Note: This blog was written nearly 10 years ago towards the end of 2009. I was thinking of writing about the need to slow down and found this old blog “on slowing down” in my draft outbox. God surely has a sense of humor. I suppose He’s still working on this part of me.
I once had a customer who was very slow about getting things done. At first, because of his slowness, I thought he didn’t care, but I was wrong. He just operated at a different pace than me. He took his time, he was thoughtful, deliberate and….slow. On the other hand I am fast. I am a recovering “doer”; I like to get stuff done. I used to get a lot of my self-esteem and self worth from being able to “do” a lot of things and do them fast.
I hadn’t really fully understood these things about myself when I was dealing with this customer. So, while dealing with him I was pretty frustrated. I was always six steps ahead of him and he was back somewhere in the dust (at least that’s what my pride told me). My frustration came from my wanting him to do things my way on my timing. Because of this, I also added stress to my life. Stress is an outgrowth of frustration and not getting your way. Because I try to be tactful, I never came out and told him that I was frustrated, but I am sure he heard it in my voice from time to time.
The interesting thing is that my customer was not frustrated at all. He was quite happy and calm. His temperament was just different from mine. I noticed how calm and peaceful he was and deep down I secretly wanted what I saw in him.
At the end of the day I realized that I was the problem. I had gotten out in front of this man’s way of doing things – his pace. It has now dawned on me that what we lost due to my hurry-up mode was a relationship. We missed doing the project together. I always felt like I was pulling him along. I was always working hard to move him faster.
With age, I have learned that we are all different and we need to be sensitive to how others do things. Basically it’s about love. We have to love the other person enough that we respect their way, their pace. If we don’t respect their way pride, frustration and stress build up and we miss (I miss) meaningful relationships.
I wonder what God’s pace is. Am I walking together side-by-side in relationship with Him or am I way ahead of God on step 9 asking him to come my way, a little faster. I think we need to all examine our prayer life to be sure we are not getting ahead of God and then trying to pull him along in frustration. (“Why doesn’t he answer my prayer!!!”) Among other things, the fruit of the Spirit is love, patience, joy and peace. My getting ahead of God and others destroys the fruit of the Spirit in my life.
Because we live in a fast-paced world, I think we tend to transfer our “rapid-fire business-orientation” to God and others in an unhealthy way. I know I do. Let’s pray that as we turn our calendars forward to 2010, that we extend more love to others and how they are made, offer them more respect and get on the same pace as God our creator. I think we’ll find better relationships and more “fruit” as a result.