“…in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”
“Whatcha doing? God asked.
“Fixing the garden fence,” I said, as I hammered another nail into the post.
“That’s quite a fast swing you have there,” God said, as He peered over my shoulder.
“Uh huh. I’m sorta in a hurry,” I replied. I wiped a bead of sweat from my forehead. “I’ve got to write this afternoon.”
“Will you be in a hurry then?”
“I guess. I’m eager to get the new book done,” I explained.
“When you hurry your mind it doesn’t go any faster, “God said. “In fact, it stops. You’ll be more creative and productive if you slow down and relax. Let your mind go. Let it wander. It will take you where you need to go,” He assured me. “With everyone in a hurry these days, it’s a wonder that anyone utilizes the talents I’ve given them.” (I could have sworn I heard Him sigh right then.)
“Yeah, we’re all feeling crunched for time,” I said as I drove the last nail deep into the wood. I stood up and looked around at the garden. The sunflowers were just starting to bloom. The tomatoes sported little yellow blossoms that bobbed on the breeze. Beans reached up and wrapped around a trellis, pulling themselves up from the damp earth.
“Those plants aren’t in a hurry,” God pointed out to me. “They take the fullness of the time I’ve given them to produce. Take your time, Sparrow. Take your time.”
I walked to the gate and pushed it open. I felt the sun on my face. I felt the expanse of the day and the abundance of everything I needed.
“I’ll take my time, Father,” I said and slowly closed the gate behind me. “Yes, I’ll take my time.”
I hope that you will take your time, too.
“…he who hurries his footsteps errs.”
I’ve got to get all of this done, I thought to myself. I looked at the mountain of paperwork stacked on my desk. Next to it was my “to do” list that grew longer by the minute. I felt overwhelmed by all that I need to accomplish this week. Just as I let out a heavy sigh, I felt God’s hand come to rest on my shoulder.
“There are more important things than your “to do” list,” God said. “Your peace of mind is more important. Being rested is more important. Being with your loved ones, and sharing a smile or a hug are more important. Slow down. Do your work at a pace that doesn’t destroy you.”
I thought about Jesus’ promise that He would give us rest. We can only rest when we go at His pace. I thought of His dusty sandals trodding the roads. I thought of the conversations He had with people, and the time He took to go off by Himself. He didn’t rush. He wasn’t driven by a “to do” list. I reached over to the list and crossed off a dozen inconsequential bullet points. I wrote, in big capital letters, “SLOW DOWN,” at the top of the list. Instantly I felt lighter and happier.
“There you go,” God said. He patted my shoulder. I sat down at my desk and I called my mother for a long chat.
“Be still, and know that I am God…”
“Where are you today, God?” I asked as I ran out the door to yet another business meeting. My heart ached for Him.
“I told you where I am, Sparrow,” God answered me. “You’ve been choosing to ignore my words.”
“Yes. You choose to hurry about your day, fretting over things you can’t control. You schedule one thing after the other. When you do have down time, you check your phone for messages, emails or social media posts. You can’t connect with me because you don’t slow down, stop, and be still. I’m in the stillness,” God said ever so gently.
I thought about God’s words for a moment. He was right. The more I do, the more I feel disconnected from Him.
“Do you know why silence is so important?” God asked me. “The answers are in the silence. Silence and stillness, Sparrow. Come and find me there.”
When I got home later in the day, I found a quiet place in my garden. I did my best to sit in the stillness and the silence and ignore my chattering mind. And you know what? God was there in the silence. In the stillness. In me. I felt His presence. I heard His answers. My heart no longer ached.