As I sit here on my bed, the wind is swirling round the dust and sun-drenched leaves. They are like brown husks – lying in snow-like drifts across the road and paths. It is a bizarre scene, in the middle of our summer. I am not sure whether I should be ordering yellow or black tops!
Why do I mention this? It is because I am in the middle of experiencing a bit of a life re-vamp and have been thinking about this over the last week or two. As Christians we have many different responsibilities to ourselves, to others and to God.
But it is always God to whom we should be orientated and focussed because, at the end of the day if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus I do not think that we can go too far wrong. It is also right to say that sometimes we can over-think certain things. Why do I do this? Do I need to ask God about this?
This is something that I am guilty of and yet similarly, perhaps I run into things that might require a little more God-time. I bring the topic back down to clothing because it is something that I seem to struggle with. I look at my wardrobe and think ‘I have nothing to wear’, but I can see at least ten tops and a few pairs of trousers that look fine.
So what do I mean? I feel as though I have been wanting to do things quickly rather than properly. Whether it is clothing or life - there is an inherent impatience in my spirit which makes me want to leave before the sentence is finished. I buy before I think what suits me and what I like. I look at the price-tag, rather than the fit and think more about my bank balance than whether the top would mean I can wear these trousers/skirt again. Why do I want to do things quickly rather than properly?
I want it now
I want it now. That was the song of the girl from the film ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. Interestingly she said – ‘don’t care how’ as well. I laugh as I think about this. She was wanting it so much that she did not care about anything else. It seems to be the opposite of an equally strong and present cultural movement in the opposite direction, where everything is about provenance and location.
We cannot get enough of the stories about the cow that lived not two miles from here or the chicken that had plenty of green grass to run around in before it ended up on your plate. Yet also there is the demand for same-day delivery, instant gratification and 24-hour mortgage approvals. We have become caught in a now-now web whilst also praising and extoling a slow food movement. Can these things manage to co-exist harmoniously?
I thought about where I could see the quick and the slow talked about and shown to us in bold daylight. The answer is always Jesus. We can see that he, throughout his time on earth would never be more than a few chapters away from withdrawal to be with his father. This happened a lot in the Gospels – like ‘a lot’. Apart from the personality-test loving types thinking ‘was Jesus a closet introvert?’
This also interests me! I find myself constantly in need of withdrawal time. I do not crave noise or music when I am alone. I like listening to the wind blowing through the trees or the sound of the moorhen or coot by the river. I feel like there is a part of me that is very old-school. I do not need beats wherever I go and do not require the constant chatter of others to feel like I have had a good weekend.
I respect and love those that do but that is not me. I thought about this over the last few days and wondered if there was something wrong with me. Maybe in taking the time to think and reflect on and – importantly be OK with me as me, I have done the ‘quiet withdrawal’ and the reflection needed to be able to grow and journey contentment in myself. I do not always get it right. But a refusal to withdraw when it is what I need leads to my soul eddying about and vibrating to the tune of others. A step away means that my soul comes to rest and refuel.
When Jesus had spent time with God he always re-appeared in power. He was not sluggish or groggy. He was full of insight, kindness, laughter and fun. I want to be like that. He knew himself so totally that he was able to discern when he needed rest and withdrawal and when he wanted community.
I want to be able to know myself well enough that I can live in the ‘slow’ withdrawal to my heavenly father and then say yes decisively. Properly and without regret. Perhaps it is no bad thing to live both slowly and quickly. If you live the one at the right time, you will live the other well too.
There is a dance step that goes ‘quick quick slow, quick quick slow’. There is a perfect rhythm to it and it looks good – here endeth the lesson.
Rosie Robinson is a PSI young writer based in England.