The New Year is almost here. A fresh start. For me it will be a year to learn to live grace-paced. You can read about that here where I share about my 2020 word-of-the-year.
The last Recalibrate Life book I read in 2019 was Alan Fadling’s book “An Unhurried Life.” This book led me to my word grace-paced. And although I have read the book, I haven’t worked through all of the questions at the end of its chapters with all the craziness of moving.
Now with 2020 upon us, and my seeking to live grace-paced, I am going through this book chapter-by-chapter. I think it will prove to be helpful as I, too, seek to learn and apply truths to help me live an unhurried life.
The words that riveted their truth into my heart in the first chapter were these, “you must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Although I have made progress towards slowing down, hurry has not been ruthlessly eliminated from my life.
In the past week, our two sick bunnies sent us to a vet 50 miles away. It felt urgent to get them each the care they need quickly. These two unexpected trips made the days feel rushed, filled with anxiety and overwhelm.
One of the trips was made in an awful snowstorm, in which, on the way home we saw eight cars in the ditch, two of them overturned. The unexpected can turn days from peaceful to frantic, totally throwing off our schedule or routine, and leaving us anxious and worried.
Yet, Fadling makes a point of showing how relaxed Jesus is, even with all of the unexpected interruptions and emergencies that come His way. The troubles that came didn’t stress Him out. He had a heart filled with peace from the hours spent with His Heavenly Father.
John Ortberg is quoted as suggesting that, “hurry is not just a disordered schedule, but a disordered heart.” When chaos overwhelms me and I allow worry to drown out my peace, my heart becomes frantic. And in that frantic mode I push to take over, to get it done, to be in control.
When I allow peace to rule, it is only because I am choosing to live in a place of trust. Trusting the Lord to work it out, in His way and in His perfect timing. That is the way Jesus lived, with total reliance on the God, the Father.
I have trouble not living hurried on a day that has just everyday duties and activities on the schedule. Learning to live grace-paced will mean learning to rest more in my Heavenly Father’s love and trusting in His control.
The hurry in my heart is like a disease that pushes me to rush past God to get it done, to control the outcome, and to make it happen. Fadling says, “Taking the unhurried way enables us to be attentive to God’s presence and guidance.”
Fadling asks, “If we are followers of an unhurried Savior, what should our pace of life look like?” I know the answer, reading the Gospels gives me many examples of how Jesus lived, how He went through His days. Fadling shares many of these examples, and I see it all comes back to that intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. Now here in 2020 I desire to learn to live at this “pace of grace.”
The questions at the end of the first chapter gave opportunity for prayer. And once again I am reminded to abide. Apart from abiding I can do nothing, or least nothing fruitful (see John 15:4). So all my hurrying really doesn’t get me where I want to be.
Hurry may make us feel like we are doing more, but the truth is, we are often missing what God has for us. Fadling shares Proverbs 19:2, a verse that I was led to back when I was learning about walking with slow feet. Hmmm, it seems that I have been on this same path for a long while. It seems that I am a slow learner. The verse tells us that “...hasty feet miss the way.”
Hasty feet miss the way of grace. Hasty feet miss the opportunities the Lord has for us. Hasty feet focus on the interruption and miss the lesson. Hasty feet miss the joy in being present in the moment.
On our way home from the vet, with my little bunny, Miss Leila Jo Happy Hopper, safely in her carrier, the roads were snow covered and extremely slippery. My husband and I were both tense. It was a scary drive. Finally, on the road that takes us to our house, we exhaled the anxiety and laughed as my husband turned on the cars bright lights and a million snowflakes came flying at the windshield.
We had been intensely watching the road, seeing the accumulation, feeling the icyness under the tires, and had missed the flurry of flakes flying about. The evergreen trees were all coated in their thick white coats, and we murmured in awe at their beauty. Being present in the moment, taking notice of these two things led us to share in a special joy.
Too often, I get so caught up in the chaos, or pushed by the revving engine within that I miss being present. Both being present to the gifts given in those moments and to the lessons available to learn. I want to be present and available to all my Heavenly Father has for me. I want to find the quiet within to listen to Him, to follow His lead, and to really learn to walk grace-paced in 2020. I want to learn to live an unhurried life.
I will be sharing chapter-by-chapter the truths that stand out to me from Fadling’s book in the coming months. I hope you will join me on this journey!
*Photo from Unsplash by Freddy Marschall