Wouldn’t it be nice if everything stopped for a few minutes without losing momentum? Unfortunately, that old science lesson is correct. Everything in motion tends to stay in motion. Sometimes it feels to me that my life is like a hydrofoil speed boat. When the boat is speeding along, it’s lifted above the waves (so I don’t get so seasick) and provides the exhilaration of going somewhere! But, when the boat is going slow or not moving at all, the hull settles down in the water. I feel each rocking motion which messes with my stability. Before you know it, I’m hot, dizzy, and taking a lot of deep breaths. All I really want at that point is to get off the boat or get it moving. Anything but that slow, rocking motion.
If I were to stay on the water long enough, my ears would adjust to that motion. I would begin to notice things about the boat and the water I hadn’t seen before. In fact, a whole new experience of being in the boat would emerge. If I let myself stay on the boat. If I let myself feel sick. If I let myself…
That’s the thing about messing with our momentum. After a day or two it doesn’t feel good. We often feel more tired than when we began. We don’t know what to do with ourselves. We feel fidgety because our hands don’t know how to be still. Our mind races. The whole thing feels empty, like time and space hanging in midair. What are we supposed to do with it?
If our souls are to be free, then at regular intervals our bodies must be still. We must come out of back-to-back events, dawn-to-dusk-in-motion, multi-tasking kind of existence. And we need to be prepared for the fact that it will feel great for a few minutes and then we’ll wonder what we were thinking by slowing down.
But for those who persevere, who let themselves be surprised by how tired they really are… for those who enter the confusion of, “I don’t know what to do with myself…,” for those who learn to relax with the disorientation of stillness, a different world is in store. One in which the primary goal is not to “get somewhere” but rather, to explore the present reality with curiosity – whether it’s fun or not. What begins to emerge is a deep enjoyment of roomy living. We even begin to crave margin, which allows for swathes of unaccounted for time. And we begin to notice things. About ourselves. About the people around us. About the way we are with God. And about the way He is with us…
Without slowing our bodies down a bit, we really can only notice billboards. Everything else is just a blur. Slowing may disrupt our senses, but it is the only way to really notice the things that matter most. And isn’t that what we really want?
ACTION: What would it be like to take 3 full days off with no email, no work calls, and no deadlines? For you moms and dads, what would it be like to let the peripherals stagnate just a bit? To play alone or together with your kids more than you work? Maybe give that a try and see what emerges. Then talk with the Lord about how it felt, what you hoped would happen, what did happen and how to go forward.