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Slow Down Tonto

"You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."- Psalm 32:7

In our home we have a phrase we use when someone needs to chill out. Both the parents and kids have license to use it in order to disarm the person who is up in arms and to bring a smile to an otherwise tense filled situation. The phrase we use to bring someone down a notch or two is, "SLOW DOWN TONTO". Often this needs to be spoken when anyone of us are being impatient, irrational, and unreasonable. I cannot tell you how many times this has helped when a person goes into a full "sky is falling" or "diva" mode. It is truly amazing to watch how this uncommon phrase and these three words have the power to change the person's countenance, the tone of the conversation, and the overall atmosphere in the house. By saying this statement we have seen yelling give way to laughing, arguing give way to understanding, and hostility give way to working together as a team.

As I think about how we use "Slow Down Tonto" in our family at a relational level, I also can see how this pearl of wisdom needs to be massaged deep into my soul. If anyone needs to hear the words "slow down"; "rest"; "trust" it is me (I am preaching to the choir). Far too often in life I approach decisions, tasks, conversations, responsibilities, and unexpected challenges with a crisis mode mentality. I have often processed these things as if everything is an emergency, if everything needs to be immediately fixed, and if life is a continual "code red". This unhealthy way of tackling life keeps us on edge, and if we know anything about living on the edge it is this, that pretty soon we will stumble and fall off the cliff!

Throughout this summer I have watched the Lord deal with me on slowing down, resting in His presence, and trusting Him to provide the wisdom, the answer, the resource, and the breakthrough I need. Maybe this is the reason that in Jesus' first sermon in Matthew our loving Savior calls us to "Not worry about tomorrow" and why James 1:19-20 commands us, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." Slowing things down and bringing things down a notch may be good, healthy, and God ordained for us, but that does not mean it is easy to follow. In fact, during this season of God addressing and adjusting this pattern in me, I have found times where I have wanted to revert back to rushing to get something figured out, solved, and completed.

As we look at the Bible we see many examples of people who rushed into a decision or action which was quite unproductive and even downright destructive, even though the Lord was trying to get their attention by saying, "Slow Down Tonto":

  • Saul becomes anxious when the prophet Samuel is late in arriving to their camp and takes matters into his own hands (I Samuel 13).

  • The children of Israel decide they need an idol to worship when they do not know of Moses' whereabouts or well-being (Exodus 32).

  • Martha is way too busy and distracted with her house chores that she misses an opportunity to simply sit at Jesus' feet to rest and learn (Luke 10:38-42).

  • David feels the necessity to have a tally of Israel's troops, despite Joab's wise warning to trust in the Lord (I Chronicles 21).

  • Peter often finds himself barking out bold statements in the name of being passionate, but ultimately they were out of order, immature, or difficult to keep.

As we enter into the fall season I believe this word for us to "SLOW DOWN" is crucial to our trusting God and to our growing as disciples of Jesus. With the fall months comes a shortening of daylight hours, which means we feel the pressure to cram more into a shorter window of time. This may be a season where you feel the pressure to make sure everything goes "perfect" for your child's school experience; to make sure that the people you love get their issues resolved; to make sure you are ultra-productive at the job after taking vacation in the summer; to make sure you hit your target date for decorating and shopping for each holiday celebration. May God transform any tension you face by speaking over you a word that brings calm, that brings joy, and that brings rest. May your heart be at ease, may your mind be at peace, and may your life be at a new dimension of grace as you learn to live under God's direction and provision.

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