I’m a dawdler. I always have been. I’m always wafting off into my own inner world, oblivious to all else.
I have no idea how dawdling correlates with high sensitivity, but lots of highly sensitive people I know are dawdlers. Not all. But lots.
Although I’m sure there are other good reasons for dawdling, for me it’s part of being an introverted thinker. I fit the INTP profile in the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator. (By the way, logical thinkers who are also heart-driven and emotionally intense are not as rare as one would think; I know several in my little world.)
And under the patient tutelage of the Holy Spirit, I have come to understand that slow is a wonderful pace at which to live life. The problem is that almost no one else agrees.
Growing up, my Dad would holler at me and deliver the ultimate disgracing judgment, “You’re slow.” Try as I might, I couldn’t really do a whole lot about it. I could ratchet up the stress level, but it didn’t help accomplish stuff faster. All it did was make me anxious.
A number of years ago I was stressing about being slow, and lamented to God, “I’m so slow.” He responded clear as a bell, “I know.” It shocked me. Not the acknowledgment, but the tone. He communicated that message as if He were savoring a delicious taste – with utter delight and approval.
I don’t have language to express the profound astonishment and shifting that those two simple words triggered. Besides taking all the sting out of my Dad’s lingering judgment, it was my first clue there might be something divinely intentional about it all. My antenna went up.
As I started observing other dawdlers, I began noticing that these “undesirable” traits correlated with certain types of human design, as if they were an inseparable piece of a larger package. In addition, it seemed that those who had these traits were people in whom God took especially great emotional delight. I pondered this for years.
During those years, the Holy Spirit wooed me into an acceptance of a slower pace for myself. After a lifetime of stressfully trying to hurry up, it was a significant shift of mindset. “Go slow,” He’d always tell me. “Just waft. Peace. Relax.”
The odd thing I discovered was that I was more functionally effective in a slow, dawdly mode than I ever was in a hurry, chop!-chop! mode. Not enough so to satisfy an inherently efficient person, but it was an obvious difference. I also discovered that this slow, wafty, dawdly pace created a frequency of health for my body.
Our culture, however, continues to speak in dissonant counterpoint to this, even at church. Dawdling is considered a defective behavior. Slowness is labeled a lack of maturity or a character flaw. Some attribute rebellious or passive-aggressive motives to these ways of being, as if its existence is merely an attempt to thwart the busy lives and efficient schedules of other people. Or they liken these behaviors to a work slow-down as if these were a sign of protest or dissent. Others claim that dawdling is a definitive sign of ADD and should be medicated.
Many of these judgments may be true in some cases, because everything authentic has a counterfeit. But I am convinced there are those of us for whom a slower pace is an authentic expression of a God-given design. For us it can be what abundant life looks like.
Last year I spent over half the year intensely seeking God for His perspective on dawdling and dawdlers. The season began with an angelic visitation delivering the assignment. Out of that season came The Dawdle Song, which I have recorded for you here. This song holds the answers I received. I feel that each concept and line was, with much labor, sought and pulled out of heaven and out of the very heart of God.
I’m not idealizing slowness or dawdling as some refreshing standard for everyone to embrace. But for some of us it is the frequency we were designed for.
If you were created a dawdler, may this song bring you freedom. And if you were created for efficiency, may you be free to bless the dawdlers around you.