Dear West – 28 February 2019

Dear West Family

Sometimes the accidental thoughts of a three-year old are the most profound things you hear all week. This may or may not be an indictment on the quality of the adult thoughts of the Lester household and their clear lack of significant profundity, but it is more likely linked to the lack of self-awareness and fear of failure that a small child still possesses that allows them to occasionally stumble into genius mistakes. One of these happened in our home recently.

I had the immense privilege of taking my daughter, Katie, to the Austin Stone Daddy Daughter Dance this last week. It was so much fun! A bunch of dads doing their best to not be total dorks and their precious little girls each just thinking that their dads were rockstars in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I loved it! In preparation for that event, Katie would invite me into the kitchen for a nightly practice of her twirls. Inevitably, after a few twirls, her whole world would start to spin, and that is when she cried out, “Oh dad, I feel so busy!” I laughed momentarily at her mistake and waded in to correct the error. “You mean you feel dizzy?” I asked. “Yeah”, she responded, “busy”. I tried once more to correct her, “Cutie, you are saying busy, when what you mean is dizzy”, and then she looked me in the eye with borderline exasperation and said, “Dad, those are the same.”

I quietly backed away and went and wrote it down in my secret pastor’s treasure trove of observations made for illustrations while I am supposed to be raising my kids. There is a liability to being a pastor’s kid. They’ll be fine, I hope.

“BUSY = DIZZY” – Katie Faith Lester.

That’s what I wrote. I am still struck by it.

I have been very reflective on the sacrifices we make in order to keep up the schedules that we keep. I know that much of it (certainly not all of it) is necessary in order to just function, but it does come at a cost. We live dizzy lives of distraction and constant movement, and it is counterproductive to the lives of deliberate and steady discipleship that we know are most effective in the Kingdom. If you read through the gospels carefully, you will notice that Jesus is busier (and more productive) than any of us, but yet, he never seems rushed or dizzied or flustered. He takes time again and again to be alone in prayer, to speak to people who seem like a distraction, to have meals with sinners and apparent saints when he should probably be moving on, to play with kids when all the adults think there is something significantly more important to do.

Jesus is deliberate at varying his pace, so that his schedule doesn’t land up undermining his sacred task. His busyness doesn’t dizzy him into anxiety and hurry.

So friends… I know you are busy and I know you feel like you can’t change a lot of that (I still think there is some wiggle room), but what are you doing to prioritize some things that you know have sacred significance but you also know will take some time? Maybe take some time (it takes time to make time) to examine your schedule and ask some questions about when you will next engage in some sacred slowness?

When is your next slow meal with friends? (One of the things that has been stark to us in the USA is the speed of meals. Americans have been incredibly hospitable and we have loved that, but meals do feel a bit like a speed dating exercise.)

When will my family get some genuine sabbath with me?

Which friend can I see for coffee and encouragement in an unhurried manner?

When will I next spend some proper time in the Word? And prayer?

When is my next slow walk that isn’t task driven (Eg, just getting in my required steps)

Take a deep breath. You look a little dizzy.

See you Sunday for hopefully some slow and sacred time together.

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