I’m writing this on Sunday before any of us know how the midterm elections turn out. You will be reading it after we know. So, not knowing the outcome, I believe it is safe to say it has been a rather exhausting season leading up to this moment.
Seems like an excellent time to share a bit about pace, margin and caring for your soul. Richard Swenson M.D. is a physician who for decades ran as fast as he could, attending medical school, treating patients, burning the candle at both ends, pushing himself until he hit a brick wall of exhaustion. He and his wife totally regrouped, rewrote their life’s priorities and he began writing and teaching about margin instead.
Reading his books was transforming for me in understanding overload was the new human condition. He writes, We have too many choices and decisions, too many activities and commitments, too much change creating too much stress. We have too much speed and hurry. We have too much technology, complexity, traffic, information, possessions, debt, expectations, advertisements and media. We even have too much work. A Minute of Margin
In the same book Swenson writes, Have you noticed that Jesus never seemed in a hurry? There is no indication that he worked 24 hour ministry days. Neither does Jesus ask it of us…God demands holiness not exhaustion. The two are not the same.
Matthew Arnold was a poet in the 1800’s (!) who coined the phrase Hurry Sickness for the modern condition. Oh, Matthew, I hope you cannot see what we are up to these days.
Our pace, exhaustion and hurry seem very much like a soul sickness. My latest I-phone update added a new feature telling me how much time I spend on my screen per day. I’ve spent a fair amount of screen time trying to figure out how to get it to quit reporting such embarrassing and clearly false numbers to me. Surely, I’m not rushing through my days and being online that much at the same time. I’m sure it is a technology glitch and not the truth.
Holiness happens when we align our hearts, minds and schedules with what God requires of us. We adopt the pace of Jesus, perhaps. We quit trying to run the world, control all things and relax into our trust of God. Rest is woven into what God commands of us.
Our youngest grandson’s name is Pace. He’s sweet, calm and very laid back as second born children often are. He watches everything that happens and smiles a lot, with dimples. I think he has the perfect name.
What is the pace of your life? Does it honor God? Does it acknowledge your physical, emotional and spiritual limitations? Does it allow you to be present to God, yourself and others?
Dr. Swenson ends many of his reflections with a “prescription.”
This is one of my favorites: Rx-Slow down until you catch up to God.
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three grown children, Mocha/Mimosa to Keller and Pace and a breast cancer survivor.