Sometimes God speaks to me through silent nudges, or conversations, or through words written or spoken in another person’s moment of inspiration. God gives prompts, messy scenarios, gentle whispers, and loving reminders.
And other times God is very clear.
On one of my fast-paced, schedule-crammed days during graduate school, I was out for a run and heard a message that while it was not audible, may as well have been written in the sky in cloud letters. The message was distinct and personal and struck me at my most vulnerably busy spot:
The message hit me right in the gut, just like my opponent’s kick in a recent sparring match. And like the kick, it both humbled and motivated me. I slowed to a walk instantly and wiped the sweat from the sides of my face. I confronted head-on the mass of stress in my weekly life comprised of classes, projects, papers, and practicum sites. And instead of gritting my teeth and powering through even faster, Dusty and I spent that evening in a joint wresting match with time that resulted in a commitment to cut out three weekly commitments from each of our schedules and re-introduce ourselves to one another.
I’ve returned to the “slow down” message repeatedly when my yes’s start to outweigh my available energy and I return to acknowledging that tiny personal attribute called being human that encompasses limits. Its translation at any point in time may prompt me to set down my phone, or to answer my phone. It may nudge me to walk away from a sink full of dishes, or to mindfully wash them while taking some deep breaths and letting Dusty tend to the kids. It may cause me to take the surface streets home from work and stop for a latte, or to read one last story before I head out the door. It may cause me to reminisce about a monk I observed at the monastery I recently visited, who seemed to float through the sanctuary like a Pac-Man ghost (Level 1) in contrast to my scurrying feet heading into the prayer service right as the chimes rang.
“Slow down” is a message that presents me with a challenge but also brings comfort and self-compassion; one that embraces limits and allows them to exist. It allows me to be who I am without constant editing and correction, and leaves some space for the unexpected trials and pleasures along the way. Here’s to wishing the same for you.