Sustainable Pace

Slow down.  Breathe.  Pay attention.  Be quiet.  Listen.

All these words assume something other than running willy-nilly hard-as-we-can-go-so-we-can-do-ever-more-and-more-good-things.  This past Monday night, I sort of lost my mind at a meeting and went on a passionate tirade about beauty and other things, making declarations that I think are largely true about our heritage’s disconnect with beauty and physical life.   My means of communication was unusual for me–I don’t usually end up yelling.  And truthfully, I don’t think I was yelling like I could have been yelling, but for me, it was a larger presence than usual. (How’s that for fudging?) I apologized profusely to those in my path that night, and thankfully, they forgave me, all looking a little befuddled that Jeff had finally lost it.

Red flags went up inside me, asking me to pay attention to what was going on.  Truth is, and I mentioned this in my last post on this blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been working the past six to nine months at an unsustainable pace.  It’s funny…when I think “discipleship” I am even more convicted of this than before.  There is an urgency to discipleship, certainly, but there is also the notion that frenzied, hurried, gas-pedal-to-the-floor living is not what Jesus modeled, nor what Sabbath is about.

I’ve said many times that there is a hidden monk living in me, and while I don’t advocate a complete removal from the world for a lifetime, there is something deep to be said for silence and quiet and reflection.   Yesterday’s Sabbath was an oasis for me, and I feel much more in tune with the rhythms God has established for me.  I have to be careful saying that, because I don’t want to engage in spiritual hyperbole, or try to justify my own desire to slow down by adding some God-language to it.   But in my heart I remain convicted that much of how we live as Americans is too, too fast.   This is a place to be counter-cultural, and I don’t have to tell anyone that it’s costly.

Breathing deeper today…

5 Comments

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  1. Jeff,

    Just wanted to drop a line and say the one thing that amazes me about you is your seemingly endless supply of energy. You always seem to be juggling about a million ideas at once, and powered by some sort of Coulee Dam-type dynamo. The way you throw yourself totally into your work, and with the huge responsiblity for others that you’ve undertaken with your role at Northwest, I’m sure it can get very exhausting. So definitely take that deep breath, and set aside time to recharge the batteries.

    I’m not sure that all of us at Northwest take enough opportunities to express how blessed we are in having you as the current preaching minister. I’m not just trying to butter you up to say some good things about my plays (they’re great, aren’t they?). Seriously, with the transition we’re going through we couldn’t have asked for a better person and leader to steer us through it. My sincere thanks to you.

  2. I recently read a book by Henri Nouwen, titled The Way of the Heart, about the disciplines of solitude, silence and prayer. It’s one of the most transforming books I’ve ever read. There’s a wonderful passage early on, about the plight of the minister, that begins: “Our society is not a community radiant with the love of Christ, but a dangerous network of domination and manipulation in which we can easily get entangled and lose our soul. The basic question is whether we ministers of Jesus Christ have not already been so deeply molded by the seductive powers of the dark world that we have become blind to our own and other people’s fatal state and have lost the power and motivation to swim for our lives.”

    We need ministers who see the problem. God bless your inner monk.

  3. Deffinately take the time to stop and smell the roses. We dont need or want you to have a burn out. So that being said I would like to let you know that if there is anything that I can do to help in anyway let me know asap and I will be there!!

  4. I can really relate to your post. I have been working at break neck pace lately too. Today doing set construction in the hot sun all day and I lost my patience with a co-worker who I usually get along with. It does not help that I have been sick the past 2 days and not getting enough sleep and we open an outdoor production in a couple weeks. With the baby coming this summer I am trying to find a way to adjust my work to a more sustainable pace. Thanks for your continued inspiration.

  5. “God Bless your inner monk” too. (Well said K.P.)

    Though I’m thousands of miles away, I always love to “hear” about the journey you’ve undertaken at NW.

    Prayers for healing to all. Humankind, everyone. Yes healing is good. Wind is good too. I’m chuckling inside, knowing that while wind was up there in some form I also faced the wind. Silly bike ride. Utterly destroyed me. If it were not for my friend hauling my dead carcass around the rest of the day Saturday, and then letting me have the “space” to not do squat on Sunday, well I’d probably not be typing this.

    Blessings, C.

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