I have always been one of those people with a slow processor built in my brain. Maybe it’s because I’m a hard dreamer, or maybe it’s because there are too many thoughts in my brain so it’s a little sluggish in there. Whatever the case, it’s who I am.
Being a person who thinks deeply, makes decisions slowly, and takes awhile to work through emotions and issues is not something that is celebrated or encouraged in our culture. We see it in schools, where children are pushed to learn and grow without assessing each child’s different need for growth. We see it in the hustle of daily life: “get it done, push it down” all for the sake of productivity. We see it in relationships: “are you talking about this again?” “are you struggling with this again?” We aren’t taught to have patience with people’s growth.
Thomas L. Friedman’s latest book, Thank You for Being Late, describes this hustle: “We are living at one of the greatest inflection points in history . . . . The three largest forces on the planet—technology, globalization, and climate change—are all accelerating at once” . While most people are “overwhelmed by it all,” Friedman argues, “in such a time, opting to pause and reflect, rather than panic or withdraw, is a necessity” .
What we often don’t realize is that the hustle and the expectation to “get over it” misses so many important aspects of growth. It’s why it’s developmentally appropriate for a baby to crawl before they walk. They miss aspects of growth that maybe aren’t always necessary, but healthy.
I’m done with quick fixes. I’m done with coming to terms, healing, struggling, understanding, growing on someone else’s time table. Someone else’s time table could be mine: expectations on myself. Or it could be someone else’s: someone tired of my same struggle, someone who wants to shut me up, who doesn’t want to “hear it anymore”, someone who can’t stand their own uncomfortable feelings about my process so they tell me to put up and shut up.
I’m trying to learn the way Jesus gives us permission to grow slow. He doesn’t rush us into feeling, or decision. I’m learning He doesn’t “should” on us. He allows us to work through our emotions in our own time. There is no expectation from Him about needing us to “ship up or ship out” or to “put up and shut up”.
We are not entitled to stew in our own misery and despair. The Lord always offers hope. But a day to the Lord is like 1000 years! Time does not mean anything to the Lord. He gives us as much time as we need for growth.
But we can also be sure of the fact that despite how long it takes for us to process things, we can be sure growth and change will happen. We can be sure of that because the Lord wills it so.
But I’m not going to be the one to will it. I’m not going to “quick fix” it. I may not “get it” the 1000th time you’ve said it. But I will get it as He walks gently and slowly with me, and as I grow into the person that He’s created me to be.
“There is absolutely no reason for being rushed along with the rush.
Everybody should be free to go slow.”