Friday, October 14, 2011

On Hurrying and Joy

Lately I have found myself in hurry mode.  I find myself, at the very least, in a mindset of rush, rush rush --hurrying to get to the next thing.  And to what end?  I then find myself at "the next thing" and there I am rushing again onto the next, and so on and so forth.  A couple of years ago I was confronted on this issue by pastor and author John Ortberg in his book, The Life You've Always Wanted.  I found his words on the same subject in an article that I came across today.  See if this sounds like you too:

Not long after moving to Chicago, I called a wise friend to ask for some spiritual direction. I described the pace of life in my current ministry. The church where I serve tends to move at a fast clip. I also told him about our rhythms of family life: we are in the van-driving, soccer-league, piano-lesson, school-orientation-night years. I told him about the present condition of my heart, as best I could discern it. What did I need to do, I asked him, to be spiritually healthy?

Long pause.

"You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life," he said at last.

Another long pause.

"Okay, I've written that one down," I told him, a little impatiently. "That's a good one. Now what else is there?" I had many things to do, and this was a long-distance call, so I was anxious to cram as many units of spiritual wisdom into the least amount of time possible.

Can I get an amen?  I mean, surely I'm not alone in this, right?

But here's the deal:  I think that when we live life in this mindset, we deprive ourselves of joy.  In fact, I would venture to say that this is surely a tactic of the enemy to steal the joy from our lives.  When we're always moving on to the next thing, then we are not really in the moment.  Our eyes are not focused on what the Lord is doing right now, right here, and so we miss some things. Ortberg says that, "the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them."

I have found that the things that bring real joy in life are in the little things--the random moments and conversations where we stop and laugh with people.  Or stop and really find out how someone is doing.  Really doing.  Or stop and appreciate the beauty around us.  When we are in hurry mode, these are the things we miss. 

In his book, Desiring God, John Piper says that "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied with Him."  So really, when we miss these moments of joy because of our need to get to the next thing, we are not just missing out on joy but we are ultimately stealing God's glory.  Friends, this is why hurrying has to be a sin.  This is why we need to, as Ortberg says, "ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives."  This is why we need to deliberately slow down.  In the slowing down, we will deliberately cultivate joy.  We will see what God is doing and we will be able to give him the glory that He is due. 

It's not easy; that's for sure.  I have found that I have to purposefully, in the moment, slow down and actually say to myself, "Savor this." 

It means that everything you have planned for a day may not get done.

For me, it means building five minutes of downtime into my lesson plans so that I don't spend  every single moment of class hurrying through content to beat the bell. 

It means that I have to stop living for 7th period and start living in the moments with my students in every class.  Even on a Monday.

It means focusing intently on enjoying and savoring time spent with my husband as just the two of us now and not letting my impatience to have our boy with us hurry these moments by.

It has meant fasting from magazines and blogs and facebook on occasion so that I don't get caught up in what others are doing so much that I begin to compare and hurry our life along to match theirs.

Sometimes it means getting in the slow lane at the grocery store on purpose, just to practice the discipline of "ruthlessly eliminating hurry."

What about you?  Is hurry a struggle for you?  Can we make a small commitment to one another to slow down a little more and savor the little moments where real joy can be found?  I need a little accountability here.  To God be the glory and for the sake of our joy in Him!

1 comment:

Shelley said...


This is EXACTLY whats been on my heart recently. Thanks for sharing :)