the weight of a word

one word.  a challenge.  a blog trend.  accountability to live life with intention.  pick a word.  words. words. words.  I avoided this last year.  It kind of felt like my idea of getting a tattoo.  I can't just pick something and get it inked for skin remembrance.  Stained deep for life.  A tattoo would have to mean something.  An image impactful and life giving.  I've yet to think of such a perfect depiction to set on my body.  Picking a word felt like that last year.  I came short of anything decisive that I would mark 2013 with.  This year, I'm humbled under the weight of a word.  


My word is slow.  Twenty fourteen the year of slow.

A little lost for a compass in this new world of two tiny people who call me mom--I grasp for time and come up with shaggy fistfuls of hurry ups and not enoughs.  I get frustrated.  I get bitter.  I get self righteous indignation towards those who rob me of time.  I've turned inward seeking alone time, away from the world and the wants and demands of anyone who dare make requests in my direction.  I don't have time.  So I just... shut down... or move quickly to get to the next task in hopes of making up enough time to have a little left over at the end of a day.

A friend unmet (she has no idea who I am, but I've officially given her the label), Ann Voskamp writes this:

Time is a relentless river.  It rages on, a respecter of no one.  And this, this is the only way to slow time: When I fully enter time's swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all there.  I can slow the torrent by being all here.  I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment.  And when I'm always looking for the next glimpse of glory, I slow and enter.  And time slows.  Weigh down this moment in time with attention full, and the whole of time's river slows, slows, slows.

I've always done things fast (well, unless it comes to cleaning my room).  I talk fast.  Like, really super fast.  I think my grandfather probably just nearly gave up trying to understand me.  I'm hard to keep up with.  I talk fast and I think fast.  My grandfather called me a busy bee.  I take flight all too quickly from one thing to the next and from one idea to another.  To keep on the bee analogy, I far too often leave ungathered pollen in my stead.  I don't drain the flower of what it has to offer.  The nectar  hastily drops from my possession, never fully claimed as my own, and goes to waste.

And when life moments make me feel weak--when I have the "what is going on!" moments--I all the more work to speed them through to completion.  But in those moments, be it stress or pain or broken heartedness, I want to gather all the pollen.  I want to slow.  Take time.  Be in the moment.  Suck out all the nectar.  Because it is there.  And even in "those" moments, the nectar is sustaining.  Because this is life.  It is a beautifully designed life that carries no happenstance or twisted merit-based punishments.  

The clock ticks slow.  I hear it for what it is: good and holy.  Time, what God first deemed holy above all else (Genesis 2:3).  Thank God for the time, and very God enters that time, presence hallowing it.  True, this, full attention slows time and I live the full of the moment, right to outer edges.  But there's more.  I awake to I AM here.  When I'm present, I meet I AM, the very presence of a present God.  In His embrace, time loses all sense of speed and stress and space and stands so still and... holy.

And then I look at my children.  My desperate desire to know them.  Not just who they are now, but who they will be.  All will take place here in time and space.  That frustrating battle of wanting to keep them small and watch them grow.  When there is a potty accident, I've counted to three for the fifteenth time, I'm woken in the night for the fourth time, cleaned stains off the wall, or had my own plans changed in a moment I find myself pleading with the future to come.  But, how dare I wish away the now!  The beautiful now.  

Being in a hurry.  Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me.  I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry.  But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time.  It turns out I was throwing it away.   
--Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God (quoted in OTG)

Slow is so foreign to me.  I frustrate with slow.  Waiting is not my strong suit.  So what does slow look like?  What does twenty fourteen, the year of slow, look like?  My friend Ann would say it looks like eucharisteo, giving thanks.  In every moment.

I pick up a coat and thank God for the arms that can do it.  Emergencies are sudden, unexpected events -- but is anything under the sun unexpected to God?  I call a son back and hand him a hanger and thank God that he can do this too.  Stay calm, enter the moment, give thanks.  I thank God for boots and we line them straight and the little hands help.  And I can always give thanks because an all-powerful God always has all these things -- all things -- always under control.  I breath deep and He preaches to me, soothing the time-frenzied soul with the grace river in whisper.
Life is not an emergency.  Life is eucharisteo.... 
Is this what the life experts know?
That in Christ, urgent means slow.
That in Christ, the most urgent necessitates a slow and steady reverence.

So this is me.  This busy bee who far to often takes flight without reveling in the flower.  This is me wanting to slow.  To be in the moment and give thanks that in ALL things a gracious heavenly father who is not constrained by time and who has conquered death is working for my good.  A perfectly designed life.  He calls me to the now.  He says slow.

So I will pray slow and breath slow and close my eyes with hands turned upwards slow.  I will kiss my husband slow, do laundry slow, hold and raise my children slow.  

I will slow.
And I will gain.

indented quotes from Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts.  Purchase the book here.
Read more about Ann on her website or find her on instagram & twitter.


  1. This is beautiful Blair. Having just come off a year of Slow, I can vouch for it's cleansing benefits. It's in the moments we slow down to notice that gratitude wells up to overflowing. Here's to your most wonderful year yet!

  2. This has to be my favorite #oneword post I've read thus far! I will be changed by reading this. I just know it. Thank you for sharing!!

  3. Lovely. For me slow is boring, too. But I like the quiet outdoors and the sweetness of savoring moments. To me that's not slow, but rejuvenating as my body is taking in a thousand wonderful things at once. But you're making me reconsider what slow is and if it might be beneficial to me.

  4. Just lovely, friend!! Being slow is def a benefit at times. :) When your pacing through life you just might miss the blessings ;)

  5. YES. i am with you. Can we encourage each other in this???

  6. i like you avoided choosing a word for the year - but this year, i caved. i needed to get some thought and goals all one one page. and i love the word you chose 'cause i think slowing down is often overlooked esp in the new thank you for the reminder!

  7. LOVE THIS! This is so similar to my word: Wholehearted.
    I want to SLOW things down and do things intentionally and wholeheartedly. In Nashville, I want to make new friends and get established in a neighborhood and a church and do it all WHOLEHEARTEDLY! <3

    1. Can't wait to be in community together and spur each other on in our word choices!!

  8. I possess almost exactly the characteristic that you describe in this post of believing that I can get ahead and accomplish more by working fast and hard on some parts of my life while ignoring many, many other aspects of life that I deem less important. I only recently realized how flawed my thinking was, and that my choices and actions in life were actually resulting in the exact opposite type of life that I desire and thought that I was working towards. While I have at least finally come to this self-realization, I still haven't really changed anything in order to remedy the problem. After reading your post, though, I am now truly inspired to "slow down" and experience life more fully. Thank you!

    1 The plans of the heart belong to man,
    but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
    2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
    but the LORD weighs the spirit.
    3 Commit your work to the LORD,
    and your plans will be established.
    4 The LORD has made everything for its purpose,
    even the wicked for the day of trouble.
    5 Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD;
    be assured, he will not go unpunished.
    6 By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
    and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.
    7 When a man’s ways please the LORD,
    he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
    8 Better is a little with righteousness
    than great revenues with injustice.
    9 The heart of man plans his way,
    but the LORD establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:1-9, ESV)

    1. Clark -- thank you so much for your comment and for the sweet one you left on Facebook too. Such an encouragement to me. Thanks for the scripture. Definitely pertinent. Would be a great one for me to memorize! Hope you are doing well. Come for a visit next time your back in Nashville!

  9. I love this, Blair. I wanted to choose ablaze as my word for the year, but God gave me still. For those of us who like to do and who move at a million miles an hour, I think an action word suits better, but I know this year God is calling me to rest in who He is instead of focusing on who I think I am. I'm excited for how He brings us to a new knowledge of Him as we seek to slow our lives down this year.

  10. Love this so much, Blair. This year and last, I've hesitated to nail down a word for the very same reason as you. I couldn't commit to one word for an entire year - totally felt like a tattoo. Now you're making me feel like I need to sit down and actually decide on a word for this year. Hmph.... Also, we're reading that Mark Buchanan book at our church this month as a series. I'm excited to read it and start focusing on slowing down this year and prioritizing what really matters. I'll be praying for you, too! Slowing down is such a hard thing to do, but when we just do it, that's when the good, memorable stuff in life happens.

  11. My heart resonates with the same word this year. Thanks for an awesome post!

  12. Yes, my word mirrors yours- "here". I need to live fully present. here. now. and be a participant, not just spectator, of my own life. So, what disciplines am I (are you) putting into practice this year to make it happen? I ask myself, and hope to blog about it today!

  13. Blair, I happened over here from Ann's blog today, and I'm so glad I did. Your thoughts on SLOW are beautiful. As I read them, I was challenged to truly slow down and just BE in the moment. Like you, I find myself racing through each day, striving to accomplish as much as I can. In that process, I sometimes miss out on precious moments with my boys. I become a watcher in my life, rather than living fully in the moment.

    My word for this year is ENOUGH. I think some of your thoughts have given me added understanding for my word. Enough to be in one moment, rather than trying to span a few at the same time. Enough to be still and enjoy what God has for me in that moment. He has other things regarding this word, but I so appreciate your transparency. Beautifully written.

  14. SLOW was my word last year and I, too, was inspired by Ann's words. I am so thankful for all God showed me in slowing down. Your words here are a reminder not to forget...that even though I have a new word this year, SLOW still needs to be the pace I move through 2014. I don't ever want to move on to a faster pace again. (i'm here from Ann's blog, proof she now knows who you are!)

  15. Fun to find your blog via Ann V and then discover that we are both in Nashville. Hope you have a slow and sweet Saturday!

    1. Girl!! Thanks for saying hi! I just walked by your shop yesterday (and have a few beautiful things from there that I received as gifts for baby #2). I work at Covenant Pres with the middle school youth, several of which I know have told me they know your family! :)

  16. Wonderfully written! Slow resonates with my spirit for this year also! Glad I found you via Ann V. God Bless You!

  17. I learned awhile ago that the faster I go the behinder I get. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Hey! like to share what i posted on fb with you --
    sabbath truth-savour:
    In the Spirit of Psalm 46v10: be STILL and (so you can) KNOW...
    let us remember that--
    "..the root of our human frustration and daily anxiety is our tendency to live for the future, which is an abstraction" ~ Alan Watts

    Being still enough
    to appreciate now
    to be freed from our imagined tomorrows
    to see
    lay it down
    to receive
    and so-
    to know
    GOD is truly here
    and we are truly going to be okay.
    ~ jenni

    1. wow Jenni! thankyou!! love this. Did you write that last part? So beautifully full of truth. And Psalm 46:10 -- perfect.

  19. I love this, Blair. I clicked over from Ann's blog today, and found you and your blog so refreshing. My 2014 word is Listen, and in order to listen well you have to Slow (which I am NOT good at either!), so I have a feeling I'll be experimenting with so much of what you described here…

    1. great word!! I hope good listening might become a byproduct of slowing. Another challenge for me. thanks for saying hi!

  20. I found your blog via Ann Voskamp. It appears that she now knows of you :-P

    I am on the same journey as you. My word is eucharisteo...and I kinda feel that this might just be something that will become a lifestyle to me. I want to slow time, sit long, look deep, hear clearly and give thanks.

    South Africa

    1. Hi Lynette! thanks for stopping by. I have been so overwhelmed by the response to this post -- and even a little star struck that Ann read and shared it. Thanks for your comment too. My hope is that God will definitely break this speedy heart of mine and mold it into one more like His own... we serve a God that never rushed a day in his life and that leaves nothing overlooked. Hope you are having wonderful Monday!

  21. That's a wonderful word to choose. I chose "joy" and already I'm struggling. I'm already slow...;)

  22. Yes! I can totally identify with this. I was all about living in high-speed until I became a mommy to two! I'm finding out that there is alot of beauty in slow, but it's a process :) Thanks so much for the encouragement!

  23. perfect for me, in this season, as well. Thank you for this. I'm much the same, living life too busy, and feeling like I'm often missing out on the precious moments with my babies. Too often I get too frustrated with the every day, forgetting to slow down and breath all the beautiful moments in.


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