Slowing Down and Spaghetti Sauce
When was the last time you slowed down? I mean really, intentionally took things slow. When did you last make a home-cooked meal, drove the speed limit, or read a 400-page book?
Don’t feel bad if your answer is, “I have no idea.” It used to be rare for me too. It seems our culture decided that for our lives to be valuable, we have to be as busy as possible. But God has been pointing me in a different direction.
For the first few years of adulthood, I would cram my schedule with as many activities, appointments, and responsibilities as I could. I said “yes” to everything and the only time I “slowed down” was to watch Netflix as I fell asleep. Despite my best efforts, I found myself perpetually drained and feeling more than ever like I wasn’t doing anything with my life and my time.
About a year ago, God began convicting me to change this mindset I was believing: that busyness equals value. He started helping me see the things I have always inherently enjoyed most are things that involve slowing down, seeing beauty in small and uneventful moments - that is by no mistake on His part. I’ve always preferred the book over the movie, I love a leisurely drive or a slow stroll, I have seen God most by sitting quietly in nature appreciating His creation, and even as a child I preferred cooking, cleaning, coloring and reading over running wild.
I have always felt frazzled and unsteady with a jam-packed schedule. Yet, somewhere along the way, I began to believe that if I wasn’t busy then I was wasting the life God had given me. Living slowly made me feel like I was telling God His breath in me didn’t matter.
Thankfully, God stepped in to show me those beliefs couldn’t be further from the truth and began to teach me small ways to live more slowly and appreciate my life. He started shifting my thinking to remind me that my value is in Him and who He created me to be, in how I live my life for Him and share Him with others; not in how quickly I can burn through the days.
But it hasn’t been an easy process. I’ve had to learn to listen to the slightest whispers of God and ignore the disapproval I often feel or assume people are feeling about me. God is continually teaching me how important it is to stop and to do something the slower way, to refocus on Him and what is truly valuable.
Instead of grabbing dinner on the go, He sometimes asks me to make it myself. Instead of buying a jar of spaghetti sauce, He suggests I make it myself. Instead of sleeping in until the last minute, He has started pushing me to get out of bed earlier and sit on the porch with Him to start my day.
I’m still pretty busy, honestly, but I am in control of how full my schedule is; I am much more open to God’s whisper when I need to say no or walk away from something.
What about you? What do you believe gives value to your life? Maybe you’re reading this and thinking that the things you enjoy are nothing like mine - that you hate to read, cook, or go for a drive. That’s okay, but can I challenge you to find ways to push yourself to really slow down and look for God? Do something that makes you uncomfortable and do it more than once. Just because you’ve been doing something one way for a long time doesn’t mean that’s the only way you can do it for the rest of your life. You can slow down.
I know culture says to hustle, but God gave us the command in Exodus 20 and set the example to rest in Genesis 2 for a reason. He knows what is best for us better than anyone else. He knows we have to work to live and that we will try hard to impress the crowd and keep up with culture.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, Christian Standard Bible)
I challenge you today to take the slow route in a small way. In a world that says run, go, and do…Jesus tells us to sit, rest, and be.
In case you need a small starting point, here is my simple homemade spaghetti sauce recipe I absolutely love.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic (I also like to add garlic powder to taste once it has simmered for a few minutes)
2 28 oz. cans of tomato or crushed tomatoes in puree
½-1 teaspoon Italian seasoning to taste
½-1 teaspoon kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1 bay leaf or dried bay leaf to taste
(If you like a little spice in your life you can also add ½-1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper)
Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until softened. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
So simple and delicious. I love to make this with spaghetti squash, simply spiralizing my favorite squash and giving it a quick sauté before adding the spaghetti sauce. Yum!
The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.