When We Need to Slow Down
By Kat Harris
We are thrilled to feature our friend, Kat Harris, challenging us to look beyond striving to be productive and the impulse to prove ourselves.
My backpack bounced on my back as I turned the corner. Weaving in and out of parked cars on my block, I started sprinting. If I didn’t hit any red lights, I’d make it just in time for my cycle class. But how often does everything go the way we plan it to?
I started running in the street because it seemed faster. As I passed a white Jeep my hand smacked the rear view mirror so hard it knocked the wind out of me. The F-word barreled out of my mouth as my hand instantly started to swell.
Slow down Katherine.
My mom has said this to me for as long as I can remember. I’m always running off to things. Jam-packing my days to the brim, leaving little to no room for margin, or let’s face it life. Doesn’t the universe know that I’m important? I’ve got things to do, people to see, hands to smack on cars, and cycle classes to make it to.
I’ve often been the person who looks for the shortest line at Target only to realize I’d have checked out sooner if I had stayed with the initial line I was in.
I’ve pushed past people in the subway because I was in such a hurry only to stand next to them while we waited for our train for the next 10 minutes in silence. I felt like such a jerk.
Some days I’m running to things, and I’m running from things. More often than I’d like to admit I’m texting sorry running about 5-10 behind. I blame it on traffic as opposed to owning I’m doing this thing I do once again — this thing that I hate: running from thing to thing.
Why is slowing down so difficult?
I pay a price for rushing through my day.
I live with a scarcity mindset fearing I won’t have enough money, friends, dates, the list goes on.
When I don’t arrive on time I lack integrity and dishonor people’s time and my own time.
It steals from my being present and enjoying the moment at hand.
All of this jolts extra cortisol and adrenaline through my body which impacts my sleep and compromises my immune system.
I disappoint others and myself.
I lack peace
I create drama.
It seems I’m paying a high price. So why do I keep behaving this way?
Well… it’s thrilling when everything comes together and I actually pull off the crazy schedule I’ve created for myself.
It makes me feel good about myself, productive, efficient… better than.
When I take on that extra job even though I’m burnt out and exhausted, I go to sleep a little easier at night knowing that money is in the bank account.
The reward runs deeper. I find some of my identity in productivity. I pride myself on being efficient. I love crossing things off my to-do list; it makes me feel accomplished. My heart says look at all the things I can do, look how efficient and capable I am. Aren’t I impressive and important? Don’t you want to hire, accept, love me?
Let’s take it a step further.
I struggle to believe that God has my back. Jesus tells a story about the lilies of the field. How they don’t strive to grow. A lily simply is, and God provides everything she needs. Jesus says how much more will I take care of you if this is how I care for the flowers.
My actions reveal my small faith. Because underneath the running to and from is fear. Fear that my future, finances, and relationships are up to me. So I sprint from thing to thing exhausting myself and others.
What I’m really doing is playing God. No wonder I’m so tired.
But it’s no way to live.
I don’t have it all figured out. Writing this is humbling. My pride wants you to think that I’m amazing and have it all together. I don’t. What I do know is that I want to lift my foot off the gas pedal, and give myself permission to be.
The Bible has many promises from God to His people. One is, The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.
I want to slow down.
I want to leave behind the impulse to prove myself.
I want to enjoy the walk through the park and not be so fixated on what’s next after that.
I want to have a soul at rest.
I want to slow down enough to connect with the humans I’m colliding with on a moment-to-moment basis.
I want to trade productivity for presence and fear for peace.
I want to be like the lilies.
I want to trust Jesus at His word — trust that He has my back, that I have nothing to worry about because He knows exactly what I need. Because He’s good.
What price are you paying for all the running, the hustling, the pushing, and the striving?
You can find Kat at @therefinedwoman.
This article first appeared on The Refined Woman.