(Post #8 in a collaborative series)
Guest Blogger Aaron Pilant
To put it plainly, I’m slower. This reality came crashing down upon me several months ago. My 17-year old son came home from school, and he couldn’t stop talking about this basketball game with his friends. He kept saying how amazing he was, and how he did all these moves that made his opponents look bad. So, in an effort to connect with my son, I decided to show this young whipper snapper a thing or two on the basketball court. It all started off good, but shortly I realized how slow I had become. I used to be able to dribble effortlessly. I used to be able to move so quickly. I used to be able to jump so high. Now, I am just slow. Being slow can sound bad, but it can be good.
Twenty feels like such a long time ago. My twenties started by me asking my future wife to marry me. I was later married that year. A few years later, we purchased our first home. Shortly after moving in, my wife became pregnant. We welcomed my son later that year. I was working as a part-time youth pastor in a small church. I was living the dream. I graduated from a Christian college with a degree in church ministry. I was married to a beautiful woman. I had a beautiful baby boy. I had just started a career path that I felt was my calling and future. Truth be told, I was living the dream. I was a passionate Christian. I had my struggles like anyone, but I was walking with God daily and serving Him in a field that I knew He wanted me in. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we were happy. I worked so hard with that youth ministry. We loved our “kids,” and they loved us.
In my mid-twenties, we moved our little family to Missouri to serve as a youth pastor at a larger church. We loved youth ministry. We loved serving God. It was great! The youth ministry grew so quickly and large that it baffled me.
In my late twenties, God radically changed the direction of my life. After several years of praying and talking with several people, I stepped down from the youth pastor position and became a Police Officer. Yeah, I know. Crazy, right? We went where we felt God was pulling us. Shortly after becoming an Officer, we became pregnant with our daughter.
That was my twenties in a nutshell. So how is my relationship with God different now than it was then? That really is a tough question. When I was in my twenties, I had so much passion and energy for God. I was going to set the world ablaze with the message of His Son. I spent so much time studying the Bible. I just couldn’t get enough.
One thing I lacked, though, was the ability to slow down and truly listen to God. I thought being busy, “going fast” constantly was the right thing to do. I had never learned how to slow down and truly rest in God. Truth be told, I would still be that way if I had the energy. When I was in my mid 30’s, I began to realize that I couldn’t keep up with the pace I set for myself with everything. I had to learn to rest. I had to slow down.
Some good friends began to challenge me to think about my life and, more importantly, my relationship with God in a radically different way. I had grown up in a pretty legalistic religious setting. I had broken away from most of that thinking except for working myself to death. I felt that was the only way to please God, to burn as hard and as long as you can. At the end of the day, this was destroying my relationship with God.
Thankfully, my 40’s have started differently. I am more at ease with myself and a slower pace. I am more comfortable looking at life like a marathon rather than a sprint. I’m learning more and more how to rest in God. I am growing more at ease with boundaries. I am okay with saying no. I am slower, but slowing down has been good. It has given me a chance to take in the beauty of God and a relationship with Him based in His grace rather than my pace.