This year I've made only one resolution for myself. Which is to: 'go on my own pace'. Why? Last year have been a very difficult year for me. I've achieved a lot, I traveled a lot, but I was never in the moment. Everything that happened last year, mostly just swift by. I was only 24 years old when I got my master's degree last year, which is considered quite an achievement. But, all the experiences I went through never sinked in. Especially these days where everyone is consumed with speed. Everyone studies quickly, work quickly, we multi-task, make fast money, we play quickly, we eat fast food, we even love quickly... We're all moving at such speed, that we've disconnected and left behind what's important. Or at least, I did. I text instead of talk face to face, I gulp my food instead of savoring it, I chose quantity over quality. And these took toll on me. On my life. On my health. On my productivity. On my creativity. On my finances.
I am physically and mentally suffering because of the speed I'm living my life in. But, I realise now that the key is to set my own pace and live life according to that pace, not the world's. These past few months, my pace is as laid back as Jack Johnson's 'I Got You' track. This pace would be considered 'slow' according to the world. We've been taught speed ever since we're so young, that it is embedded in us, this makes slowing down a real challenge. In fact, the word 'slow' has a very negative connotations these days. It means: dumb, unsuccessful, falling behind. But what if slowing down is nothing but the opposite? Especially when done intentionally and with purpose.
"Rest and self care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel."
This decision in resorting to slow life was a spiritual decision also. I felt like God is pressing 'rest' on me since the end of last year, but it was so hard to understand or agree on it. I've been living life so fast and so used to it (in fact it is speed that kept me sane all these years). I couldn't trust God that I could or should rest. I have forgotten that even the Lord himself had Sabbath day and rested after He had done all His great works. And one of his great work was us, He made us according to His image, to be like Him. So it's only right that we rest... just like Him.
In Isaiah 30:15 we can read "This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it." See that? Salvation is in repentance and rest. In the Old testament the people of Israel ignored God, refuse to repent and did not want to rest in Him - even though that's where help will be in. I am as guilty as those Israelis. I chose insomnia and going to bed with heavy and frustrated hearts instead of with thankful and grateful prayers knowing that God got it all under control. And I'm sure many of us are guilty of this also ;) We ignore salvation, joy, peace because we do not want to repent and rest.
I'm sure there will be a time where you feel like leaving things behind and just refuse to do or thing about anything because you're too exhausted... But I'm also sure that a lot of us are scared to rest or slow down. Just like me. Because that's how I felt in the beginning when I made the decision to let myself rest; heck, I'm still scared now. Slowing down is scary. I still feel like this is a wrong decision. This might just me being lazy, this might just be me finding excuses to procrastinate. Or I might be suffering from peter pan syndrome. But you are allowed to rest. We are allowed to rest. "I am allowed to rest" - I keep telling myself that. We need to take time for you and to replenish, even the bible says so. Because when we push ourselves too much, we'll burn out. And when we don't allow ourselves to rest, it'll crack our spirit that it'll leave us fragile emotionally and spiritually. So slow down, restore your body, soul and spirit. It's what's best.
"Ultimately, our ability (or our inability) to rest shows us how much we trust (or don't trust) that God is in control."
So it's time for a paradigm shifting. 'Slow' is not dumb, it is not unsuccessful, it does not mean you're falling behind. It gives you time to catch up with God, family, friends, your digestive system and even your mental health. When you slow down in life, it restores balance. Not everything in life has to be speedy, instant or quick. Do things properly, enjoy life more. Learn the unforced rhythm of grace.
I'm still learning this whole thing. It's not quite easy especially when slow life resulting in financial difficulties & my faith eroding. The more I walk down this slow life, the more I'm having hard time believing and keeping faith. But I'll hold on for now, and I will slow down and go on my own pace.
I will pursue mastery on my work, I'll create works that are better than I have done before, and I will make sure that I will only give out the best projects. I am focusing in gathering with close family and friends -- my circles are small but I'm okay with it. I will learn to show more emotions, laugh, cry, hug, cheer and be present for everyone. This time I will make sure that human relationship are more important than my education and job.
I'd do my own laundry, watch the wind blows the clothes as it hangs and wait for it to dry. I'd go to the local market, buy from the small people rather than big supermarkets and help locals. Talk to locals and neighbours as I go around and about. I will focus on food. I'd like to learn to grow my own food, prep my own food, and relish the process as much as as I relish my food itself. When I think of food, I will remember my small family, my partner, my friends and community. I'd get rid of negative people around me, because life's too short for those kind of people. I will be with people who are positive and nurturing and share the same values of lifestyle with me. I will love other living things that God created, and take care of them just as God commanded.
I hope that my anxiety will turn into joy, and this time I will fully understand what content means. I will declutter more and more, and know that material things does not guarantee my joy and satisfaction in life. I will be more simple. I will be more healthy. I will be more compassionate. I will be less stressed out, less neurotic, less harmful.
This hasn't been easy, and I'm still learning. I'm far from fully understanding this. But as Spurgeon said, "In a long run, we shall do more in sometimes doing less", so I'm going to believe that rest time is not wasted time. Just like a field, the ones that has rested gives a more bountiful crop, I shall be the same. I've learned many lesson in my life, but one that sticks the most is what I learned from my father's death, which is: that the days of any man are ordered by God, not by human itself. There will always be work to do, but how much time do we have left, we will never know. This tells me that I am finite being, I need rest. How about you? Would you like to slow down your life and rest too?
"Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside."
Photos are of my daily slow life :)