Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

Learning—Again—to Slow Down

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This past week I found myself revisiting my Lent becoming lifestyle theme—but this time on the issue of busyness. I’ve been attempting to spend part of each day with the SSJE Brothers’ Lenten series on time, and last week I was already behind…perhaps a symptom of the fact that I am still not a great manager of my time.

Almost three years into my life as a freelancer, this should be incredibly important for me. After all, there’s no workplace structure to help me frame my time, so I need to do it myself. I am actually very good at meeting deadlines; it’s the work/life balance that is still an issue for me.

Some of that has to do with the uncertain rhythm of work in the freelance world. Some weeks are slow; others are chock full. Just about every week in 2015 so far has been chock full, and I admit that I’m getting tired. This past week I worked on eight different jobs for five different clients, plus we had workers in our house, remodeling a bathroom, for four of those days. I did make time for my weekly hike, and a much-needed massage, but by the end of the week I found that I could not make myself slow down.

On more than one day, I showed up for my prayer time with God and just could not sit still. Whether my mind kept going, or something distracted me, or—one day—people showed up at the door, prayer just wasn’t happening. So, being honest about it, I talked with God about it, acknowledged where I was…and went back to the computer. I figured that at least I was talking with God, even if the conversation was not the one I had intended!

One afternoon I did lie on my back on the floor while I listened to a sermon on my computer. Amazingly, that 13-minute sermon caught my brain’s attention enough that my body and spirit were able to truly slow down, and I felt very different, physically and mentally, by the time the sermon was over. It was a good reminder that sometimes our established routines for prayer are not always right for one particular day, or season, in our lives.

IMG_0955So I’m catching glimpses of light, even as God’s Lenten renovations continue to work their way through my being. At this point I’m not at all sure that I will continue to push myself to do that additional prayer discipline with which I began Lent. The invitation instead seems to be to let go of my will and my agenda, slow down, and listen for the still, small voice of God, wherever it may be found….

How is your Lent unfolding? Do you need to revisit your Lenten commitment, or even revise it in some way?

Do you need to ponder an invitation to slow down in your own life?

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