Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Stacy Averette

I have lived all of my life in the southeastern United States. In the South, we’re known for slow talking—we drag and drawl words into more consonants than their spelling dictates. And I’m old enough to remember a time when we lived slowly, too. Life was more leisurely and less frantic.

But times have changed and now we move at the speed of light. We’re always in a hurry. We are a culture addicted to speed.

No one is forcing us to be in hurry. You may feel the pressure to hurry but no one can force you to comply. You decide.

And yes, I am aware that there may be consequences of disregarding the demand to “Hurry up!” and ignoring the “ASAP” requests. But what about the consequences of always being in a hurry?

What is our addiction to speed costing us?

Being in a hurry might result in a speeding ticket but our souls pay a much higher price. Busyness and hurry are fatally wounding our souls.

For decades God has been showing me what it looks like to live and move at the speed of love. I think, if you take a hard, honest look at your life, He’s been showing you, too.

Godspeed: The Speed of Love

We are born moving at Godspeed. Children move slowly. They take their time. They notice, ask questions, and more questions. They make time for long hugs, naps, and petting animals. They notice the moon and stars and flowers and bugs. And all the while we’re encouraging them to “Hurry up.”

Soon they learn our hurried ways and we feel hurt when “they don’t have time for us anymore” because they’re busy being busy and in a hurry just like we taught them.

As a child I spent hours in the woods around my house moving slowly, exploring nature, sitting in trees listening, and learning. By the time I was a teenager, I’d learned how to be busy, and being busy required me to be in a hurry. The first speed bump God inserted into my life was a knee injury. I was 14 the first time I tore my ACL and had surgery. The recovery and rehabilitation took months. I was forced to be still for weeks and then move slowly for months. God had my undivided attention. That spring and summer were transformational for me. But I soon resumed life at the speed of light.

Fast forward a few years and again God inserted another speed bump known as The Big Easy. In 1989, Eric and I moved to New Orleans to continue our education. New Orleans was a place I’d heard about all my life but I didn’t really know what life there would be like. I quickly learned that the speed of light was the wrong speed in New Orleans and I happily adapted. New Orleans is a lively city but rarely do you see anyone in a hurry. People savor each other and their life in a different way there. Those years were transformational for me. I liked living life at Godspeed and it was easy in that season. But I left that season and that city and soon I resumed life at the speed of light.

A few months passed and again God inserted another speed bump. The speed bumps were coming faster now with less opportunity to accelerate in between. God knew what He was doing. Again my life was slowing down to Godspeed. Our son was born in 1994, our daughter in 1998, and another son in 2000 and I learned that babies and toddlers do not move at the speed of light. Those early years of motherhood required me to readjust my pace and my rhythm. I began walking slower to accommodate the tiny feet and legs that wanted to take their time and explore. I became a child again too, noticing butterflies, a daytime moon, and tiny beetles scurrying through blades of grass. Those years were transformational for me. I was learning to live at the speed of love.

In every season, the speed bumps had a purpose. I was certain that God was slowing me down to the speed of Love so that I could live well and serve those around me for His glory.

Many years passed and just when I thought life couldn’t get any slower or lovelier, I encountered another speedbump and this one was the most surprising and difficult of all to navigate. The empty nest brought my life to a screeching halt. I’m not the mom who wept about her children leaving the nest. With great joy and celebration, I encouraged each of them on their way to a life of adventure with God. No one was more excited than me to see them embark on their journeys.

But what is the purpose of the speed bump in this season? What shall I do with this God-ordained slowness? Where can I lead? Who can I teach? How might I serve? I need to have a quantifiable result. I need proof, for myself and others that I’m not just being lazy, checking out, or isolating. “Here I am! Use me, Lord. Give me something to do” was my heart’s cry. I didn’t know how to be un-busy.

As I look back I can see the gracious hand of God slowing me with that first speed bump to focus on my physical health, then my education and ministry, and later my children, my husband, and my home. But what now? What is to be my focus in this slowing down? What is the purpose now for living at the speed of love?

It has taken months, years even to see and understand what He’s up to and in the process gain clarity about His true purpose all along. His goal has always been to fine-tune my focus on Him.

It’s not that I didn’t see it in the aftermath of each speed bump but my newfound focus each time was accompanied by a sense of purpose that was visible, measurable, and applaudable. But not this time. This time He’s slowing me for no purpose other than to see and know Him in a deeper way. You might say that my writing is a purpose but I’ve done very little writing in the last two years. After my book was published in 2020 I anticipated more of the same. I thought “When Life is Hard: 50 Reminders that God is Near” would translate into more writing, more sharing, and more speaking to encourage others to live as if God is near.

Instead, my life has felt quite unproductive. I’ve been lonely. Felt invisible. Unproductive.  Lazy. But in slowing down and focusing on Him and listening to my life as it is, as He has ordained it, I’ve come to understand that I still need healing. There’s still a part of me that only feels worthy of love if I am producing and purposing. He’s reminding me that my true purpose for existing is to know God and enjoy Him forever. Living at Godspeed helps me to see that anything and everything I do or produce must be for His glory. God isn’t interested in busy work. He’s not impressed with our busyness.

I’m becoming more comfortable with His nearness—enjoying his presence without doing a thing. It’s not easy for me to let someone love me without trying to earn it. I began my life wanting to do great things for God. That sounds like a noble plan until God showed me that what I really wanted was to “do great things for God” so that others would be pleased and pat me on the back and promote me and like me. God doesn’t care about our noble purposes. They’re filthy rags really. He wants so much more for us than that.

In this season, He’s removed some responsibilities, activities, and people from my life. I’ve felt confused, disoriented, lost, and quite restless. But like a tired, fussy baby fighting rest in the arms of a loving parent, I’ve surrendered.

I trust Him.

I don’t know how long this season will last. I’d love to quote a Bible verse and tell you that this slow season is His way of preparing me for something new and different, bigger and better, but that’s just my attempt to control things—by making them make sense to me.

Through it all there’s one thing I know for sure: He is near. I feel His presence and His love. I hear Him speak through His Word.  There’s nothing I could ever need more than that.

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