Slow Down: How to Live Freely and Lightly

With the pace of the world quickly intensifying again, how do we stay in places of peace and rest in the Lord? How do we keep our souls clear from the heaviness of life and burdens of the day? Jesus knew this would be an issue for us, so in Matthew 11:28-30, he addresses it specifically, offering exactly what we need—him.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. – Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

I recently took a vacation in the mountains of Tennessee with my family. I had a chance to slow down, to watch the brilliantly colored leaves fall gently to the ground, to sit by the fire, mesmerized by pulsing embers and roaring flames, and to look up into the vast, star-filled sky. Every bit of it reminded me of the glory of God. I had actual, unrushed quality time with my children! My soul longs to live like this—freely and lightly. But how do I keep that mentality now that I am home?

Practically, this can look different for everyone, but here are a few ways I am trying to keep that peace: 

  • Let the YouVersion verse of the day be the first thing you look at when you wake in the morning. I read it, pray through it, and try to think about it several times—maybe even share with the kids on the way to school.
  • Spend some time with the Lord and linger in his word. I’ve been reading just a verse or two per day from the Gospels, and God has been speaking in the most powerful ways as I focus on quality instead of quantity. 
  • Shut down your phone at 9 PM. Allow your mind a chance to reflect on the day, read a book, and pray. As a bonus, you’ll probably sleep better. 
  • Be grateful. We are challenging our family to write a thank you note per day for the month of November to cultivate hearts of gratitude. 
  • Try the One Minute Pause. John Eldredge has a great free app you should definitely try. Do it in the morning, midday, or when you arrive home before you get out of your car. It’s amazing what a minute can do for your attitude.
  • Take a slow walk outside. I am all about exercise, but I have been surprised at what God shows me when I am attentive to his creation. You would not believe the beauty to behold in the Mount Pleasant Seacoast parking lot! Last week, I took a walk with my daughter through the East lot, near the pond. When we stopped, we saw fish, a rainbow in the pond fountain, stunning flowers and vines, butterflies, frogs, ants, and dew shimmering on the grass. 

As things start to get “back to normal,” ask yourself what you want your new normal to look like. Implement some practices that will allow you to slow down and produce the kind of harvest you desire to see.