Slow Down

You gotta slow down! In 1825, a letter of alarm and complaint was sent to the British Parliament. In part it read: “What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches! We trust that Parliament will, in all railways it may sanction, limit the speed to eight or nine miles an hour, which is as great as can be ventured on with safety.”

Yes, 2015 is vastly different than 1825. On some days, we wish we could travel as fast as eight or nine miles an hour in Atlanta traffic. In reality, the speed of life these days is an enemy, not a friend. I see it in my life, the lives of children, youth, and families, in church, in business … it’s hard not to notice the rush.

Dallas Willard spoke truth when he insisted: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Carl Jung wrote: “Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil.” John Ortberg said, “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.”

Okay, now that we know the problem, how do we address it?

  1. Do you remember when we were promised a four-day work week? We cannot hurry and buy more time. We have to work smarter, not harder.
  2. Do you remember when we were promised that technology would increase our efficiency and effectiveness? But at what price? Our technology tends to isolate us, not connect us. We talk to devices and machines. We have to break free from screens!

What’s the rush? I hate being late so I get ‘there’ early. So I sit in my car and try to recalibrate. I listen to music or read a book I carry. Sometimes I just think or take some deep breaths. Often, I can turn my hurry into refreshment.

Perhaps we could have screen-free zones like at the dinner table. How often are we guilty of having a phone or a tablet or a television grab our attention instead of focusing on the people around us?

Instead of driving a familiar route, walk it instead. You will notice things that have escaped your attention, I guarantee.

Schedule a ten-minute nap or rest in your day. Many companies are realizing the value of short breaks for contemplation, rest, and renewal. Instead of staring at your computer or reading one more report, get up and walk around for a few minutes. Pick up your Bible and read a Psalm. Make a short list and bow your head in prayer. Push hurry away, if just for a few moments.

Life is too precious to rush through.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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