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?

 

 

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Being Intentional About Yielding

Like the clay in the potter’s hands, we need to be pliable and yielded in life as we respond to the Lord.

The month of February is coming to an end and as it does I am ending my exploration of yielding. I never realized how much there is to think about in terms of yielding in my life. And now putting it into practice with intentionality is the next step.

Yielding is a choice in life, so each one of us come to a crossroad and must decide which way to go. Will it be my way or the Lord’s?

Here is a quick summary. Six ways to be intentional about yielding to Him:

1. Remember Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding, In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.”  Seek Him in the decision-making process. When we take time to seek Him, acknowledge His sovereignty, and look for His direction, we can’t make impulsive decisions. Our decision-making process is slowed down. We learn to wait for Him and His wisdom.

2. Be aware of thoughts and self-talk. We need to evaluate the things that have a home in our minds and what we allow to come into our mind. Consider using Philippians 4:8 as a tool for thought inventory. Philippians 4:8 EXB says, “[Finally, In conclusion; or Now then] Brothers and sisters, think about [focus your thoughts on; fill your minds with] things that are true and honorable and right [just] and pure and beautiful [lovely] and respected [commendable]. If there is anything that is good [morally excellent] and worthy of praise, think about [focus your thoughts on, fill your minds with] these things.”

3. When our tongues are ready to burst forth with fiery words remember: Stop, Drop, and Roll.

  • Stop the words from leaving by putting a finger over your lips.
  • Drop that word. Think about what it would do, how it would affect the person receiving it.
  • Roll the intolerance or frustration over to the Lord. Ask Him to bring His peace to the situation.

4. As we go through our days, we can choose to

  • Abide in the Lord’s presence
  • Attend to His Spirit’s leading
  • Abandon our need for acknowledgement so He gets all of the glory  
  • Be Available to His call so His purposes can be fulfilled.

5. Take time to pray for the Lord’s transforming power to be at work in us.

6. Finally, remember to be the clay. That means developing a new willingness to be molded in Christ-likeness for His glory. Our goal is to be pliable to what He wants to do in and through us.

Take some time now to think and pray about which one you will start with to help you in yielding with intentionality.