The Freedom of Slowing Down

by Mark Votava


My experience of growing up in one of the fastest paced countries in the world has not been easy for me.  I have always sensed the pressures to succeed, make more money and compete with others to make myself more competent in life.  If I was slowing down my pace at any time, it was looked at negatively by those around me.  This rat race has been exhausting for me.

So at some point I just gave up.  Maybe some people have called me a loser or a failure or a misfit, but I feel much better about myself when I live at a slower pace of life.  It is amazing how liberating this has been for me as someone who has slowed down to live life in all of its creativity and wonder.  I no longer care about a fast paced life.

  • Learning to slow down

We live in such a fast-paced world that our lives cannot keep up.  We have a hard time slowing down and creating new rhythms of a more peaceful way of life together.  We take life and others for granted when we live at such high levels of speed.  We cannot root ourselves in a place without first learning to slow down.

  • Being faithfully present to one another in our relationships

We cannot be faithfully present to one another in our relationships without the simplicity of a slower pace that allows us to appreciate life more.  Speed dominates our imaginations.  It has crushed to pieces the communal imagination.  We constantly disregard one another when we have no time just to be and reflect on what is going on within us.

  • Speed damages our lives

Speed consumes every area of our lives.  It damages us relationally in the parish.  It makes us less than human.  Speed can be addictive, just like consumerism.

  • Adopting a lifestyle of simplicity

Rarely will we let go of our fast-paced life.  But Christ is calling us to slow down and embrace one another more by adopting a lifestyle of simplicity that is subversive to speed.  When will we see that our speed actually leads us nowhere fast?

  • The quest for speed and efficiency

Christine Sine writes, “The quest for speed and efficiency dominates our modern lives, and everyone convinces us that this frenetic rhythm is the only one we can adopt – for every area of our lives.

  • Speed keeps us from looking inside ourselves

What is our speed accomplishing for us but more fragmentation and mental illness?  It can never satisfy our feelings of emptiness.  It keeps us from looking deep within ourselves.  We fear emptiness and pain, so we live at a faster and faster pace in a desperate bid to avoid facing ourselves and others in the parish.

How can we live with more freedom through a slower pace of life?