Have you ever engaged in a conversation with a co-worker about where to eat lunch? In these situations, I’ve found that the food I’m in the mood for is always trumped by the limited amount of time I have for a lunch break. Typically, if the service is not fast enough, we’re not going to eat there. “I don’t want to wait that long,” is a phrase I’ve uttered many, many times. My suspicion is that you’ve probably done the same.
Recently, as I was thinking about this phenomena, I raised the question: Is there anything truly worth-while that comes from doing convenient things quickly?
Are you interested in building a business?
It’s not convenient and rarely is it fast.
Want a meaningful relationship with someone?
It’s definitely not convenient and depth only comes from time.
Do you want to improve your physical health?
Get ready to make some sacrifices and lifestyle changes, neither of which are easy!
Your relationship with God, your personal growth, your million-dollar idea, your well-being, and many other things all require hard work, time, and dedication to thrive. Health in any of these areas doesn’t just magically happen; none of these things come from having a quick and convenient mentality.
What have we sacrificed on the altar of “fast” and “convenient”?
Every choice is both restricting and enabling. When we say “yes” to one thing, we automatically say “no” to something else. You want fast-food? You’re likely saying “no” to quality and nutrition. You want a convenient relationship? You’re saying “no” to intimacy. Do you want a deep relationship with your family? Then you’ll have to say “no” to yourself. Do you want a healthy mind and heart? You’ll have to say “no” to other things that clutter up your calendar.
Recently, I’ve found myself longing for simpler and slower. My life, my world, has grown to be increasingly cluttered and complicated; I’ve come to feel as though I’m hurrying everywhere but seem to be going nowhere. I’ve found myself forsaking meaning and introspection and replacing them with busyness. I’m learning that this state of stress and panic and hurriedness is not how I want to live. I don’t want my life to be described as “frantic” or “shallow”.
Recent fads like farm to table and minimalism remind me that I’m not alone in this desire. But what would our world look like if we began to live this slower and simpler way? Obviously, when it comes to work and the marketplace, we don’t have much control, we have to move at the pace dictated by our companies and industries, but what about every other area? What if we lived a little slower? What if we took a little extra time with a loved one or friend? What if we took a little more time to be introspective?
This may seem like a lofty or, dare I say, impossible goal, so what if we chose just one area to make a change in? What’s something that you can do this week to simplify your life? It could be something like cleaning out your car or inbox or desktop. You could schedule a time for you to go for a walk or set up a time to share a meal with someone you value. You could clean out your closet, getting rid of the extra clutter, or simplify your diet. I don’t know what simplicity you are craving, but I sure do hope you find it. I believe that by simplifying certain areas of our lives we can devote more time and energy to the things that truly matter. Simpler and slower doesn’t mean lazy or slothful, it means identifying what’s most important and doing more of that.
Let’s be a people that intentionally do a few things well, leaving space in our lives for life and relationships and creativity and whimsy. Let’s be people who make better decisions about the things that truly matter. Simpler and slower have been calling my name, what about you?
To go Deeper: Read Silence and Slowness, Why is That Your Choice?