One of my hopes for my 30’s is unhurriedness, and Jennifer Lee’s journey toward growing slow fits well.
A few favorite passages:
Sure enough, in all my years as a farmer’s wife, I’ve never once seen a corn plant freaking out. We needed to find the courage to be still, to give everything a little bit of time, to let it all grow slow. In the middle of that hard year, it dawned on me: what I believed to be true for the land, I didn’t completely believe for me, in my grow-fast life. What if, in a growing-slow year, I deliberately embraced a Growing Slow life? What if I set aside all I’d been taught about achievement and ambition and goals? What if I stopped treating all of life like an emergency? It seemed audacious. What would I stand to gain? And what would I stand to lose? Because the truth of the matter was, I had always been in a hurry.
Here’s what I learned: in the scramble to grow a purposeful life, we accidentally forfeit too much—a settledness with what we already have, a sense of peace with what already is, and a connectedness with the people right here with us. You can get so rushed chasing a certain kind of remarkable life that you miss the fact that you’re already standing inside the one God gave you.
In the midst of this wild experiment of embracing slowness, Jesus has been smashing my long-cherished ideas of “growth” into a million pieces. The world rewards fast growth over slow growth. It rewards overnight sensations, the first, the best, and the fastest. And who doesn’t like rewards? But there is a richer reward waiting for us when we embrace slowness and stop idolizing speed. A Growing Slow life gives you what your heart really longs for: permission to take a beat and to take a breath; grace to try again; courage to walk instead of run; and space to live in the astonishing and wild love of Christ.
I believe with all my heart that our spiritual ancestors would tell us this: It’s okay to grow slow, because when you grow slow, you grow deep.
Growing Slow will actually make you better at what you do, not worse. But your focus is no longer on the pace of your growth. Instead, it’s on the depth of your roots. It’s walking it all out at a gospel pace, one step at a time, one task at a time, one bite at a time, one touch at a time, one conversation at a time. We don’t need to complicate this. It’s the simple things that will pull us out of the culture of hurry: Refusing to multitask, instead focusing on the single task before you.
Grab hold of this truth, and hold it with all your might: God is with you in the spectacular, and he’s with you in the regular. There is dignity in both places. Your ordinary life matters. There is honor inherent in being faithful in the small things, even in the fields where the seed is just beginning to break open underground. You don’t have to be brilliant to be beautiful. You don’t have to be influential to be important. You don’t need be an authority in order to have agency over the square foot of land where our Good Lord has placed you.
Planting seeds, without seeing results right away, is the hard work called faith. In faith, your knees have been dirtied. In faith, you have mud under your fingernails. In faith, you’ve left footprints in those fields. This can’t be hurried, no matter how much this world makes you think you’re falling behind. The secret to healing your hurried heart begins with step one: holding onto hope as if your life depends on it. Hurry wounds a hope-filled heart. Christ, in turn, will heal it.
Biblical hope is a confident expectation. It is the full assurance that God is going to come through as we press seeds into the dirt. Slow down today and let the living hope of a living God engulf you.
He is planting seeds within you—seeds which will bear internal fruit with eternal value. He knows exactly how to care for you, cultivate you, and grow you. Our Father says you’re a field. And his Son says you are like soil. In the parable of seeds and soil, Jesus is the sower. He plants his seeds in all of us, but what grows depends on the condition of the soil.
He refuses to see you as anything less than a field worth tending, and he is willing to grow slow with us.
Our culture will make you think there are milestones. But there aren’t. You aren’t a cornfield. You are a person. You aren’t a corn seed. You are a soul. The growth in you isn’t dependent on weather or the right kind of fertilizer. Your progress can’t be predicted by the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Here’s the thing nobody talks about when it comes to your pace of growth: There are no set milestones.
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