Take some time to slow down

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 6, 2012

By Ronny Michel

I was first in line to welcome the cool fall breeze that blew through last week. I was ready to put on a light jacket for my early morning quiet time on the patio swing. I was anxious to turn on the oven to bake sweet potatoes, and I thought I was prepared to turn off the ceiling fans until I looked up to see what had accumulated since the last time those blades were motionless.

During the heat of the summer, my ceiling fans work constantly. Only when they wobble or make a noise do I pay attention to those much-needed appliances in my home. And only when a fan is still am I able to make the necessary adjustments and clean the blades. As I stood on a chair, armed with a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels, the parallel to my own life was a lot clearer than the glass globes which protect the fan’s lights. Maybe you can relate.

Everyone is busy. You may have to leave your house way too early in the morning and return much too late in the evening. You may be unemployed yet overworked as you pick up after children or grandchildren, drive carpool and keep the troops fed and in clean clothes. Or your relentless search for a job may have you drained. I know you have a lot to do, but I want you to stop. That’s right. Stop long enough for the wheels in your wonderfully complex, divinely constructed mind to find rest. Let the blades stop spinning. Walk away from the whirlwind of activity around you for just a moment. Cease from thinking of the next thing you are going to add to that heavy plate you are trying to carry. Ignore the voice that says just one more email response, just one more bill to pay, just two more hours of television. Ready, set, slow. Slow down. Quiet yourself and take a few moments to reflect, assess and pray, and in the words of the classic railroad crossing sign: Stop, Look, and Listen.

Even Jesus sought solitude. He left the crowd to grieve the death of John the Baptist. He chose a quiet mountainside to pray to God after a hectic day of teaching, healing and feeding a multitude with a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread. If spending time alone with God was important to Him, it should be my top priority.

Only in these quiet moments before God am I recharged. Sometimes He shows me how to become more balanced or less noisy or work more effectively. Other times He points to the dirt (wrong ambitions, anger, worry) that has accumulated in my quest to move faster and faster. A few minutes spent before God fills me with strength for my day, peace for my troubles and direction for my confusion. 

Regardless of the season, or the season of my life, spending time with God in prayer should begin and end each day. It’s much better than cleaning ceiling fans.

Ronny may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.