Monday, July 07, 2014


(Note from Feb. 25, 2017: I participate in Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung each week, and while I did write an original post for the "SLOW" prompt on Feb. 24/17, I also remembered this old post that was right on topic, so I've decided to add it to the linkup too!)

We had to get a new dishwasher last month after our old one conked out.  The new one is sleek and shiny and works great:  it gets the dishes squeaky clean, and it runs so quiet, I can hardly tell it's on.

However, it's also really slow. A regular wash cycle used to take about an hour on the old machine; now it takes two hours.  So I've had to adjust to this slower, longer cycle:  I need to be careful not to start the dishwasher if someone might want to take a shower within the following two hours, and I have to make sure I don't put anything in it that I might need before the cycle's over.

The manual states that newer-model dishwashers use a longer, slower cycle in order to save energy -- just like a car uses less fuel when driven more slowly.  That makes perfect sense, yet in a world where faster is almost always seen as better (Go back to dial-up Internet?  No thanks!), it almost seems quaint to be assured that slowness is a positive feature.

In a recent post on her blog "Classical Quest," my friend Adriana remarked about recovering from illness and feeling "like a tortoise in a world of hares."  That expression seemed to strike a chord among her readers, many of whom said in their comments that that was exactly how they felt.

I'm one of those readers.  I looked at my life and realized in many ways how slow it is.
  • I read quickly, but I write slowly.  I've been working on my tween novel since the fall of 2011 (or is it 2010?  I've honestly lost track), and I'm still only on my second draft.
  • I express my opinion quickly on superficial matters (like grammar errors in the newspaper and celebrities' questionable fashion choices) but am slow to share my own deeper thoughts.  I looked back at the 6-week Beth Moore study I'd participated in at church and realized I'd only spoken up three or four times in my very talkative small group, although I felt inside that I had a lot to say.
  • I'm slow to embrace change, slow to risk, slow to decide.  I procrastinate.
  • At times I feel stuck and lacking in accomplishment.  I know one of my primary callings is to be a mom to two kids who need a lot of support, and I've accepted, even embraced, that calling -- but sometimes I feel things are going nowhere fast in my life.  And comparing myself with others (which I know is the kiss of death) only adds to that feeling.
So it was really helpful yesterday morning in church when Pastor Mark spoke on I Corinthians 15:58, and I've decided to use this verse as today's Monday morsel:

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. 
Let nothing move you. 
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, 
because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

His whole sermon text was that one verse.  No, his I Corinthians sermon series hasn't been covering one verse per week; that would be too slow even for me.  But I'm glad he selected this single verse for yesterday's message, because it helped me realize that focusing on accomplishments and achievements and quick results is missing the point.  As he showed us, the "Therefore" that begins the verse is key:  remembering what Jesus has done for us in the past and trusting in what He's going to do in the future are like a pair of bookends.  With both of those in place, we can stand firm, trusting that God is working in and through us even when things seem slow and unproductive.  Mark even used a picture of a turtle as an example of a creature that is standing firm and purposeful, not easily moved or disturbed.

So I feel better now about being a tortoise.  Life is not about being fast.  It's about doing what we're called to do and not stressing about the outcome ... and enjoying the benefits of life in the slow lane.


  1. Very good food for thought! .... Linda D.

    1. Thanks, Linda! Have a good day and thanks for coming by.

  2. So that is why my new dishwasher takes so long! I had know idea! Love your thoughts here, friend. I'm beginning to feel more confident in the idea that being a tortoise is not a bad thing. We blog to know we're not alone, right?

    This is good: "Remembering what Jesus has done for us in the past and trusting in what He's going to do in the future are like a pair of bookends. With both of those in place, we can stand firm, trusting that God is working in and through us even when things seem slow and unproductive."

    There is such pressure in our culture to move quickly. This morning while reading your post, I thought of how I used to meander home when I got off the school bus when I was a kid. My neighbor (a grown woman!) started taunting me, calling me "Pokey." That nickname pained me for a long time.

    I love illuminated manuscripts, slow-cooked beef that is so tender it falls apart, "wasting" time with God, hand made tapestries that cover entire walls, a perfectly ripe avocado, long books with lots of deep insights, gray hair (well, on other people), long-term plans, massive old trees, Chopin waltzes that take years to get right -- stuff like that.

    Thank you so much for the shout-out and the encouragement. I feel blessed by this post today. ♥

    1. Thank you, Adriana - I wasn't sure if I could pull all these ideas together (dishwasher, tortoise, sermon) and then I decided not to worry about whether it was a perfect mix of metaphors or not! It made sense to me! Glad it made some sense to you, too. (And I'm enjoying getting "fist-pump baby" in there, too. Have you ever gone to a "meme generator" website? Now THAT's time well wasted!) I love your examples of the slow things. And Jonathan's just like you meandering home from school. Why in the world do we need to hurry when there's laundry to look at, garbage trucks to wave at, etc.....

    2. Exactly. Jonathan knows best! I actually stopped on the way to the grocery last night because I came around a bend in the road and saw the perfect picture. A breeze was blowing a bunch of weed-fluff into the air. It was this big billow of fluff lit up by the sunset. I got out of my car to try to capture it, but the breeze died down, so I wasn't successful. Still, it was fun. :-)

  3. Replies
    1. And thanks for coming by and commenting. Do I know you? With a handle like that, I hope so! I have my suspicions actually .....

  4. Our life in Christ is not in vain - what a great thought to rest on and sit a spell thinking about. Taking it slowly in Christ.

    P.S. Fist bump baby is really getting around in your company, Jeannie.

    1. I know, right?

      I just remembered you wrote recently about making haste slowly -- that's what it's all about isn't it.

  5. Really helpful wisdom in this. Thank you! (from one who is quick to respond almost always)

    1. Thanks, Sarah. Have a great day!

  6. What a comforting thought. I'm a slow writer, too, and seem to have problems producing work (and even more problems submitting it!) I don't necessarily procrastinate but deadlines paralyze me and seem to make me physically ill at times, so I can relate. Just in reading your blog post, I realized something else: the apostle Paul says that he presses on toward his goal but he doesn't say what his pace is. Is that possibly so we Christians don't start comparing "race times" with one another?!

    1. That's a great point -- so encouraging. And I love Isaiah 40:31 as well -- "they will soar on wings as eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint" -- it acknowledges that there are going to be some of us who are a bit more tortoise-like in our journey. Thanks for stopping by, Laura!

  7. Hi Jeannie, I've been saving this post for when I had a few minutes to comment. After reading Adrianna's post and yours, I got thinking about the kids' song whose chorus goes,

    "All God's critters got a place in the choir
    Some sing low, and some sing higher
    Some sing out loud on the telephone wire
    And some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they got, now!"

    Your blog is such a great reminder that we've all got a place, we've all got a voice, and we're all valuable in God's sight. You, me (although I feel more like turtle/mourning dove than a tortoise), your children, mine. Enjoy your summer! Maureen

    1. Thanks, Maureen. I love that song, and the reminder that we are all precious to God, no matter what.


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