Life at Father’s Pace

Three years ago, in the woods of western Virginia, I heard a man say, “Life moves at the speed of relationships.”  I immediately resonated with that. My life has traveled mainly at the speed of achievement. Get that book done, that podcast produced, or that trip scheduled. Of course, I made time for relationships around that, but I moved at a breakneck speed throughout most of my life. Though I’ve been comfortable with it, I know not everyone around me has.

A few weeks ago,  as I happened to be pulling some weeds in Sara’s garden, I hurriedly reached for a weed that was just a tad out of reach. I didn’t realize that, however, until I lost my balance in the reach and had to move my foot to keep from falling. When I did, I stepped on one of her flowers and crushed it. Internally, I felt like I had crushed something in Sara’s heart. No, I didn’t mean to, and indeed, Sara wouldn’t have compared that flower to her heart, but that’s what I felt when I looked down at the dying iris.

“You need to slow down.” The words crossed my mind instantly. The message was clear to me. My rapid pace is crushing something in Sara. Since then, “Life moves at the speed of Sara” has become part of my vocabulary. And it applies to everything I do, from driving to preparing dinner to my conversations with her and others. At first, it felt painful. I even do it when Sara isn’t with me because I want to practice for when she is.

And you know what I’ve discovered? I actually like living at a slower pace. I trip on stairs less often, make fewer mistakes, and am more attuned to what’s happening around me or someone else might be feeling near me. Dare I say it? It’s made me more sensitive to God’s ebb and flow in my life. Who would have thought?\

Last week on the podcast, Kyle and I discussed how we can run so fast through life that we don’t allow Jesus to catch up with us. I’ve long thought people who keep busy all the time are running from something inside, afraid some pain or loneliness might catch up with them. I know I did some of that in my younger days.

Then last week, as I prayed with some people, this subject came up again. Someone expressed it this way, “Maybe we could live at the speed of Father.”

Ding! Ding! Ding!  

Jesus did. He only did the things he saw the Father doing or said the things he heard the Father saying. (John 5:19)

That thought has wandered to many places in my thinking. I’ve had so many people tell me they don’t ever hear or see God, and I’ve been through seasons of that myself. But could that be because we tend to move ahead of him, racing through life? We beg him to do what we want instead of slowing our pace to recognize what he’s already doing? To see someone, you must be behind them, moving at their pace. Maybe the next time someone tells me they can’t see God, I might remind them that they might slow down and let him get ahead of them. You can’t follow from the front. Maybe that’s what it means to wait on God; it’s allowing him to catch up to us and move in front so we can see him and embrace his work.

I’m going to be exploring this for some time. Is that why we’re told to wait upon the Lord? It’s not an exercise in patience but a reality. Our human tendency is to race about in fear and anxiety, which puts us way ahead of God’s pace. That’s why he seems so slow to us or so hidden. He’s not on that frequency. His work is much more deliberate, incubated in love, not fear, in trust, not anxiety. He’s also doing real work inside while we try to plater cosmetic fixes on the outside.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this will change me.

Remember the poem I ran on this blog a couple of weeks ago, Allowing My Past Catch up to Me? Maybe it’s not just the traumas of our pasts that we’re outrunning; perhaps it’s also the love of God, or maybe the treasure of his wisdom. If we don’t slow down to the Father’s pace, we will keep missing the incredible roads he wants to invite us down. Is that why he speaks in a whisper and sows his fingerprints so subtly into our days. Slowing down enough to recognize him is part of learning to navigate our lives at his pace instead of the frantic anxiety of our flesh.

That’s why we’re told to be still and know that he is God (Psalm 46:10, or to find those “unforced rhythms of grace.” (Luke 11, The Message) Slow down; take a deep breath now and then and learn to quiet the pace of your mind and heart. Then, it won’t be so difficult to know what he is doing in you.

That’s where I’m growing right now, and I already love its fruit growing in my heart.

____________________

The Jake Colsen Book Club

We began our Jake Colsen Book Club last weekend to explore the content of So You Don’t Want to Go To Church AnymoreYou can see the recording of that conversation here. We’ll be covering chapter 2 on Saturday, June 18, at 4 pm PDT. We will bounce them around so that people in different parts of the world can join us. The first one was weighted toward Europe and Africa; the second toward Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.

We stream them live on my Facebook Author Page for those who don’t want to be in the Zoom discussion. If you want to be in the conversation, please email me one week before each session, and I’ll send you a link to join us. There will always be reminders on my a few days before our scheduled time. You can subscribe to the blog at the top right of my blog pages. The Jake Colsen Book Club will use a different link each time, and you’re welcome to join us for all the sessions or only for the chapters that most interest you.

4 thoughts on “Life at Father’s Pace”

  1. Thx for sharing, Wayne. For me, I find myself unable to not associate what your suggesting w/works or performing well. Like I’m maybe in error by the position I see/find myself in. Does that make sense? I can’t imagine our omniscient God wishing, or hoping, or regretting us being here or not being there. As though we’ve maybe somehow let Him down. Caught Him off guard? Wouldn’t all that imply that God is less than omniscient? I mean… It’s like… Is God even able to be disappointed with us? Wouldn’t that somehow imply that we’ve put Him in some kind of a position to toss together some kind of Plan B?
    I’m really curious about this whole sin deal. Being that the Lamb was slain before the foundation or the World, wouldn’t that put this entire sin issue or sin mentality into the “already totally dealt with” (handled) category? Is it possible that all this is really a just some huge misunderstanding on our behalf? An issue to us, not Him? I think we misunderstand a lot of really important spiritual stuff. As in like… When Jesus said “it is finished” He wasn’t kidding.
    Another misunderstood thing?
    I was taught to view this “finished work” as consisting of stuff like, His death, resurrection, ascention, yet, if ya think about it, Jesus said that before He died. Notice He didn’t say… It’s as good as done (finished). Finished is finished. Like… What part of “finished” do we not understand? Right?
    So going back, if He dwells INSIDE of us, and He’s doing stuff THRU us, is it really even possible for us to be out of place somewhere?
    Scott

    1. Scott, I’m not sure I fully understand what you’re suggesting. Nothing in my post would say we are out of “place” and God wouldn’t be with us. Perhaps you’re seeing my comments as spatial, rather than about the inner connection with him where we sense his unfolding purpose in our life and follow him into his reality. This isn’t about geography, Plan B, or even sin. This is about tuning our hearts to God’s way of working in us and in the world and learning how to walk with him through life, rather than just doing our own deal and hoping God is about somewhere to fix our messes.

      So, I may need to understand more from you as to how you read this and what it has stirred up in your heart. This is not about God being disappointed in us, but about us being disappointed in him when it feels as if we can’t see him or tune into what he is doing in and through us.

  2. Hans-Günther Franke

    Thanks so much,
    That fits in my situation and encourages me to slow down and watch more carefully….

  3. David Higginbotham

    DING! DING! DING! This is an exclamation point on the journey Father has recently been inviting me into. This is, perhaps, the most personally timely blog post I’ve ever read from you Wayne, and there have been numerous others over the years. Thank you so much for continuing to share from your heart and journey!

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