The Pace of Grace

Hurry is not just a disordered schedule.
Hurry is a disordered heart.

John Ortberg

I am sitting by the fire as I type this to you. I am taking a measured moment by the warmth. I am with the Blueberry today and in the middle of Key2Free. To say this is a busy season would be to understate the situation. I could easily justify going Mach 10 with my hair on fire. And honestly, I probably will at some point. If my work calls for hurry, may it only be on the outside.

On the inside, I am working on taking my time. I am trying something new for me when the world comes rushing in. Now don't think for one second that I have this all figured out. I am working it out moment by moment. Here is what I am trying to do.

Breath in hush, exhale the rush.

Yes, even during a season when there is much to do, especially during a busy season like this one. In case you don't know, Key2Free is the fundraising auction for Door to Grace, a non-profit whose work is near and dear to my heart. Door to Grace is about rebuilding a child's trust and life after it has been stolen away. It is about restoring dreams and designs from the heart of God within a child. It's about home and all that genuine relationships of a good home can grow.

The heart of Door to Grace touches my mama-heart for the tender dreams I dreamed for my own four children. That is why I am hurried at this time of year, to do some small thing in a child's life, not my own children, but forgotten ones. Still, no matter how important or dear, I am beginning to wonder if hurry gets the job done in the best possible way or even at all.

Hurry prevents us from receiving love from the Father or giving it to His children. This is why Jesus never hurried.
John Ortberg

We will all have busy seasons; finishing school, a project deadline, raising our littles, moving to another city, but let me ask you a question. Do our busy seasons just roll one into the other or even overlap into crazy busy? I don't want to be crazy busy. It may be fashionable to be in a rush and we may like having exciting things to be busy about, but I wonder what we miss with little or no down time. I wonder who we miss.

I have always needed space between hurried times, but now I am craving a whole unhurried life, inside and outside. To me a whole unhurried life has meaning, authenticity and white space for nurturing my relationships and being still. It is an edited, gathered life, true to my soul and my Designer. But don't think a gathered life it is all neat and organized. It is not a luxury. Making time for the work of forgiveness, sacrifice, generosity and digging around in your soul is messy, dirt-flying work.

If I want to follow Jesus, I should be doing just that, following. At times, I'm afraid I might be running ahead. There's no might be. There is just me racing ahead of the One I have chosen to follow. I need to pause; No! stop completely and see where my Savior is and where I, being in such an all-fired hurry, may have veered off course. When Jesus walked these mean streets, I am guessing he did not power walk with weights in his hands, the dog on a leash and a phone in his ear. I get the impression he strolled, not lazily, but with purpose, attention and patience. He was listening to his Father. He kept what Alan Fadling calls in his book An Unhurried Life the "pace of grace".

The pace of grace is what I am inviting into my life. The pace of grace has time for love, for a gentle response, for noticing details, for nesting, for prayer and for touching hearts. It sounds delightful, but I can already see that the pace of grace does not happen naturally or come easily. It takes hard choices, a fight even. It takes decluttering my life, my space and my heart. To get to a new rhythm, a new pace, things are pulled apart and some taken out, even good things. It is a kind of clearing out that first makes my life a shambles. I have been editing my life during the cull for going on three years now and I can tell you it takes determination, discipline and insight, some grit and white-knuckling release.

That is why this moment is a measured moment by the fire, by the hearth. I am deliberately taking a quiet pause during a hectic time, a season I want to give of myself and my heart. I am cozied up to this fire and breathing deeply trying to match my insides to my outsides.

Breath in hush, exhale the rush.

Of course, I can't always just sit by the fire. The fire would go out. I have to go out and chop the wood, come back inside and stoke the embers. It is a back and forth, in and out endeavor. At some point, I need to take that warmth and glow back to my family or out into the world and share it. Besides, the Blueberry will wake from his nap soon and I will go scoop him up from his crib and with sleep still on his face, he will hug my neck as if to ask, "Where were you, Jojo?".

I want to tell him I was getting ready for him to wake up. And I was, in the best possible way. I was filling up with the rhythms of grace. I was making a point to be unhurried, to restore order to my heart. I was just sitting in the quiet with my Savior and my soul. After all, I won't have anything to share if I don't first slow down and gather it, gather myself to the One I love and follow, to the One who knew how to live an unhurried life.

Next time you see me, hopefully my hair won't be on fire, just my heart. If my hair is on fire, put it out would you? Remind me to stop and slow down to the pace of grace. Tell me friend, how you keep a grace pace?