My backpack bounced on my back as I turned the corner. Weaving in and out of parked cars on my block, I started sprinting. If I didn’t hit any red lights, I’d make it just in time for my cycle class. But how often does everything go the way we plan it to? I started running in the street because it seemed faster. As I passed a white Jeep my hand smacked the rearview mirror so hard it knocked the wind out of me. A few choice words may have barreled out of my mouth as my hand instantly started to swell. 

“Slow down Katherine.” My mom has said this to me for as long as I can remember. I’m always running off to things – jam-packing my days to the brim, leaving little to no room for margin or, let’s face it, life. Doesn’t the world know that I’m important? I’ve got things to do, people to see, hands to smack on cars and cycle classes to make it to.

I’ve often been the person who looks for the shortest line at Target only to realize I’d have checked out sooner if I had stayed with the initial line I was in. I’ve pushed past people in the subway because I was in such a hurry only to stand next to them while we waited for our train for the next 10 minutes in silence. I felt like such a jerk. Some days, I’m running to things. Other days,  I’m running from things, and more often than I’d like to admit, I’m texting “Sorry, running about 5-10 behind.” I blame it on traffic as opposed to owning that I’m doing this thing I do once again — this thing that I hate: running from thing to thing.

Why is it so difficult to slow down?

I live with a scarcity mindset, fearing I won’t have enough money, friends, dates and the list goes on. When I don’t arrive on time, I lack integrity and dishonor people’s time and my own time. It steals from my being present and enjoying the moment at hand. Then, all of this jolts extra cortisol and adrenaline through my body, which impacts my sleep and compromises my immune system. I disappoint others and myself. I’m stressed. I lack peace. I create drama. It seems I’m paying a high price for rushing through my day. 

So why do I keep behaving this way? 

Well… it’s thrilling when everything comes together and I actually pull off the crazy schedule I’ve created for myself. It makes me feel good about myself, productive, efficient… better than. When I take on that extra job, even though I’m burnt out and exhausted, I go to sleep a little easier at night knowing that money is in the bank account. The reward runs deeper. I find some of my identity in productivity. I pride myself on being efficient. I love crossing things off my to-do list; it makes me feel accomplished. My heart says look at all the things I can do, look how efficient and capable I am. Aren’t I impressive and important? Don’t you want to hire, accept, love me?

But let’s take it a step further. I struggle to believe that God has my back. 

Jesus tells a story about the lilies of the field. (Luke 12:22-34) How they don’t strive to grow. A lily simply is, and God provides everything she needs. Jesus says how much more will I take care of you if this is how I care for the flowers. My actions reveal my small faith.

Because underneath the running to and from is fear. Fear that my future, finances, and relationships are up to me. So I sprint from thing to thing exhausting myself and others. What I’m really doing is playing God. No wonder I’m so tired! That is no way to live.

The reality is I don’t have it all figured out.

Writing this is humbling. My pride wants you to think that I’m amazing and have it all together. I don’t. What I do know is that I want to lift my foot off the gas pedal and give myself permission to be. 

The Bible has many promises from God to His people. One is, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14, NIV). I want to slow down, to be still. I want to leave behind the impulse to prove myself.

I want to enjoy the walk through the park and not be so fixated on what’s next after that. I want to have a soul at rest. I want to slow down enough to connect with the humans I’m colliding with on a moment-to-moment basis. I want to trade productivity for presence and fear for peace. I want to be like the lilies. I want to trust Jesus at His word—trust that He has my back, that I have nothing to worry about because He knows exactly what I need. Because He’s good. 

What about you?  

What price are you paying for all the running, the hustling, the pushing, and the striving?

What is one thing you can do this week to slow down? 

Kat Harris

Kat Harris is a Brooklyn-based online educator, digital content
creator and female empowerment advocate. She loves God, a good Beyoncé dance party, + has an affinity for Ranch dressing (don't take it away from her!). Her vision is for women to know their beauty, identity and value. She is Co-Founder of the online publication The Refined Woman and host of The Refined Collective Podcast. She has also been a full-time photographer for the last decade with her work being featured in: GQ, Forbes, People, Who What Wear, US Weekly, and Glamour UK.

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