Letting Your Soul Catch Up With Your Body.

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An American traveling in Africa hired a guide to lead him through the jungle to a remote village. In the mid afternoon the guide stopped and began to set up camp for the night. The American impatiently asked why they weren’t taking advantage of the remaining daylight to make it a bit further towards their destination. “We have traveled very fast and must allow time for our souls to catch up with our bodies” replied the guide.

I am trying to make space to allow my soul to catch up to my body.

For much of my career I’ve been caught up on “growing” things through mass marketing and media. Today my instincts are prodding me to go deeper rather then than broader. I think this is the right and loving thing to do, but it is harder to grow deeper relationships than it is to grow a multitude of mediated ones.

For one thing, love is inconvenient. It takes time. For a guy who was once obsessed with the efficient use of every minute, slowing down, listening and being a person instead of a radio personality is humbling. I’m not really very good at it. An executive coach who knows me well tried to let me off the hook, reminding me that in his view my gifts make me well suited to positively influence people on a mass scale. While that may be true, there are two problems with rationalizing away my pattern of influencing the many while knowing few.

First. Real transformation happens through deeper in-person relationships. Ideas are powerful, but they are not a replacement for our God-given capacity & need for a few deeper relationships.

Two. The example of Jesus reminds us that love is not an abstraction, but is actualized when we know and serve another person.

Because technology creates immediate and rapidly expanding accessibility,most of us have already surpassed our relational capacity. I am networked to more people than I can actually know and love personally.

I am not suggesting we “cut off” newcomers from orbiting into our life. I think loving better requires maintaining a loving attitude towards everyone we meet. I AM saying (and this is especially important for anyone who has some mass public visibility) I need to slow down and limit my public activities, so I can slow down, let my body catch up with my soul and provide the discretionary time necessary to love more deeply my family and friends locally.

Voluntarily limiting your scope of relational contact is counterintuitive. It has career implications. My publisher rightly wants MORE public not LESS. In today’s mass media marketing world–expanding your reach and frequency of public contact generally means expanding your personal income.

In case what I am saying feels instinctively wrong, let me remind you of the one who restricted his reach and frequency voluntarily and most extremely. God became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus span was further diminished by his birth in the off-the-beaten path strategically unimportant Bethlehem and subsequent upbringing in Nazareth. Twelve thick headed and seemingly unexceptional disciples occupied the majority of his time.

Small is beautiful and love is inconvenient. Jesus invested his time on earth around these principles, regularly slowing down to let his soul catch up with his body. If Jesus, fully human and fully God, needed to pace himself, how much more should we his frail followers?

Slow down, let your body catch up with your soul.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in December 11, 2006 by | No Comments »

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