OK to Slow Down

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve along? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “My dear Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken from her.” Luke 10:40-42.

It’s OK to Slow Down”-High School Girl

I have a mentor named Heidi. Heidi has been a part of my story for a little over 20 years and she has filled a variety of roles in my life throughout those 20 years. She was my dance teacher when I was growing up, she did some of my schooling when I was homeschooled, she was my boss when I taught dance for her studio (to this day, I am in awe of how quickly she can tie a tap shoe). Now that I’m an adult, Heidi has three questions she asks me every time we talk:

  1. How are you doing?
  2. Are you taking days off?
  3. Are you slowing down? Because it’s OK to slow down.

Heidi gets to see a different side of me. She has spent years walking alongside me, teaching me, and loving me. But Heidi gives me the reminder that I often need to hear: It’s OK to slow down.

There are seasons of our lives that often feel super hectic. Could be at the beginning of an athletic season, could be in the thick of Tech Week (theater people, I see you), could be as you transition from one chapter of life to the next. In the middle of those times, it can be easy for our faith, what is most important, to get lost. If right now, life feels busy or hectic, allow me to speak these words to you:

It’s OK to slow down.

Feel free to go back and read that sentence as many times as you need to for the truth to really sink in. A lot of us want to do all the things all the time. We want to make sure people are taken care of certain assignments get done or our rooms get cleaned or *insert thing here*. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus visits the home of his friends Mary and Martha. Jesus comes over and Mary and Martha have very different reactions to Jesus being in their home. Mary sits at Jesus feet listening to Him. It was customary for that time to sit at the feet of a Rabbi or teacher.  While Mary is sitting, Martha is running around, doing all the work, the cooking, the cleaning. If you have ever had people to your home, this makes complete sense. The Messiah is in her house and she wants to be hospitable and welcoming with the best she could provide.

Martha notices that Mary isn’t doing anything to help her and she verbalizes that to Jesus. Jesus’ response probably surprised Martha and us. “My dear Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken from her.” Luke 10:41-42. Jesus let’s Martha know that He doesn’t need her to serve Him, but that He came to serve Mary, Martha, and all of us.

In a society that praises busyness and packed schedules, Jesus calls you to something different. Jesus calls you to slow down and spend time with Him. It’s important to be still and sit at His feet. We should spend time in prayer, reading Scripture, and in worship. As we spend time with God in His Means of Grace we learn to more deeply understand who we are what God has done for us.

Think of how different your life would be if you were consistently reminded to slow down and spend time with Jesus? As you read this, it’s possible that you can come up with a list of all the reasons why you can’t slow down. And there may be some truth to that list. But at the end of the day, what you’re called to is sit in the presence of Jesus in His Word and Sacrament. So right now, breathe. Just breathe. Spend time sitting in the quiet and being present as you pray or read God’s Word. That time may feel less productive, but it is the better choice Jesus encouraged in Mary and in us. Because after all,

It’s OK to slow down.

Prayer

Jesus, you took time to rest and you encouraged others to take time just to be with you while you were on earth. Remind us that it is okay for us to slow down and spend time with you. Help us to put aside the business of life and be filled by your Word to us. Give us your peace even when we feel only the need to be productive. In Your name we pray, Amen.

Questions to journal/reflect upon

  1. When someone says to you, “You need to slow down”, how does that make you feel?
  2. Read Luke 10:38-42. Do you identify with Mary or Martha?
  3. What is your ideal way to relax and unplug?
  4. Set a goal for yourself. Find one way that you can unplug for at least 10 minutes a day. Spend that time simply being still.

Published March 31, 2022

About the author

Sarah is a DCE at Woodbury Lutheran Church in Woodbury, MN. When she’s not teaching kids/teens about Jesus and coming up with hashtags for church-wide events, she enjoys taking pictures around the Twin Cities and spending time at her cabin in Northwestern Minnesota. Sarah’s known for her love of coffee, hatred of mornings, and creating games that involve hiding Rubber Chickens at the various campuses of WLC and then forgetting where she hid them.
View more from Sarah

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