Ready to do something about chronic hurry? Start by playing The Slowing Game.

Let's face it. The hurried, anxious, distracted pace of contemporary American life leaves little or no room for God. That's a serious problem if you believe relating to God and doing his will are more important than anything else.

At Sanctuary we have decided to do something about the seldom-confronted, often coddled sin of chronic hurry. Yesterday we began a journey of adjusting the pace of our lives. Here's the logic: 
  1. Jesus was unhurried.
  2. We are his followers.
  3. Therefore, we should be unhurried like him.
We are looking to inhabit a collective pace that enables us to be attentive to God and our neighbor. We are not settling for paying "continuous partial attention," as Linda Stone has put it.


By the way, we don't believe our society is going to provide solutions to chronic hurry any time soon, since it venerates speed, efficiency, and constant multitasking. We believe inhabiting Jesus' pace is part of living the gospel in a way that provides real answers. 

So here is the first step we are taking at Sanctuary: creating awareness. We will be focusing on solutions in the coming weeks. The first week we just want to focus on the problem. 

We are beginning by playing a game we are calling The Slowing Game. The idea is to be intentional about going slower, being less efficient, and cutting back on constant multitasking for a specific period of time in order to become more aware of how these habits affect us. You win The Slowing Game by being uncomfortable. Your embrace your discomfort and reflecting on it prayerfully. You engage in honest, intervention-like discussions with other chronic hurriers. 

Here are some of the things we are doing in The Slowing Game:
  • Choose the slowest lane of traffic.
  • Choose the longest line in the store – and don't access your cell phone while standing in line.
  • Walk slowly enough to notice it.
  • Insist that someone else go through the door before you.
  • If you ride an elevator, do not touch the “door close” button.
  • Let someone finish before you speak.
  • Since the car is one of our favorite multitasking spots, when you are in your car, just drive (pray if you wish).
  • Add other activities you come up with.
This isn't an exhaustive list, but you get the point. When you intentionally go slower, be less efficient, and cut back on multitasking, you enter a different mindset. In that mindset, you will discover other activities that help you play The Slowing Game.

We are officially playing The Slowing Game for this week, although you may need to extend the game for longer. I hope you'll play. And if you want to comment on your experiences, please do so!

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