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Viewpoint from Matt Irwin 20/12/2013

ENYFCMatt Irwin
Youth Development Worker
East Norfolk Youth for Christ (UNITE)
If you would like any information about the UNITE project in Great Yarmouth, please contact me on 07725793104

Taking time to slow down

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This time of year is a time when things start to get busier, schedules start to fill, there are lists to orchestrate, delineate and actuate. We start to run not walk, and multitask not focus. At a time when we are meant to focus on something which changed the course of history, and should be the most important thing we think about. We tie ourselves up in getting this ready, buying that gift and planning down to the minute. There was a time when we had to take things slow, last minute shopping ended at 5.00pm when shops closed, transport meant walking and mobile music meant carrying a ‘tranny’ (transistor radio…not cool)
The other day I was forced to do some walking, when I was unable to put my bike on the train (and that’s another story). I must have walked for about an hour and half. And even when I did pass someone walking down the street, more times than not, they were plugged with something, phone or music so the world went by without even a thought or a question. What’s even scarier is when two or more were walking together they were all plugged up listening to something. It made me ask the question, ‘Have we lost the art of talking and listening or just being still’?
 Dove right
My forced walking gave me time to think, time to reflect, time to take stock and listen to the world, or as I did that day, time to listen to God, speaking through the marvel of his creation and to think on things most important. I was amazed at the things I was missing as I hurried from home to train, from train to bike, from bike to work, from work to bike and so on
As I was walking that day I was able to take in the immediate surroundings and I found myself questioning things like ‘where might that ship be heading to?’, ‘I wonder what it must be like to live on that busy road?’,  ‘look how wonderful the changing seasons brings such a beauty of colour’? I could go on and on about the many thoughts and questions that went running through my head that day. But the one thing I was able to do was to talk to God, to listen to him and to contemplate that day. Something I feel, if we don’t make a conscious effort to do, we end up not finding time to do. Especially this time of year when our lives are full of stuff which envelops our daily lives and crams out the stillness and the silence which we so often yearn for
Psalm 46:10 says:
Be still, and know that I am God
Being still might not necessarily mean stopping in the same spot or being in that special place. Maybe we might be able to find the stillness of God in our everyday if we stop cramming so much stuff into it? May be we could start to walk instead of drive, take out the ear plugs, switch off the phone or make the space to take in the beauty and presence of God in the everyday, instead of failing to find the time to seek his presence in quiet times and bible study. I’m not condoning the good habit of quiet times and bible study, but if like me, you sometimes find it hard to make space for a quiet time, or if maybe you are looking for a new and refreshing way to experience God, then walk with him, talk to him and let the beauty of the day speak to you…Take time in this season, to remember the one who came to give us peace