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Reducing Life to the Speed of Joy

by Joe Carroll

Does Life often feel like a blur?  Technology has certainly given us more time.  The problem is the “extra time we’ve saved” is backfilled with more projects to do, people to see and pleasures to pursue.  No wonder we’re tired.  I certainly am.

We were created to be productive…but not at the expense of joy.  When my pace of life is costing me my joy and peace, I know I’m not living the life God has for me. 

There is another way…”Reduce Life to the Speed of Joy.” 

The serenity of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28 (MSG) beckons us to live contrarian to the pace of this world.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” 

Below are five “pace practices” in reducing life to the speed of joy:

1. Slow Down!  When you read the Gospels, do you ever sense Jesus was in a hurry?  When Jesus was making his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, he didn’t come charging in on a stallion.  He rode a donkey!

2. Pause!  Set a couple times in the middle of your day to do a 1- minute pause.  Use it to re-center spiritually.  Or, when you feel your chest tightening with anxiety, pause and “breath in truth” and “exhale the issue” (Cast all your cares on him, because he cares for you”. I Peter 5:7)

3. Jettison Unnecessary Cargo!  Give yourself permission to cancel unnecessary “to-do’s or reschedule an appointment if your soul is sinking.

4. People over Pace!  A test for real spiritual maturity is sincerely caring about others amidst the weight of outside demands.  When Jesus was being pressed in a crowd, he was sensitive to the need of one woman who needed help.  Loving others is therapeutic.

5. Boundaries!  Don’t let tyranny of others’ poor time management dictate what’s important for you.  Other people’s urgency should need not dictate my priorities.  This takes spiritual discernment and grace and yet it is important for personal soul care.