Today I’m reminded to just slow down.

Maybe it’s the beautiful warm sunshine on my skin. Or perhaps it’s the chill music as I’m exiting Panera after enjoying my favorite spinach artichoke quiche. Maybe it’s because my husband is out rock-climbing with the guys for the first time since his knee injuries, and I’ve got free time.

Whatever the reason, I know the quiet voice of God is saying, “Be still.” So, I put the weight of all my stuff in the car and meandered back to the vacant outdoor patio. Feet up on chair, with only a iced green tea and phone in hand.

Wow. I feel so light! And then I think, “WHY is this not my regular pastime?” Why am I always rushing through parking lots? Getting meals to go? Running through checklists? Always on the go. Go, go, go.

I need to Just.Slow.Down.

Slowing Down with Purpose

Then I realize, it’s not just about slowing down. It’s about slowing down with IMG_6625purpose. Enjoying God’s beauty and bounty. So I watch the tiniest baby bird as it perches on the chair next to mine, inquisitively peering my direction. I share a laugh with a young boy as he captures a picture of our little feathered friend. Two strangers who bond over the magnificence of God’s creation as we watch a little bird’s intrigued expression before taking flight. I watch someone talking animatedly on the phone with a friend. I’m so proud of myself in this moment, for both slowing down and taking time to take in everything and everyone around me.

And as I’m watching people…it hits me.

People-watching used to be an art. A fun way to pass time. Is it just me, or does it seem a little creepy in our modern era? Is it because we are so disconnected with the world around us? Too engrossed in our smartphones and tablets? Our own busyness? Are we so focused on ourselves or our own small circles that we forget to look outward? So on-the-go, we forget this part of slowing down – the being watchful part?

What If We Slowed Down?

What if we slowed our pace, sat outside, watched a bird watching people, listened to traffic and conversations…real people and real conversations, acknowledged strangers passing by, what then? Maybe we would bring back another “lost art.” And maybe, we’d glean–and give–something of value.

If I hadn’t needed to run errands today, I might not have left the house. It might have been a different kind of “slow down” day. I might have spent the day in front of Netflix, playing games on my phone, wishing I had something better to do. And calling it “slow…”

And I would have missed all this meaningful, valuable, slow down, people-watching, bird-watching, God-tugging-on-my-heart fun.

What do you need to do (or not do), to ‘Just Slow Down’ today?

I love the way Isaiah 30:18 reads in the Amplified version:

And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!

[John 14:3, 27; 2 Cor. 12:9; Heb. 12:2; 1 John 3:16; Rev. 3:5]

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