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Asking Questions


How do we slow down?

3.7.2023 • 2 Comments

How do we slow down by Valerie WoernerAfter decades of creating every technology we could to speed up processes for our every day, so many of us are begging to slow down. 

Isn’t it ironic? Slow living is trendy. 

Something that Jesus walked in as just part of everyday life is piquing our interest in 2023.

As I read all the New Year’s posts about what people hoped to have more of in 2023, so much revolved around slow things. Long walks. Sundays. Sourdough bread. Gardening. Phone-free moments. 

The Slow Living Movement has been around for over 30 years and ironically owes a bit of debt to Mcdonald’s. As Italy began to embrace the fast food movement, one guy was ready to protest it and embrace slow food instead. 

It’s progressed over the years to encompass a way of life that involves making time to slow down, actually be present in our lives, meditate, and live intentionally. It involves fewer things and more relationships. It’s not an overtly “Christian” movement, but one look at those rhythms sounds like the way God calls us to live. 

So, as the world attempts to recreate what God has invited us into, as believers we know what this is: this is living a God-paced life. 

It’s a counterculture way of living that, as the Slow Living Movement proves, isn’t something we will just fall into and instead, something that we will have to be intentional about. 

In a world where:

  • we say yes to every invitation just to avoid offending someone
  • we chauffeur our kids to every special activity just to stay competitive (or just unbored)
  • we consume content at warp speed because more keeps coming
  • we work longer hours to pay for bigger mortgages 
  • we drive to three grocery stores to get our favorite ____

How do we actually slow down? 

We’ll get there, but first, I want to unpack an idea: 

I think it’s interesting that we aren’t just after slow things because we want our lives to slow down. We’re ultimately longing to feel a slower pace in our souls. We want our shoulders to finally dislodge from a tensed, up-to-our-ears position. We want the rhythm of our heartbeat to find a natural rhythm instead of the cacophony we feel as it speeds up. We want the hamster in our minds to hop off the wheel and rest.

We long for a slower pace in all forms. 

And in so many ways, I can assume the rush is unavoidable. That what I’m doing right now is necessary and nothing can be taken off my plate. The last few months have been full, and a bit chaotic, with things I’d say were thrown onto my plate. But if I’m honest, I added my fair share to the plate too and may have blamed what I couldn’t avoid as to what made me feel so busy. 

And just maybe if I hadn’t added the extra and simply sought God’s pace instead, I wouldn’t have felt so overwhelmed. 

What I believe about the burden I carry though, gives me the choice to decide, do I believe Matthew 11:28-30 is a lie? Maybe it’s true for everyone else but me.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

You may have read this verse a hundred times, but today, if you feel like you are ready to slow down, I want us to act on it. 

1. Come to God

The answer for all who are heavy-laden is to go to God. He is where we find rest. Even if there are things that you can’t drop, in God’s presence we can still find peace in the storm. But also, if we are expecting to carry the weight of what we have alone, it will always feel like too much. 

Take a few minutes now and pray. If you’re feeling frantic, take a few deep breaths and set a timer for 2 minutes––we have 2 minutes––and sit with God. You can even read Psalm 23 and imagine being beside still waters with God. 

2. Take my yoke upon you

This one is admittedly harder, but choose to obey the yoke that God has for you and put down the one that He doesn’t. Make a list of all your obligations and commitments and pray over each one. Ask God to give you wisdom on what to say yes to and what to say no to. Ask God to shift your heart if there are things you love but that aren’t His best plan. Let God know before He makes anything clear that you are ready to obey. 

3. You will find rest for your souls

It feels counterculture to give up control when feeling most out of control. I need to hang on to something! I need to feel like I’m making good choices, etc. And those things are good, but ultimately, if we’re calling the shots, the only outcome is chaos. 

In a few weeks, we’re going to be going through my latest book, Led Not Driven. It’s a mercifully short book of diary entries journaling my own quest to live following the Lord instead of running ahead of him. After a very successful year on paper, I was burnout and exhausted from my own pace and knew I needed to find my way back into the yoke of the Lord. It’s been the sweetest journey and I am so excited to get to do an online book club to discuss it. First, purchase your copy from our shop (signed + an extra free copy while supplies last!) or Amazon. Then, click here to apply. You will not be admitted until closer to the start date on March 23.

What is God asking you to do with your time? Your schedule? Your things? 

I’m praying these prayers too because Lord knows we can still let the hurry creep in. Just this morning, I feel the Lord reminding me that part of why I’m in a hurry is because I cram too much into my day simply because I “hope” it will fit. I’m demanding more from my days than is reasonably possible. That might seem like a simple realization but I left no room for what I couldn’t plan for, like our new oven finally being delivered, unexpectedly during the 90 minutes I planned to write this post, and then it not fitting, meaning more conversations and calls. 

So tomorrow, I can set myself up better with less wishful thinking and more practical planning, and lots of buffers for life!

Share in the comments if you discover anything through this prayerful process!


If being ready to obey feels hard
If you aren’t sure what to give up

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Comments (3)

Can you please give details re the book club time commitment? This fits with my theme for the year, but I want to make sure I’m not adding more than I should. what day and time, length of each session, number of sessions. Thank you very much.

Hey Laura! It will be VERY casual! A weekly 20-30 minute video inside the FB group (so you can watch anytime!) and mainly just a chance to ponder the entries together since they are more thought-provoking than definitive!

Wow- As I was sitting here, feeling a tad anxious- Why, you may ask. No clue, I will answer- I opened my mailbox and here was this post. I have so much to do, but I am retired so I have all the time in the world, right? RIGHT? (Insert the lol emoji here!)

Then I realize that, yes, I do have all the time… for HIM. A wonderful reminder that HE is the start of my day, the middle of my day, and the end of my day, even if only for two minutes.