The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

If hurry is an epidemic–and I think it is–then most people I know are infected.

Meetings, appointments, calls, texts, emails, chores–life today can get so filled up with stuff that without really meaning to, you can find yourself trapped in a perpetual state of hurry.

Honey, we’re gonna be late.”

What’s taking the kids so long? The game starts in 10 minutes.”

Why’s that driver going so slow?”

The boss needs to see you right now.”

“If you don’t act today, you’ll lose the special price.”

“Your paper is due by 4:00 today.”

You have eight meetings scheduled this afternoon.”

A Hamster on a Wheel

It goes on and on, doesn’t it? To the point where many of us feel like a hamster running on a wheel.

Whether you keep your daily to-do list on paper or in your head, it probably feels like you never get to the end of it and by time you go to bed you don’t so much feel a sense of satisfaction as of the gnawing fear that you’ve fallen further behind.

Young families are hit especially hard. For starters, their work lives are crazy because they’re starting out their careers. Then many of them are so focused on keeping up with their peers’ houses, cars or lifestyles that they get over their heads in debt.

And then there’s the kids. Many parents today spend much of their time ferrying children to sports events, school functions, friend’s houses or stores in such a dizzying sequence that many of them lose track of which child needs to be where or when.

We rush through each day like our hair’s on fire. I knew I was in trouble a few years ago when I started competing with myself every morning by counting the seconds to see how fast I could make coffee so I could get to the office quicker.

That was crazy.

Hurry Is the Enemy of Our Soul

I’ve been as much a part of this pace of life as everyone else–and as frustrated by it as many of the people around me. That’s why when I ran across John Mark Comer’s book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry I dived right in.

I’m not going to review the book in this blog post–you can buy it on Amazon in either print or Kindle versions. Comer is a fine writer and I’m sure most folks will resonate with what he has to say.

But one thing he says really stuck with me. “Hurry isn’t OF the devil,” he writes. “Hurry IS the devil.”

Comer isn’t making a theological point. He’s pointing to how our modern pace of life subverts many of our Christian values.

How can we claim to love our spouse if we don’t have enough time to listen to them? What does it really mean to be a parent if we’re working so many hours that we’re rarely at home with our children and even when we are, our mind is somewhere else?

What does it say about our faith when our days are so packed with other things that there’s no time for prayer or reading God’s Word? If our calendar is filled up with activities, communications, entertainment and commitments, where is there room for worship?

At every step of so much of modern life, it’s not hard to see how hurry is the enemy of our soul.

Small Changes with Big Results

So I’m making some small changes. And when I say, “small,” I mean it. The surprising thing is how effective they’ve been so far. So don’t laugh them off:

• Walk slow. That’s not complicated, is it? But when you walk slowly–especially if you’re a person customarily in a hurry–it forces you out of the artificial sense of urgency and into a more reflective perspective.

• Drive the speed limit. The obvious thing is that obeying the law is a good thing. But something else happens when you refuse to be rushed on the road. You have time to think. To reflect. Maybe even to pray, especially if you turn off your music and put your phone on silent. Since prayer is one of the main benefits you may realize as you slow down, click here for a previous post on “Six Ways to Improve Your Prayer Life Right Away.”

Turn your phone off. The latest studies show that millennials touch their phones 2700 times a day–yes, you read that right. Whether for calls, texts, email, news, playing digital games or keeping up with social media, our phones keep us in a constant state of hurry. Taking periodic time away from that stimulation can help lead you into an entirely different way of living.

I’m sure you can think of other ways to eliminate hurry–or at least to lessen the way it dominates your life. When you do, you’ll be surprised at the spiritual benefits.