Here we go! We are in the final stretch. There are only days left until Christmas. You might be squeezing in an order with Amazon Prime one-day shipping. You may be packing to travel. Or you have grocery shopping to complete before family arrives. As a pastor, I am busy making the last-minute preparations for Christmas Eve services.
If there is one word to describe the way I am feeling right now it would be hurried. I feel rushed to get everything done. And if I am honest, I will admit that the hurriedness zaps some of the joy out of the stuff I am doing. I love the things that I am doing, but it can become overwhelming with so much all at once.
When we are hurried:
- Our relationships can suffer. We get short with others, especially those who are close to us.
- Our health suffers. Our blood pressure rises. The anxiety causes undue stress on our bodies. There are negative consequences to our overall physical health.
- Our work suffers. When we are hurried, we often fail to give any one thing the attention that it deserves. We lose the drive to give our work our best effort.
The fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23) include things like love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. Those things are rarely experienced when we are rushed. The fruit of the Spirit is not about being a hurried mess.
This is one of my biggest challenges. I am constantly rushed. It is part of my nature. There are times I will tell myself to slow down. One of the places I am most rushed is when I am driving. As part of the effort to slow down, I will get in the slow lane while driving. I insist that I will not be rushed to get where I am going. Even if I get passed by five cars, I am going to take my time. Then the cars will start passing me. One car will go by. Then two. Then three. Then four. Then five. When the sixth car goes by, I will give up. And it will be back into the fast lane.
I realize that my effort to slow down is my effort. I am relying on my own strength rather than the strength that God provides. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. It is not a fruit of my effort. And when I am hurried, it is a signal that I have made it about what I am doing for God rather than what I am doing with God.
As we enter the stretch run, pause right now. Ask for God’s presence to enter in. Pray that you would experience his super-natural power to slow down even when you are being pulled to be so busy. You will not be able to slow down on your own. But he will give you all the strength you need.
- Are you feeling rushed and hurried these final days before Christmas?
- How have you seen God provide the ability for you to slow down and appreciate the moment?
Lord, we are just a few days away from celebrating Jesus’ birthday. We easily get anxious and overwhelmed by the busyness of the season. We ask that you would enter into our minds and heart. Give us your calm and peace. Help us to celebrate the moment and be present with those we love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.