2.5 Miles Per Hour

Soccer Fields in Quiriman de Nicoya, Costa Rica
Soccer Fields in Quiriman de Nicoya, Costa Rica

As Americans, we live in a culture of sprinters. Each person is running as hard and fast as we can towards the “next thing” that might fulfill the brokenness in our hearts. Some of us run towards addictions, lust, or gluttony. Some run towards our own pride and create gods out of ourselves. And others run simply out of fear of what might happen if we stop. It’s far easier to remain hidden and avoid being known when we’re running.

The average speed of walking is about 2.5 Miles Per Hour (4 KPH). This is the speed at which God moves, and it’s terrifying to us Americans. We cannot fathom slowing down the rapid, technology-filled pace of our lives because that’s usually all we’ve ever known. However, if you want to live like Jesus, you must understand that Jesus walked. Jesus lived his life at a slow pace, being vulnerable and investing in people’s lives, and that’s how He changed the world. This may not seem like a monumental revelation to you, but the realization that Jesus spent His time here moving slowly and intentionally changed my outlook on life. If we want to live like Jesus, we must walk like Jesus. That means slowing down (a lot).

We must slow down to catch up with what God is doing in our lives. God moves at His pace and does things in His time, and if we continue our rapid sprint, we’ll blow right by God's plan for us without batting an eye. Slow down.

It’s very difficult to grasp this concept while only observing the dysfunctional organism that is American culture. I was finally able to put a finger on what “slowing down” really meant after my first mission trip to Quiriman de Nicoya, Costa Rica. I observed a culture built around presence and relationships. Costa Ricans live their lives at a different pace than that of Americans. The people of Quiriman usually spend the entirety of their lives in this farming community, and they know the names, faces, and stories of every person in the town. True community can only form at 2.5 mph, and Quiriman is the definition of a true community.

I’m a strong 2 on the enneagram, and this means my purpose for existing is essentially to be in relationships. I’m passionate about imperfectly helping and loving on the amazing men and women in my circle, and I gain deep joy and fulfillment from being in deep community with people. However, fostering deep relationships means I have to put myself out there and risk rejection, embarrassment, and disappointment. Vulnerability, or what I call “letting myself be seen,” is terrifying, to say the least. One of my core fears is that, if I let myself be seen with all my scrapes and bruises, no one will want me. Getting over this fear requires me to slow down my sprint, sit down with the individuals around me who do care for me, and be vulnerable with them. Ministry is not just sharing the Gospel with someone and disappearing from their life. Ministry means being a part of people’s lives and being present for all of it.

So how do we actually do this? My challenge to you (and myself) is to take time to learn the people’s faces, names, and stories who you encounter this year. Pay attention to God’s voice in your life. Spend time simply talking and getting to know the stories and testimonies of your trusted circle. Risk rejection to dive into relationships and be vulnerable. Be a present part of people’s lives and allow them to be part of yours. Know that you are a beloved sinner, and give yourself permission to be broken. There is freedom in slowing down and being known. Live life at 2.5 miles per hour.

I will leave you with the lyrics to Not In A Hurry by Will Reagan and United Pursuit, which I think is an appropriate meditiation:

Lord I don't want to rush on ahead

In my own strength

When You're right here

I'm not in a hurry

When it comes to Your spirit

When it comes to Your presence

When it comes to Your voice

I'm learning to listen

Just to rest in Your nearness

I'm starting to notice

You are speaking

Lord I want to love like You

I want to feel what You feel

I want to see what You see

Open my eyes, I want to see You more clearly

Open my ears, I want to hear You speak

Tell me your thoughts, what's on Your mind

I'll be your friend, I want to see through Your eyes

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