*parenting adventures ,)
Be patient in the process & don’t get discouraged. You’re doing great 🙂
Progress is something we all seem keen to experience. We all like to get better, do better & make progress – super appealing. But sometimes the tricky part with progress is the pace – slow progress can be maddening & fast progress can be scary. But I choose to celebrate progress regardless of the pace 🙂
So my shoulder is making progress compared to when it was dislocated a few months ago & compared to the surgery on it two weeks ago. Is it the speedy progress where I can start swimming & playing basketball now? Not quite but with some physical therapy & a few months work, I should be better than where I started even before I dislocated my shoulder.
Sometimes we have to go back before we can make progress 🙂
We live in a world that applauds speed – fast wifi, speedy cars, quick thinking, hasty travel & lots more. But consider that some of the best things take time:
*slower cars frequently get fewer tickets ,)
*deep friendships: it’s been my experience that the fast friendships usually are the shortest
*coffee – brewed versus instant: nuff said
*books: for me, quick reads rarely stick to my ribs as well as a long & slow read that requires my attention & presence
I’m a speed fiend – I like fast: fast snowboarding, fast travel, fast driving, fast food (sometimes), fast swimming & speedy progress. Being fast yields itself well to the world in which we live. We like microwaves, no lines, phone apps that help us avoid traffic & almost anything that makes us quicker, more efficient & speedy.
The problem with speed is that everything can become increasingly blurry, the faster our lives move. Speed enables us to overlook things, of which some are important beyond description. There is definitely such a thing as too slow, but let’s be careful that our lives get so fast that we neglect to live & love.
It seems like my life, of late, has shifted into a higher gear – translation: become busier. I’m not so sure how that could happen, but it feels like that. But this “style” of being busy doesn’t leave me feeling frazzled – I’m tired at the end of each day, but not drained. As I think about this, here are some things that I’m learning:
*be present: wherever my body is, I’m making an effort to keep my mind, emotions, etc altogether w my body (this seems to make me less tired, fragmented & distracted)
*be prioritized: I’m trying to be more focused on a few key priorities & let the things that are lower priorities slide more
*be attentive: this is a little different than being present because with being attentive, I’m trying to listen for Gods voice better throughout each day & not just at random & haphazard seconds here & there
It seems to me that God has quickened the pace but I’m not feeling worn out 🙂