Photo by Ian Britton
Yesterday, Seth Godin published a post on his blog. While I’d recommend reading the whole thing, one section of it particularly struck me. Here it is:
If you have a ten-mile commute to work, the difference between pushing yourself to drive 40 miles an hour and driving safely at 35 works out to about two minutes. In the first scenario, you’re running yellow lights, passing bicyclists and rolling stop signs. In the second, you’re not only dramatically safer, but you’re also breathing.
Decades ago, when I had a Saab, I used to drive fast (95 mph fast) on trips home to Buffalo. The highway is straight and designed for speed, but it was an incredibly stupid, selfish and dangerous thing to do. The upside was that I ended my trip from Boston an hour or two faster than I would have otherwise. Of course, then I’d sit, nearly in a stupor, for at least two hours until the world was moving slowly enough for me to engage again.
The problem with setting the standard at super-fast, up to 11, is that you can’t sustain it. You’ve extracted all the slack and safety out of the system and gotten very little in return.1
I was struck by this post for two reasons. First, Seth usually writes about the detrimental effect of moving slowly due to fear––what he refers to as ‘not shipping.’ So when he writes about the importance and even necessity of slowing down, I couldn’t help but take note.
Second, I’ve been thinking a lot about spiritual formation lately. In particular, I’ve been thinking about those things that help and hinder the process of becoming spiritually formed. One of the things that has consistently stuck out to me is the importance of rhythms as it relates to one’s spiritual journey. Lately, I’ve been reminded of how willy-nilly our pace often is. We go for broke. We rush. We try to achieve a lot in a very short amount of time. When we do this, however, we end up sitting in a stupor waiting for things to slow down, so that we can process what just happened before engaging again.
I don’t have this figured out. My life is far too cluttered and I am constantly on the go. So I can’t claim to have this mastered by any stretch of the imagination. What I can do is point you in the direction of some things (blogs, books, etc.) that have helped me to begin to think through this issue and its implications for my life. Here are a few of the most helpful:
- Slow Food USA
- Slow Church
- The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel
- The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath by Mark Buchanan
- Keeping the Sabbath Wholly: Ceasing, Resting, Embracing, Feasting by Marva Dawn
- Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline (Pocket Classics) by Lauren Winner