By Doug Creamer
I was putting a few things on the calendar the other day when I realized it was almost June. This cannot be possible. It looks like we just had Valentine’s Day and Easter. I didn’t bring in my garden. Go calendar… slow down!
My pastor seeks a word from the Lord each year for our church to focus on. My favorite so far was: Bigger. That year we were to expect even greater things than we had seen the Lord do in our lives. The scripture is from John 14:12-14. Jesus tells his disciples that if they believe in him, they will do even greater things than him.
In January, my pastor gave us our new word for this year: Slowdown. I had just taken on a new job teaching adult basics. Some people might think I’ve been teaching for 36 years, what’s the problem? Anytime you have a new program that you need to learn, that’s a big deal. We teach in eight-week cycles, which means I had to create eight weeks of lesson plans for two classes. For the first eight weeks of this year, I felt overloaded. How could I slow down?
I completed the first eight-week cycle with joy. I knew I would still need to refine my teaching method and materials, but at least I had a base to work from. I thought, now I can slow down. My supervisor mentioned to me that there was an online course I could take that would get me a nice raise. It was a 10 week class that didn’t feel overwhelming. I had undergrad under my belt and the raise was enticing. Sign me up!
I am about to complete the course. I can’t remember a time in my life when I was busier. Wait a minute… I’m supposed to be retired! The idea of slowing down is the very definition of retirement, isn’t it? My schedule is busy until the end of May, when am I supposed to slow down?
Will I be able to slow down in June? We have a few days off at the end of June and beginning of July. But I’m sure the garden will have to be weeded and we would like to see our family. I also promised to work on painting projects that I postponed. I have also been working on another book and I need to devote time and energy to it. There goes summer.
How to slow down? I like to stay active. I like to engage in life. I have trouble slowing down. There always seems to be a list of things to do, people I want to see, places I need to go, and all the regular weekly activities. With so much going on, what does the Lord say when He tells me to slow down?
I haven’t started planting my vegetable garden. I plowed half the garden in March, but hadn’t done anything in the garden since. I decided I wanted to see if I could start my garden before it rains this weekend. I ran into a few garden centers after work on Monday, so I was ready to go when I got home on Tuesday.
It was peaceful. There was a wonderful breeze. The birds were singing. I was planting seeds and some tomato grafts. I like the feel of the ground. I heard a dog barking somewhere and a child playing. I felt his presence in a sweet and wonderful way. Joy filled my heart.
I believe slowing down is something different for each of us. For some, it’s reading a book on the porch, taking a walk or run, riding a bike, cooking or cooking something, going fishing or hunting, painting, playing an instrument, going for a hike or walking on the beach. I believe slowing down means disengaging from all the craziness of everyday life and spending some quiet time doing what we love most…with Him. He wants to join us and enjoy being with us.
I want to encourage you to figure out how you can slow down and be with him. It doesn’t require a vacation, it requires us to eliminate distractions and focus on Him. He expects nothing from us, he just lets his presence surround and envelop us. He wants to appreciate us as we appreciate him. Let his peace, love and joy surround you. You’ll be glad you slowed down.
Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or [email protected]