The Diligent Intentionality of Slow Feet

I had coffee with a dear friend a couple of days ago and we shared about our walks with the Lord. We both discussed specific areas where we wanted to see growth, especially in recognizing His presence through the day and in being more attentive to the Holy Spirit’s nudges. Jan Johnson in Abundant Simplicity says, “Simplicity with time requires the diligent intentionality of creating enough space that I may say yes to God about treasuring God and loving people.”

Just before meeting my friend I had to stop at my church. This was an extra trip made necessary because I accidentally picked up a plastic bag that I thought was mine and did not realize my mistake until I got home. The extra trip had me agitated, my plan for the day already had too many things to do. On my drive there I told the Lord I was frustrated because it seems no matter how hard I try not to be busy, my time always shrinks because of extra things to do. And then I told Satan that my God is not a God of chaos but One of peace. I spoke out loudly against my busyness.

When I got to church my pastor greeted me and asked me how I was. I told him I was overwhelmed even though my life is quieter. My mind keeps racing with a never-ending list of things to do. He said one word, “focus,” and spoke of the importance of being present to what I am doing in the moment. I left church feeling settled, our conversation brought me back to Johnson’s words regarding the diligent intentionality of creating enough space…”

I have a lot I want to get done, but I can choose how I go about it. I can either race from one thing to another or I can slow down and be present focusing on one thing at a time. I am working at learning to focus at one thing at a time, but am obviously still struggling with it. Focus.

In Abundant Simplicity, Johnson suggests doing a “heart exam” asking yourself, “[what’s] running me?” Such a good question. Often the things that keep me racing through my day feeling overwhelmed and frustrated come down to my need to people please and to earn love. And I have mentioned that I realize I don’t get what I need from these measures, but I seem to be stuck in a habit of living this way. It is a bad habit that I am trying hard to change.

Johnson also suggest checking with the Lord about what He is calling us to do, with the emphasis being on loving Him and letting His love for me overflow to others. This definitely means a change in focus for me. Instead of focusing on my agenda, checking off the items to do, it means a constant checking in with God. How am I living out love in what I am doing? And it is an excellent reminder to help me really abide.

A few years ago I was at a women’s retreat. One afternoon we had a couple of hours of free time, so I decided to take a walk by the beach. There were lots of rock, and I love rocks! I am always trying to find one with special significance for the moment. So as I walked along this rocky path I talked with the Lord about what He wanted me to do, how I should move forward in life living out my mission. I also prayed that He would give me a special rock. I listened as I hunted. He seemed to tell me to have “slow feet.” I wrote this in my little notebook along with other snippets from the Spirit’s lead. I picked up a small rock that satisfied my desire and headed back to the retreat center. As I continued to walk there along the side of the path there was a rock that caught my attention, not because I was hunting but because it was the rock the Lord had for me. It is in the perfect shape of a foot (see featured image). So incredibly amazing is our God!

Proverbs 19:2 says, “One who moves too hurriedly misses the way.” The Lord wants me to have slow feet so that I don’t miss the way. He wants me to walk with diligent intentionality. I have circled back to those words “slow feet” often in the past few years. But it seems I always get caught up in the hurry of life. This time I am choosing diligent intentionality for the longterm future. It will definitely take focus!

Johnson suggests the importance of having margin in our days. She uses the example of Jesus. Jesus was constantly interrupted, and He allowed those interruptions to become times of blessing others. He made Himself available to the needs of others. He didn’t grumble that He had too much to do when someone begged to be healed or asked Him to meet a different need.

Johnson suggests that we need margin in our days. Time to breathe in between activities. Time for reflection and prayer. She says, [a] life of sabbath, pauses, and margin creates a stillness inside us that infuses each thought and conversation.” We need “whitespace” both in our lives and on our calendars. Making this happen may require that we set some boundaries. Johnson defines a boundary as “a practical statement of intentionality.” 

I am realizing, especially in my people pleasing, that I need to set boundaries. First, asking myself why I am saying “yes” to this as I consider it in my mind. Then, also making sure that I do not answer in a hurry, but instead taking time to prayerfully think about it. What will it require of me and my time? What will I have to give up in order to do it?

Just this morning I saw an opportunity online to learn Hebrew, and I thought about how much I would like to do it, I went to the page to sign up and I stopped. What am I doing? I had to remind myself that I cannot do everything. I can’t be in this writing group, and learn how to quilt with this group, and learn Hebrew online and keep adding more and more things. I closed the page that offered the class, and although, I’ll admit, I felt disappointed because it is something I would like to do, I realized cannot do it right now. It was acting on impulse, not walking with slow feet, not walking with diligent intentionality.

I am choosing to recalibrate my life with the diligent intentionality of slow feet. I will be sharing more of this process in future blogs. It is a process that takes time to learn, but I am determined to seek His way.

How about you, how are you being diligently intentional with your time?



21 thoughts on “The Diligent Intentionality of Slow Feet

  1. It’s true you can’t do it all but you can do the things you love. I think you need to manage your time better and remember that life is full of so much we can do but should we? Is it your calling right now to do it all or just do one or two things? Thanks for linking this post up with us at #OMHGWW


  2. Cheryl, I love everything you have written here. I have a similar story about a walk along the shore when I was ministering in Cuba in 1999. Yes, I still have the shell!!!


  3. It was so good of God to use such imaginative imagery to get your attention and then reinforce the lesson of focus. I’m the same–zipping here, there, and everywhere mentally as if my life depends on it. Good for you that you were firm with your well placed “no” on over commitment!


  4. The Lord keeps pointing out this theme to me again and again: “I am choosing to recalibrate my life with the diligent intentionality of slow feet.” Maybe I need to listen??? lol. Yes! Thanks for sharing this lesson.


  5. I love this. I feel like so many days I am running through a huge to-do list and getting overwhelmed. I almost feel like I would like to completely take that word out of my vocabulary! So often it is, like you said, us looking ahead to things that we shouldn’t. We need to be in the moment, focus on what we are doing now, not what needs to be done in 20 minutes or the rest of the week. Planning and writing stuff down helps me with this some. But I still have to make sure that I am living in the moment. You are right, this is very hard and takes so much focus!

    Thanks for linking up @LiveLifeWell!




  6. I feel, like you, when you spoke to your pastor. I try to slow down. I often cut things from my schedule or say “no.” Yet, no matter how much I try to create margin or slowness, the busy comes from something. From something outside of my control, or maybe my husband had a plan that I didn’t have. Which is funny because he’s always encouraging me to slow down. Lol. I often think about how Jesus was constantly interrupted. No one had an appointment with Him and many of His miracles came from interruptions, not always when He was preaching a sermon. Praying that the Lord would help me have intentionally slow feet also. Thanks for sharing with us at #LiveLifeWell.


    1. I think so many feel this way, women especially. And we need the Lord to help us walk with slow feet on the path He has for us! May the Lord help and encourage you as you intentionally walk with Him!


    1. What a great way to put it, tripping over God’s appointments while racing through your to-do list. I really like that! Thank you so much for stopping by! Sweet Blessings to you!


  7. This CS Lewis quote came into my mind as I was reading your post “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life — the life God is sending one day by day.”

    Maybe your visit at church was meant to be and not an unnecessary interruption. I need to ask God to keep my spiritual eyes open so I could see how he works in my life. Thanks for such a profound post. Blessings to you!


    1. Thank you so much! I love that Lewis quote. I need to be seeking the Lord also to show me how He is working in my life. I aporeciate your words of wisdom! Sweet Blessings to you!


  8. Chronic health conditions have forced a slower pace & a deliberation to everything I do & plan now.
    It is a gift wrapped in very strange wrapping, it has been a blessing to slow down & focus on the Lord & what He has for me each day rather than my crazy busy plans 😀


    1. The Lord’s ways are not our ways. It often doesn’t make sense to us. I am glad that you see His wisdom and blessing in your health condition. I am so glad to have you stop by again. Sweet blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

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