One of the things I love about being in Africa is the slow pace of life. (I have had the blessing of traveling there 9 times to minister in four different nations.)
Now I will admit, it can be so slow at times that it can become irritating. I remember one time in particular, in an area outside of Kampala, Uganda. I was up and ready, waiting promptly for the time I had been given to go and minister Sunday morning. Twenty minutes later, I called my host. He assured me he was on his way. An hour later, he arrived. (I remember thinking I could have gotten another hour’s worth of sleep like he probably did.)
You might think he lied to me. However, this is an area where cultures collide. I have come to learn when an African gives you a time for something, it usually means that is when you start getting ready for the event (and come whenever you are ready). And if someone tells you they are on their way, it means they are doing things toward getting ready, not that they are in the car enroute.
Was I late to minister? Nope. Since this is a cultural thing, and time means something totally different to them, people were just starting to arrive.
So, now in Africa, whenever I am given a time for something, we always laugh because I make them clarify to me, “Is that American time, or African time?” And I make sure they know when I need something to be American time. (African time just doesn’t work when you need to catch a plane to come home!)
I really do love being in Africa, and I love the Africans, because their emphasis is people and relationships.
One day in Busia, my dear Ugandan friend Sarah and I were walking down the road on a specific errand. As we passed one of the little market stores, someone came out and waved. We stopped to say hello, and next thing I knew, plastic chairs suddenly appeared and we were sitting in them, enjoying a soda. After about half an hour, we went on our way to complete the errand.
I always have a hard time coming back to the States, knowing my relaxing pace of life is about to end.
Our society prides itself on being busy. How often have you asked someone how they are doing, and the answer is telling you how busy they are? That seems to be the “standard” of whether or not your life is really important.
What has all of our busyness gotten us? Constantly being weary and tired!
Every year I ask God to give me a scripture He wants me to meditate on for that year. In 2014 it was Isaiah 30:15, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (NJKV). This verse is loaded with truth that I am still unpacking! (If you read that verse in a hurry, you might want to go back and read it s-l-o-w-l-y…)
Hebrews chapter three is all about coming into a place of rest. This is talking about both in our souls, and physically. I have discovered as I throw off the busyness, and slow down in my activities, it makes it much easier to calm my soul, and live in a place of peace and contentment.
This has to start with a shift in our mind set. Busyness does not equal importance. It does not equal a fulfilled life. Life should be about relationships; first with God, and then with others. But too often we are so busy doing the “stuff,” that the relationships are what get pushed aside.
If you are thinking you can’t slow down – you can’t take any time to just relax, or that you will spend time with others later, after ______ (fill in the blank) then please see that as a red engine light in your life. There may not be a later, for you, or for them. We know this in our head, but don’t really believe it (until our world is shattered with a death).
If you would like some specific things you can do to consciously slow down and live your life at a less busy and rushed pace, I have put together a list of suggestions. Click on the link below, and you will be taken to our library page. Just follow the instructions to access and/or download the PDF.
So now you know how to do something like the Africans. Slow down, and take the time to be with God, and with those around you. Be African with me.
Gems from the Crown is a weekly blog from Crown of Glory Ministries to strengthen and encourage believers in Christ in their walk with God, especially in the areas of vision, authority, and identity. If you would like to have Gems from the Crown delivered directly to you, please click here.