Remember that Simon and Garfunkel tune that goes “Slow down, you move too fast. You’ve got to make the morning last?” For those under 40, probably not. I know, I’m old! But the fact is, I’m guilty of moving too fast too often.
1. Slow down before you speak.
James says that we are to be “slow to speak and quick to listen.” Actually listening, real listening, slows us down. There’s an acronym going around that advises us to THINK before we speak:
T – is it true?
H – is it helpful?
I – is it inspiring?
N – is it necessary?
K – is it kind?
It’s a bit corny, but good advice. There are times when what we want so urgently to say will fall into one category but not another—most often it’s true and if we twist a little we could argue that it’s helpful but necessary? Not so much. In that case, it might actually be better to bite our tongues and listen!
Ask yourself: Would it be better to remain silent?
2. Slow down before you bring someone on your team.
Having a new person on your team can be exciting. Whether it’s a hired person or volunteer, new brings a sense of excitement and expectation. The caution is that we don’t let the excitement of the new cloud our decisions.
Ask yourself: Is now the right time? (Not now, doesn’t mean not ever.)
3. Slow down before you let someone go.
There’s an adage that goes, “Hire slow, fire fast.” I agree with the former (but not too slow) but disagree with the latter. We should never be in a hurry to fire someone unless serious problems are present. After all, if you’ve trained and invested in someone, why be in a rush to lose that investment? It may be that expectations were too high, additional skills or resources are needed, or even that we’re not modeling the appropriate behavior ourselves.
Ask yourself: What other avenues can we explore?
4. Slow down before you jump to conclusions.
We assume the worst. In her book, Rising Strong, author and researcher Brene Brown defines generosity as the ability to “extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.”
Ask yourself: What is the most generous assumption I can make about the other person’s intentions?
5. Slow down before you change your vision and direction.
Here’s a fact. No matter what you do as a leader, someone will criticize it. That’s hard for us as pastors, especially since we love people and want them to be happy. Here’s my point. If God has given your team a clear direction and vision, don’t give up on it because there are challenges and problems. Galatians 6:10 says that we will have a harvest if we don’t give up.
Ask yourself: What will I have to say no to in order to say yes to this?
6. Slow down before you make a financial commitment.
In the heat of the moment it’s easy to say yes—”it’s such a good deal,” “offers like this don’t come along every day,” “it’s just what we were looking for.” But it’s also easy to get into debt! If “it’s just what we were looking for” follows, it’s more than we meant to pay or more than we have saved, it might not be such a bargain after all. As a rule, never co-sign and routinely question whether it’s something you really need. Also, consider the purchase’s impact on your ability to deal with an emergency.
Ask yourself: Do I really need this, now?
BEFORE YOU GO…
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Where do you need to slow down?