Knowing and Slowing

“Never stop improving.” That’s been my life mantra for the past 10+ years. Whether in the form of home renovation, refining systems at work, or learning tools to deeper study the Scriptures, who doesn’t love improvement? While the Bible does encourage us to be constant in our growth, it also teaches us to stop, rest, and connect. What we do is important, but true rest allows a reintegration for mind, body, and spirit. 

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” It doesn’t say, “Move faster and achieve more!” but be still and know God—I like to think of it as “slowing and knowing.” 

Last summer, I took a deep dive into my journey of slowing and knowing, hoping to create more margin to connect more deeply with God and others. Easy, I naively thought. I’ll just add and subtract a few things in my daily rhythm and be well on my way toward a life of margin and rest.  

Wrong! It has been an arduous battle to overturn many years of cultural pressure to achieve more and stop less. Not to mention the magical boxes in our pockets that make us always available, taking us where we want to go whenever we want to go there!  

God graciously reminded me of my need for margin one Thursday near the end of the fall semester. With students soon to leave campus for winter break, I packed my schedule full of meals and gatherings with students. But when my first meeting went long, that affected my next meeting, and the next, and the next! To make it even more laughable, during my commute between meetings I was blitzing through a nearly expired audio rental of the Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. My ears were hearing “slow,” but my lifestyle was saying “no!” 

This concept of slowing and knowing extends from Genesis to Revelation. God concluded His creation of all things by resting and ceasing from His work! God knew when to say “enough,” and built that pattern of rest into the weekly and annual rhythms for his people in the form of Sabbath. God‘s heart in Sabbath is not to limit our ability, but actually maximize our impact and deepen our dependence on Him as we live in this world where we and our bodies have limitations.  

Richard Swenson unpacked this well in his book Margin when he said, “Margin grants freedom and permits rest. It nourishes both relationship and service. Spiritually, it allows availability for the purposes of God.” Jesus was the master of this! Even in the fullness of ministry, teaching, and healing, He made space to retreat to lonely places and connect with his Father.  

Though I’m still a novice, I am fighting against the current of our ceaseless culture to practice slowing and knowing God.

Picture of Bill Miller

Bill Miller

Associate Campus Director Nashville, TN
Associate Campus Director Nashville, TN

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