Call me simple. Or mystical. Or just naïve and superstitious. Call me what you want, but regardless, this is how it works. This is how I know what I am supposed to write about—dare I say-what I believe God wants me to write about.
I read a smorgasbord of books every day. Usually a page or two and often with dated entries. I started reading a book called “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” by John Mark Comer after a friend sat calmly across from me at lunch while I frantically checked my phone to make sure I wasn’t late for my next appointment (I had squeezed this lunch in between two other appointments with about 7 minutes to spare on each side for transit. Brilliant!). She told me she had been reading this book and it had changed the way she lived. I remember hearing of this phrase years earlier from a reflective spiritual writer named Dallas Willard. Clearly I hadn’t gotten much further than acknowledging it’s powerful evaluation of most of our lives—my life.
But I am getting ahead of myself. I had finished the first few pages and then decided to pick up one of my books with dated entries since I hadn’t read it in a few days. I never go backwards to catch up until after I read exactly what it has for me on the day I am actually living. I felt a zing in my chest as I read it.
For starters, in one small page the word “hurry” appeared four times. In a nutshell, it said things like:
*Go easy. You may have to push forward, but you don’t have to push so hard. Go in gentleness, go in peace.
*Do not be in so much of a hurry.
*Do not be in too much of a hurry to begin.
*Do not be in too much of a hurry to finish.
(From Melody Beattie’s “The Language of Letting Go” page 88)
Well then. I may be simple but I ain’t thick. I knew this was God highlighting that my picking up that book about “ruthlessly eliminating hurry” was not my idea. It was not a coincidence that I had lunch with my friend (and that I scheduled it with no margin left at all, just for extra effect) and that she mentioned this book. I have known her for years and I know she runs like me; full speed ahead in every area of her life. If this could work for her, I had an inkling it could work for me.
Let me be clear, this blog is about the diagnosis of hurry-sickness. The remedy is yet to come because I purposely closed my book this morning at the end of horrors of this plague and have not read a word of Part Two: The Solution.
In case you think you might want to buy this book and catch up with me, let me give you a little teaser. A few symptoms of hurry sickness:
1. Irritability-you get mad, frustrated, or just annoyed way too easily.
2. Hypersensitivity-Ordinary problems of life have a disproportionate effect on your emotions, well-being and relational grace ( in other words, you are grouchy, depressed, tired, anxious, nitpicky).
3. Restlessness-When you actually do try to slow down and rest, you can’t relax. You try to spend quiet time with God but can’t focus your mind.
4. Workaholism (or just nonstop activity)-You just don’t know when to stop. Or worse, you can’t stop. Your drugs of choice are accomplishment and accumulation.
5. Emotional Numbness-You just don’t have the capacity to feel another’s pain. Or your own pain for that matter.
6. Out-of-order priorities-You feel disconnected from your identity and calling.
7. Lack of care for your body-You don’t have time for the basics: eight hours of sleep, daily exercise, healthy eating. You feel tired, unrested, sick, harried.
8. Escapist behaviors-When we’re too tired to do what’s actually life giving for our souls, we each turn to our distraction of choice: overeating, overdrinking, bing-watching shows, browsing social media, etc.
9. Slippage of spiritual disciplines-When you get overbusy, the things that are truly life giving for your soul are the first to go rather than your first go-to (prayer, reflection, meditation, solitude).
10. Isolation-You feel disconnect from God, others and your own soul.
(Excerpt from John Mark Comer’s “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” page 48-51)
Any of this sound eerily familiar?
One thing became clear as I read the first 50 pages, and is something I have been trying to identify in me for awhile now:
HURRY ORIGINATES IN THE HEART.
Some days I can run on a tight schedule and still walk at the pace of love, and other times I can stay in one place and feel frantic and unsettled in my spirit.
While it’s still important to monitor and manage the amount of actual activity our bodies participate in, the bigger issue is my approach to all my activity.
Oops-I am doing what I usually do by the end of a blog; focusing on the solution. Today I want us to just sit with the problem for a bit. Ask yourself if you identify with my struggle to live in harmony in/with my soul. If you do, you are not alone and I invite you too explore some ways we can do it differently—together.