Unhurried

You'll laugh when you hear it.

When I was a girl, I was the fastest second grader crossing the monkey bars in my gray mohair sweater and I had the callouses to prove it. I was quick playing jacks too, sweeping those silver asteriks into the cup of my hand and catching the red rubber ball. At school I was the first to finish a book series and move onto another. Even today I am a quick and avid reader.

But is fast always best? I don't think so. Not everything is meant to be fast or is even good done in a big fat hurry.

My Mama and Daddy made it their job to keep my childhood my childhood, slowing down the world of the sixties and seventies rushing into our home. They were young, but still old fashioned in the way they paced our family life. My Daddy's job moved us around quite a bit, so we got our adventure and maturity seeing the world and living overseas.

For a girl who naturally liked to go fast (Mama called it going "Mach 10 with my hair on fire"), they were the perfect parents for me. Both were resolute in having a hardworking, uncrowded and unhurried family life. Mama and Daddy filled in our slower pace of life with wisdom, togetherness, creativity and the adventures of living abroad. As a teenager, when I wanted to be growing up a little faster and a whole lot cooler, deep down I knew it was brilliant. Even then, I could see that Trouble has a way of finding you without much help and going too fast only makes it that much easier.

When Mike and I were raising our four whippersnappers, we followed a similar slow and steady pace, holding the world back while getting the kids ready to fly, then gently releasing them like birds to the sky. I, on the other hand, was mama to four littles and I was hurried. In those days, I staked out a small patch of slow time in the dark minutes before the first little feet hit the floor. It was quick!

I have a natural tendency to think, eat, drive, walk and talk just a little too fast. Stuff has to get done. I want to get where I'm headed already! All of this rapid movement is only tempered by my love of reading and relationships and my deep desire to follow Jesus.These loves slow me down in the best possible way, in a mellowing, observant way. Still, I'm sure it is like stopping a locomotive. One simple observation guides me; Jesus, who had such a short life and a big mission, was not in a hurry. I don't need to be either.

But I don't just need to be unhurried, I truly want to be unhurried, inside and out; one informs the other, but I am looking to get to the inside no matter what's flying by on the outside. I have been through "the cull" and spent my write31days on white space. I have been sweeping the porch for an unhurried life for a few years now, maybe even as far back as my freshman year of college when I sat on wide marble steps at the University of Texas at Austin and began praying in earnest for wisdom; that deep, timeless, counter cultural, calm yet fierce Jesus-walking wisdom.

I have been on a journey to carve out space and slow down, to genuinely listen longer than a brief moment, as long as it takes me to hear what my Savior is saying to my soul. That is why when I prayed for my #oneword365, I knew I had my answer when "unhurried" came rising slowly, quietly and simply to the surface like a bubble from the sea floor.

I laughed out loud.

Give the fast moving girl the word "unhurried".

In typical Terri fashion, I had wanted to know the word I would wrestle with all year before Jan 1st. Hurry up!

But deep down I also honestly wanted to wait for the word God had for me. These guiding words take prayer and patience to come into view, to become clear. I prayed for the word to find me, to choose my heart to nestle into for the year or more as happened with "cull".

Unhurried is not a word I am apt to choose. It falls squarely in my weaknesses. It goes a bit against my nature while at the same time right in tune with my soul. That sounds like Jesus, right?

I don't know about you, but I am good at avoiding my weak spots or running the other way when I see them coming. God on the other hand, uses our weaknesses to break open new spaces for Him to work and shine. For all of my quick ways, I have been slow to grasp this. When I am weak, He is strong.

At. that. very. moment.

That is how I knew unhurried found me and I did not pluck it out of the sky. To use another word from my Mama (I call them Geeisms), "I wouldn't touch that with a ten foot pole".

Our God brings us gifts we don't want to open, good gifts. Hard gifts.

Despite some true fear and trembling when it came two years ago, I have come to love "cull" for making beautiful space in my soul. I honestly believe "cull" is still doing the clearing-out work it was sent to accomplish even while I begin to sit with "unhurried". It's all headed somewhere good. I get a hint of it, a tiny seed to plant, but the bloom is a season away and the fruit may be three years coming.

But I can wait. Remind me, I can wait.

My word "unhurried" came from God the Father via his Son who knows there's lots to do down here in the dirt and little time to do it in a lifespan. This same God knows me with my hurry-up heart. He is working on me from the inside out. He made me just so and is refining me into a better just so, His just so.

I already have some thoughts on "unhurried", what it is and what it isn't, but I am taking my time. I am gathering words like savor and tarry and they taste good and rich and sweet to my soul.

Do you have a word for 2016? Maybe it is still arriving. That's just as it should be.

Pray for me would you? Pray for this hurry-up girl as she learns to be unhurried.