Island Time

by Rob Dunne


I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. Psalm 130:5.

In 2004, I went on my first mission’s trip. Five young adults and I went to the beautiful island of Jamaica to conduct a vacation bible school. Weeks of planning went into the trip. Each moment of the day was meticulously planned out. Our team arrived at the church and quickly finished preparations. As the 10 o’clock hour came and went, we were all dejected by how few children showed up. Did they neglect to advertise the event?

We quickly learned about the concept of ‘island time’. In a nutshell, Jamaicans have two speeds – slow and slower! In the fast-paced world of New England, we expect everything yesterday. We lack patience or tolerance for things that take longer than a few seconds.

Admittedly, it took us all a few days to adjust to this slower pace of life. Personally, it took even longer to appreciate why they live the way that they do. First, it is hot. If you do things too quickly or exert unnecessary energy, you won’t last the day. Second, they are simply more laid back than us.

As a litigation attorney, I am in a profession that requires me to rise early and work late. By the time I get home and eat supper, my mind and body are drained. Making time to be with Jesus can be difficult. Therefore, I find myself getting creative.

Throughout the day, I have worship and praise music playing in my office. When a song moves me, I will stop for a moment and think about God. If alone, I will raise my hands in worship and thank God for all He has done for me.

The commute home is often a nice break from the stresses of the day. I make sure the front seat is clear and I picture Jesus sitting next to me as I talk to Him. He has spoken some powerful truths over me in those moments.

One of the biggest things that my wife and I have done this year is to turn our spare bedroom in to a prayer room. It is becoming one of our favorite places to hang out with one another. There in our matching arm chairs we quietly read our bibles, listen to teachings on the iPad, pray together or write in our journals. It has been a blessing and an incentive to spend time with the Lord.

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to read the bible, pray and/or journal. Doing this takes the enjoyment out of it. I imagine that God doesn’t want to be with us if we are doing so out of obligation. Like any healthy relationship, you want to spend time with the other person because you enjoy it. If you feel obligated or guilty because you failed to do it, stop. Take time during your day to slow down and be fully present with God. Quality time with genuine intimacy is so much better than quantity time done as a duty. Follow the example of our Jamaican brothers and sisters and slow down!