Slowing Down

One thing we’ve realized is that things move much slower in Africa. Without many of the conveniences that we’ve been used to, daily tasks are much more time-consuming. Even a “quick trip” into town never turns out to be “quick.” Internet is painfully slow at times. There is no convenience food–the closest thing to fast food is fruit and popcorn for a meal (which may not be a bad thing!).

We’ve always known that life in America is lived at a faster pace–both internally and externally. We have often felt pressured to work faster and do better, and by default it’s sometimes been hard to maintain spiritual growth and capture God’s peace. When the world whirls around you at a breakneck pace, it can be difficult to take a step back and focus on the One who is at the center of it all. However, here in Africa, it seems that everyone is in one accord with the slower pace. It’s not uncommon to see families congregating under a shade tree in the middle of a hot afternoon. When someone stops by for tea, they typically stay a while. If your neighbor sees you out sweeping your veranda, it’s a good opportunity for them to come over and chat for a few minutes. In the evening, after the house starts to darken, families often wander outside where it is still light and you can hear conversation, laughter, and games.

While this slower pace has been occasionally frustrating to our American flesh, there are benefits. We’re here to share the Gospel of the Kingdom and engage in discipleship–and those relationships only flourish where time can be invested. It’s also been a blessing to our family, as the children have each individually gone on town trips with their Dad and enjoyed the extended one-on-one time. The girls and I are work together on laundry and food preparation and are trying to take the opportunity to really enjoy the moments we spend together serving one another and talking as we work.

Even if things around you move quickly, try to slow down and find the quiet presence of God in your everyday moments. Seize hold of what He wants to accomplish in His time, and don’t be distracted by all the “doings.”