Your Permission to Grow Slowly
By Jennifer Dukes Lee
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head….” — Mark 4:26-28
We all crave a meaningful life. This is good and holy. But in the quest for meaning, we get mixed up, turned around, and accidentally end up constantly in a hurry. We rush to grow successful businesses, a more potent faith, robust bank accounts, and, if we are parents, spiritually-grounded children. We climb proverbial mountains and dream bigger dreams. Any obstacles can be obliterated swiftly by the right amount of self-help dynamite.
That sort of existence may, indeed, lead us somewhere spectacular. But the costs are high: we end up feeling rushed, often anxious and out of sorts, fearful that we are falling behind.
Here, the hurried heart is born and then nurtured in a million ways by a culture that idolizes bigger, harder, faster. This was the life I accidentally chose—a life of running hard, scaling fast, and chasing results.
Do you know the bruising, try-hard way of the hurried heart?
A hurried heart manifests itself in both big and little ways—from the way you feel about your life’s worth to the way you respond to being stuck in a long line at Starbucks. It’s the way you react when you hop on Instagram, see everybody winning, and conclude that your contributions seem meaningless.
Take a moment to reflect on your life and consider whether you show signs of a hurried heart:
- You feel like you are working harder than ever but can never get ahead.
- Periods of slowness make you feel uneasy, like you should be doing something productive.
- You check your phone immediately upon waking up.
- You get frustrated in traffic or in long lines at grocery stores.
- You rarely make time for play.
- You feel a sense of urgency to get things done; sometimes this keeps you up at night.
- You can’t remember the last time you felt bored.
- You think if a person is bored, she might be a little lazy.
- You pride yourself on your ability to multitask.
- You never feel you’ve done enough.
- Delays or unexpected obstacles upset or irritate you.
- You’ve asked yourself questions like, “Does anything I do even matter?” or “What do I have to show for my life?”
Not all of these will resonate, but even if a few do, you probably have a hurried heart. Let’s be honest: almost all of us do, but we don’t know how to tap the brakes.
We want to believe a slower life is possible but fear we will miss out if we don’t keep the pace. So we bend to the pressure to go big and get public, and that’s exactly the moment when we miss the gift of slowness, even the gift of obscurity. We chase after something that keeps slipping through our fingers. This grasp at an elusive state of spectacular-ness never ends, for it always seems just out of reach. Which means everybody keeps moving a little faster to touch a moving target.
Adult Jennifer understands what College Jennifer didn’t yet know. We don’t need permission to be spectacular.
We need permission to be un-spectacular.
We need permission to stop trying to build something bigger, to have the right conversations with the right people. To stop sucking in our guts, to stop waiting for the kids’ nap time so we can finally get to our important work. We need permission to stop idolizing brawn and might. We need permission to take our time, to marvel, to wonder and ponder and savor, and to move at the un-hurried pace of Christ. Time is not a commodity to be used but a gem to be treasured.
We need permission to grow slow.
Taken from Growing Slow: Lessons on Un-Hurrying Your Heart from an Accidental Farm Girl by Jennifer Dukes Lee. Click here to learn more about this book.
Enter a simpler way of living by unhurrying your heart, embracing the relaxed rhythms of nature, and discovering the meaningful gift of growing slow.
We long to make a break from the fast pace of life, but if we’re honest, we’re afraid of what we’ll miss if we do. Yet when going big and hustling hard leaves us stressed, empty, and out of sorts, perhaps this can be our cue to step into a far more satisfying, sustainable pace. In this crafted, inspiring read, beloved author Jennifer Dukes Lee offers a path to unhurried living by returning to the rhythm of the land and learning the ancient art of Growing Slow.
Jennifer was once at breaking point herself, and tells her story of rude awakening to the ways her chosen lifestyle of running hard, scaling fast, and the neverending chase for results was taking a toll on her body, heart, and soul. But when she finally gave herself permission to believe it takes time to grow good things, she found a new kind of freedom. With eloquent truths and vivid storytelling, Jennifer reflects on the lessons she learned from living on her fifth-generation family farm and the insights she gathered from the purposeful yet never rushed life of Christ. Growing Slow charts a path out of the pressures of bigger, harder, faster, and into a more rooted way of living where the growth of good things is deep and lasting.
Following the rhythms of the natural growing season, Growing Slow will help you:
- Find the true relief that comes when you stop running and start resting in Jesus
- Learn practices for unhurrying your heart and mind every day
- Let go of the pressure and embrace the small, good things already bearing fruit in your life
- And engage slow growth through reflection prompts and simple application steps
Jennifer Dukes Lee lives on the fifth-generation Lee family farm in Iowa, where she and her husband are raising crops, pigs, and two beautiful humans. She writes books, loves queso, and enjoys singing too loudly to songs with great harmony. Once upon a time, she didn’t believe in Jesus; now he’s her CEO. Find Jennifer at www.JenniferDukesLee.com and on Instagram at @JenniferDukesLee.
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May 14, 2021