Can You Wait 15 Seconds?Feb 02, 2022
Many years ago, I (Gem) overheard a very interesting conversation while returning a DVD at Blockbuster. (Remember when we still had to rent movies from a store?) Behind the front desk, two clerks were complaining about the store’s computer system. Evidently, each time they used the computer they had to wait for some promotional pictures to load before they could access the customer’s information.
One of the young guys said, “Yeah, it takes like 15 seconds to get to the screen you want. It sucks.” I chuckled to myself. The clerk said that sentence in earnest. Fifteen seconds was an imposition. And I get it—there’s nothing worse than that little spinning emblem in the center of your screen.
Sometime after that, Alan and I were at IKEA. The clerk was helping us order some items on their computer. As she began the process, she apologized for how long it was taking the screen to load. Can you guess how long it actually took to load? About 15 seconds. Okay, maybe 20. But do you see how we have been trained by technology? When we’ve come to expect something in two or three seconds, 15 to 20 seconds seems like an eternity.
These are two prime examples of our culture’s obsession with hurry and speed. Granted, they are from quite a few years back, but today the problem only seems to be getting worse. With our computers, phones, and tablets we expect things to happen lightning fast. I still sometimes find myself impatiently saying things like, “What is taking this page so long to load?” and “Can’t this file download any faster?”
What kind of life is it if I can’t wait 15 seconds for something to happen? I fight this inner hurry almost every day, and I don’t enjoy how it feels. I also don’t really think of myself as having a Type A personality, and yet I struggle with needing to move forward to that next thing as if something were pushing me from behind while urging, “Get a move on!”
It’s one thing to have such expectations with technology, but we cannot expect things to happen instantly in our souls. It takes a great deal of effort to prevent our culture and the information age from setting the pace for how we live and work.
We talk often here about the pace of grace. We move at the pace of grace and change at the pace of transformation. What exactly is that pace? Well, that depends. How long does it take for an oak tree to grow? The time it takes to grow a squash in your garden is barely a blip compared to the decades a giant sequoia needs to mature.
In Alan’s book An Unhurried Life, the last chapter is titled “An Eternal Life.” There Alan writes, “If we have eternal life in Christ, then we have unlimited time…. I’m talking about the ‘eternal life’ perspective that exposes the lie that ‘I just don’t have time for this, that or the other.’”
How many times do we say no to good things because of this mistaken belief that we don’t have time? Every time I say the words “I don’t have time,” I am strengthening the hold that hurry has on me.
The reality is that all of us on this planet have the same amount of time day by day, and for those of us who are in Christ, we have all of eternity. Put differently, in Christ, I have all the time I need for whatever God is giving me to do or inviting me to be. And that is an eternal-life, an unhurried-life, perspective.
What I really want is to enjoy every moment…to be truly present…to listen well…to be content…to not feel stressed inside. And I want to be a sequoia, not a squash. How about you?
Today, let this be your prayer:
“In Christ, I have all the time I need for whatever God is giving me to do or inviting me to be.”
This would be 15 seconds well spent.
- How often do you find yourself revving inside for no particular reason?
- What would it look like to rev down a bit to the pace of grace?
- Do you believe the pace of grace is actually more productive than the pace of pushing? If so, what inner shifts might you make as you move through the rest of your day?