How good are you at slowing down?

I’ll let you know right now…. I suck at it.

I know that I have always had a high work drive and I love getting stuff done and doing it well and efficiently, but something about when COVID hit and since we have been back meeting I feel like it’s been on overdrive. The times we were online for 32 weeks in a row is the hardest I have worked in my 14 years as a youth worker. I feel like I have not stopped either.

Truth is coming home after one of the best and hardest summer camps I have ever put on, I was beat. Then I decided to take 10 days off. When I say “took off” I mean fully off.

  • I deleted my work apps off my phone and ipad.
  • No email or Slack.
  • No social media (deleted those too)
  • My phone was off unless my wife and I were not in the same place.
  • And we were in the mountains with family and friends.
  • I won’t lie. It felt weird. It took a full 3 days to not pull out my phone to check email or social media. While I was up there I also read (just finished it for a second time today) John Mark Comer’s book Ruthless Elimination Of Hurry. Let me tell you, it was a kick in the face and a challenge for how I want to move forward with rest and non-hurry. I won’t tell you about the book but I was challenged in the idea that Jesus was always effective but never in a hurry… and that’s partly why he was so effective. I recommend it.

All summer long I took a break from writing on here because 1) I was tired and 2) I feel like I had nothing to say and 3) wondering if people even care (real thoughts). But to kick off this new season of writing (it helps me process better and if you get something out of it…cool) I feel like I wanted to put some thoughts out there about slowing down and resting.

These are questions I have been wresting with and asking myself to make sure I stay in the ministry for the long haul.

My hope that it challenges you too. Maybe even share this with a friend who might need to hear this too:

  • How good am I at slowing down?
  • Am I going to be using all my vacation days this year?
  • Would my spouse define my marriage as successful as my ministry?
  • What things would my kids say they need more of from me?
  • Am I being a great youth pastor but failing at being a follower of Jesus?
  • What is “success” for me being in ministry and in a marriage?
  • What do I need to do to become the me I want to be?
  • Is the speed in which I am working reflecting Jesus in those on my teams and how I interact with them?
  • Why am I restless? What is the thing behind the thing that won’t allow me to rest?
  • Am I really a workaholic? (Yes. I am)
  • What relationships have I hurt because of my hurriedness?
  • Hurriedness kills wisdom. Where can I be more wise?
  • Am I burnt out or just tired?
  • If I want to experience the life of Jesus what do I need to adjust in my life to adopt the life style of Jesus?
  • Is what I read about Jesus just what I am reading or is a way of life for me?
  • How can I dominate my schedule to help me not be hurried all of the time? What can I kill? Combine? Adjust? Reschedule?
  • What noise do I have in my life that is making me deaf to the voice of God?
  • What am I doing to intestinally slow my every day style to not miss simple moments where God is in it?
  • Why do I need every notification on my phone on? Do I really need it? Are my texts and emails that important?
  • There is a big difference in being alone and being in solitude. What I am doing in solitude that reflects God?
  • Does my schedule align with my values? Because I show what I value by what I spend my time doing.

Like I mentioned. Just a little list. I won’t lie to you I have not wrestled with all of these questions… yet. But they are questions we have to work through in order to keep on leading our families (if you have one) and leading our ministry. You have to admit, there is something unique about how Jesus went about ministry and it was at his own pace, not a pace set by other’s schedules.

Here is what I do knows so far. Since being back from that 10 day trip, work apps have not made it back on my phone. It’s awesome. My social media is set to a certain amount of time a day and closes when reached. It’s awesome. When I am home my phone is on “do not disturb” and in the other room (most of the time, I am still trying to nail this) and it’s hard. But I know it’s good for my wife and kids. I started journaling, which is pain staking slow but it’s so good for my soul. I am not perfect in this. As you can see by the list of questions, I have a lot to wrestle with.

My hope is that these questions can help/challenge you in this new school year to get spiritually healthy.