Monday, April 21, 2014

why I pursue slow

Every life has it limits and each of us is different and unique. Outside the basics of how God made man to know him and be in right relationship with him, there is not only one way to live a life. Your life and pace might likely kill another person, just as another person’s slow and methodical life might drive you insane.

We all have limitations though.

I was diagnosed with a chronic condition in 2012. It’s name is Meniere’s Disease, and if I’m not careful it’s name really could be “dizzy, black fog, barely functioning days.” It’s not a fun place to be. But there’s always hope, and with lifestyle changes I’ve been able to keep my symptoms at bay and live life mostly uninterrupted by Meniere’s trademark symptoms. 

I’ve sat with this pesky friend for a while now, and she’s come and gone through the years. But she’s pretty faithful to show back up, often at the worst of times. She’s selfish and demands a lot from me, her presence has forced me to make a lot of changes in my life. At first this was hard, I don’t like change and I didn’t really like not feeling like I was in charge of my own body. But really, are any of us in charge of anything when God is sovereign and moves how he will?

Learning to live with this chronic condition has taught me a few things, and I’ve realized that the limitations of it are actually the best of gifts.

Since my diagnosis I’ve become more healthy, I watch what I eat and am careful to avoid certain foods that trigger my symptoms. Since my diagnosis I’ve learned to eliminate stress and take better care of myself. I get more sleep and allow for more margin and downtime in my life. I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t do these things I pay for it in days lost to fog, fatigue, and the constant sensation of living on a merry go round.

However, I think the best thing about this is that I’ve learned to be okay living slow. I guard my time and have become okay with doing less, because I’ve learned that pushing myself beyond my limits of busy only backfires on me. I say no to lots of extras and that causes me to be really intentional about how I spend my time doing everything else. I know God has given each of us a finite, limited amount of time to do his work here on earth. Knowing my limits has forced me to be very intentional about how I spend that time, learning to make the most of each opportunity. I’ve also learned that I don’t have to say yes to every opportunity that comes my way.

Perhaps the most important thing is that I’ve learned is that embracing our limitations frees us to do the work we are really meant to do.

Chronic condition or not, I think that’s something we all must learn. We are not meant to do it all. But I believe we are meant to do a few things, and do them well. God created within each of us a specific purpose, but we often allow it to get muddled because we simply do too much. We stretch ourselves too thin, and overextend to the point that we’re not really effective in the most important of things. Sometimes we even sacrifice our health or sanity in the process. I don’t want to live my life that way, and I bet that you don’t either. 

I think a lot about something Mark Batterson said, “We can do the work of God at a pace that destroys the work of God in us.” Today can I give you permission to do less? I’m talking to myself as much as anyone here, because the Monday morning list seems long and the temptation to take on too much is so real. But let’s be okay with living slow and intentional. Let’s allow God to narrow our focus to do only what he’s designed us to do. Let’s not destroy that work of God in us.

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