Slowing Down to Get Ahead

Exodus 14:14

I’m curious to know what comes to mind when I ask you what your biggest dream and desire in life is. What is it that you would like to do with your one precious life — more than anything else?

Is it to grow a successful Fortune 500 business? Is it to get married, have a family, and watch them do the same? Is it to write a book someday? Or maybe use your love of baking and start a corner-store cupcake shop? Go ahead — dig deep down. What comes to mind?

It’s amazing to me how different and unique each of those answers will be based on the person answering. God really does plant creative ideas in our hearts, doesn’t He? I mean, it should come as no surprise that the Creator of the Universe would give each of us such amazing dreams and desires. We are made in His image, after all. A creative God creates creative beings. But sometimes I forget this.

And I also forget to give Him the credit for those ideas.

One night, as I was tucking my five year old into bed, I told him that I was going to stay home from my custom bag start-up, which had recently taken off and turned into a full time job, to be with him on his birthday the next day. He was surprised and asked me if I was allowed to do that.

“Yes,” I replied, “I’m the boss!”

“No, mama,” he said back without missing a beat, “God’s the boss.”

Straight from the mouths of babes, right? He was so right. God was the boss.

God was the originator of this dream that I was living out each day. And while He gifted it specifically to me to run with and steward well, I am not the one in charge.

As soon as I kissed him goodnight and cracked his door closed, I changed my email signature and business cards to add the title: Steward of What God Has Done. It has been a visual reminder of who I report to and who calls the shots – especially in an entrepreneurial race that never seems to finish.

We are simply stewards of what God is doing: people responsible for and looking after God’s original plan — His unique dream and desire for our lives. And if we are stewards, then we have to continually be asking God what our next step is before we make it.

The truth is, the world sends thousands of avenues and opportunities and experiences our way that we could participate in. There are a millions options and turns and decisions to make in a given day. We can always find more ways to make our dreams grow bigger and faster. But has God asked us to?

When the options seem endless and loud and blaring, I like to fall back on this verse found in Isaiah 30:21,

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’

The voice comes from behind, yet it’s a leading and guiding voice — one that we need to be still and quiet enough to hear. It’s not a neon flashing light out in front of us. It’s a quiet voice whispering direction in our ears from behind.

So if God gives us these good ideas to manage, what comes next? How hard can we run after them? How far are we willing to push and hustle to see those God-given dreams realized?

I’m afraid that too often our answer is that we will do whatever it takes to get there as quick as possible. Our culture is not often satisfied with the right nowthe today. We are told to run faster, work harder, hustle more. We are encouraged to set a goal and set off on a race to get there.

Maybe you heard that if you hustled hard enough, you would make it to the top. So you tried, but you’re so tired. Maybe someone told you that God is not in a hurry. But you are, and you’re anxious to make more money and gain more success. Maybe someone told you that you are in charge of your future. But you’ve been steering your life the way you want it to go, and it’s not working. Maybe you need to hear there is a better way.

There is. When the world says hustle and run faster, God says slow down, be still, lead a quiet life.

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you. — 1 Thessalonians 4:11

He doesn’t say to become famous. He doesn’t encourage us to grow bigger and better. It seems so simple when you really read the words for what they are. Lead a quiet life. Mind your own business. Work with your hands.

What would happen if we quieted the voices of our culture and tuned in to the voice of God? I think our hearts would feel more restful. I think slowing down would allow us the opportunity to see the small gifts that God leaves us on a daily basis. And just like he promises in Exodus 14:14, I think God will multiply our efforts and fight for us.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

What a relief, right! What a promise that our path and desires and dreams are not compromised when we rest or when we turn down an opportunity to further our career. Maybe it’s the exact opposite. Maybe slowing down, being still, and listening for the whispers from God actually help us get ahead.

Written for Devotionals Daily by Rebecca Smith, author of A Better Life.

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Your Turn

Have you asked God what your next step is? Wait for Him to answer! And, along the way, slow down. Listen. Do your work with humility and obedience. Be still and know that God is fighting for you! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith is the founder of Better Life Bags, a custom handbag company whose workforce is made up of local women with barriers to employment. Rebecca loves to encourage and coach young entrepreneurs who desire to use their businesses for good. She is passionate about reminding women that when it comes to pursuing dreams, waiting on God’s nudges always beats hustling hard. It’s okay being the turtle; life is better when it’s slow. Rebecca and her husband, Neil, live in Hamtramck, MI where they run Better Life Bags together. They have four amazing kids: Jonah, Clara, Corbin, and Gavin.

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