A season to slow down

(This post by Monica Lim first appeared on her blog on 5 May 2020. It is reproduced with permission.)

The other day, a friend told me he was feeling edgy staying at home and didn’t understand why because he’s been a homebody for years. I understood completely because I felt the same. I’m an introvert, working from home for the last 18 years. I shouldn’t have a problem with the Circuit Breaker. Yet, I was feeling restless.

I’m currently reading The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer, one of my favourite Christian writers and I’m only just realising how relevant it is to the situation today. The book talks about our addiction to hurry in the modern world. We fill our time with so many activities (much of it mindless), that we have lost our ability to be still. We’re constantly distracted and we’re unable to focus. “All our worst moments are when we’re in a hurry.”

During this period, many of us have been forced to slow down. We’re spending more time with family, taking time to do stuff that we never time to before—cooking, sewing, exercising, playtime with kids, etc. We’re rediscovering what’s really important in life.

Yet, many friends have told me they can’t wait till things get back to the way they were. Why? If things were so hectic and stressful before, why are we so eager to return to what was before? (btw I’m not referring to those who need to get back to making a living).

I suspect one of the reasons is that we’re being forced to reexamine the values in our lives and the glare of the spotlight unnerves us. It’s easier to return to our mindless busyness because that leaves us no time for uncomfortable reflection. The daily grind—the mad rush from 8.30am to 6pm each day, which makes us too tired to relax on weekends—even though we complain about it, lulls us into believing that our lives have worth because we’re “doing something”.

Busyness is an addiction and like all addictions, even though we know it’s bad for us, it’s hard to shed. It dawned on me that what I was feeling could be withdrawal. Right now, many of my projects are at a standstill, so there’s just a lot of waiting. And waiting makes me antsy because I feel like I’m not doing anything.

Many people are waiting for things to get back to “normal”. We view this pandemic as merely a blip in the earthly timeline. And so, we while away the hours, binge-watching Netflix until it passes.

But what if it’s not a blip? What if it’s in fact, a season? A season is not an anomaly. A season is precious because it has great potential for growth and prepares us for the next. Also, the season that follows need not be the same as the one before. For example, for someone who has a near fatal car crash, therapy is not something to do just to get him back to “normal” because he will never be the same. Scars will remain and some injuries will never heal. Therapy is to strengthen not just his body but his mental and his emotional state, to prepare him for a different sort of life to come.

Churches have been forced to take unprecedented measures like live streaming of services and Zoom CG meetings. However, I feel too many of them view this as a temporary stop-gap measure, to be discarded once the pandemic ends. Why? Why can’t this be a rehearsal of what’s possible in the future instead—that technology can help connect with others previously unreached? It should hammer home the message that the church was never about the building in the first place, but the people.

Instead of hankering for things to return to the way it was, perhaps we should view this as a season of opportunity, and therefore shouldn’t be wasted. An opportunity to reevaluate our values. An opportunity to connect, to make time for conversations—with family, with friends, with others, with God. Connecting sometimes means just enjoying being in someone’s presence and not doing anything. That’s what Jesus called “abiding”. It’s the joy of an unhurried life.

And maybe when Covid-19 is over, we can say that this is how we want to live life. This is the new normal.



Writing is my profession and my passion. I run a professional writing outfit, where I do all my corporate writing. Blogging takes care of the miscellaneous excess thoughts. I'm a mother of two completely polar opposite children. Maybe God figures the challenge would do me good. Or perhaps He just likes to have a good laugh. Whatever it is, I'm enjoying the roller coaster ride.


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