To be spiritually healthy, you must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life!
“BE still and know that I AM God” (Psalm 46:10)
What is one thing you can do to simplify your complicated life?
An Unhurried Life was my very first message posted at Your Daily Blessing. It is the most important life lesson I have ever learned. As you meditate on this message, may it resonate deeply in your mind and heart, allowing you to experience God in extraordinary ways for extraordinary fruit.
In his book “The Life You’ve Always Wanted,” John Ortberg teaches spiritual disciplines for ordinary people.
In Chapter 5 titled “An Unhurried Life,” John explains “the practice of ‘slowing’.” He states that not long after moving to Chicago, he called the wisest spiritual mentor he has ever known to ask for spiritual direction. John described the pace at which things tended to move in his current setting. He told about the rhythms of his family life and the present condition of his heart. Then John asked what he needed to do to be spiritually healthy. After a long pause, the wise mentor answered “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” After writing down that lesson, John asked “Now what else is there?” Another long pause and then the answer came “There is nothing else.”
John states: “The lives of the hurry-sick lack simplicity. Hurried people cannot love. Today we have largely traded wisdom for information. Love and hurry are incompatible. Jesus never hurried. Solitude is the remedy for the busyness that charms.”
In my wallet, I carry a beautiful card with a serene picture of a house with a water wheel and Psalm 46:10. This serves as a constant reminder for me to be still to rest in the LORD.
Jesus invites you to REST in Him. Accept His invitation! “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Abba, thank You for being able to calling You Father because I am Your child. Thank You for Your patience with me when I allow myself to get too busy. Thank You for the ways You work in my life to steer me to more godly habits to slow down and thereby practice the presence of God. Almost everywhere I go, I see hurry- sick people. Please bless the people reading or hearing this message to be able to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from their own lives so that they can be spiritually healthy. Help them to be still to know that You are God so that they may experience Your deep and abiding love which can then be poured into the lives of many others.
I pray the blood of Jesus over this daily devotional and ask You to multiply it greatly to change many lives and strengthen many families. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen and hallelujah!
1) An Unhurried Life: The Practice of Slowing – Chapter 5 of The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines For Ordinary People by John Ortberg
2) Be Still and Know – song by Steven Curtis Chapman
3) Be Still and Know That I Am God: Creating Quiet Time with God
Blessings to live an unhurried life!
An Unhurried Life
In leadership and management the talk is about the “tyranny of the urgent” – when you put off doing the most important thing because you are too busy with taking care of details around you. Companies spend millions of dollars investing in training leaders how to keep from “being busy at the expense of being productive.” Why are we surprised at that? Look at the way we live! Is an unhurried life possible? Or, to put it another way, “Is it possible to live a productive life in an unhurried manner?”
I think most people think that when I speak of an “unhurried life,” I mean one that is laid back and almost lazy. In America to be successful is to appear to be “busy”, especially when you live in the suburbs. There are more good things, good in and of themselves, to be involved in as suburbanites that we try to be involved in everything possible. We end up feeling like we live life on a treadmill. The more I think about it, the more I have come to realize that “busyness” – living in a hurry – is the easiest thing we do. In fact, it takes more diligence to live an unhurried life than to live at seventy miles per hour day in and day out. Recently I realized that for the past few months I have unreflectively lived a very hurried life. I was thinking about this when my mother pointed it out to me, and I knew it was time to slow down, take inventory and use available resources to figure out how to get off the treadmill.
Jesus got a lot done, but he never seemed to be in a hurry. He had time to work and time to build meaningful relationships with the people around him. When he was with people he was “in the moment.” He was focused on them and not rushed to get on to next big ministry. With only three years to do his life’s work, he got through it with integrity. So forget all your theology for a minute and just look at Jesus. The way he lived his life should serve as an example to us. His was an “unhurried life.” He lived in our humanity with all the limitations of time and space. He had the same twenty-four hours that we do, and yet his pace seems to be, well – human. Jesus reminds me that ultimately the “Jones” are not the model for my life – Jesus is, and I will never be happy and holy unless I am willing to look to him as the model for my life and not the latest book of how productive I can be.
The second place I check when my navigation is off and I am feeling rushed by the cares of the world is Eugene Peterson. In Subversive Spirituality, he is brutal when it comes to busyness. When asked the question: “How does busyness affect our spiritual lives?” He says this, “Busyness is the enemy of spirituality. It is essentially laziness. It is doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing. It is filling our time with our own action instead of paying attention to God’s actions. It is taking charge.” Ouch! Busyness is basically an unreflective life. A life lived at break-neck speed is a life that is not asking the important questions like – “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?” “Who are the people that need me the most?” Life that is lived in a hurry, always running from one thing to the next, is the surest way to never progress in the gospel!
Development of the soul – a well-lived life with God, building relationships with people and work are the hardest things we ever do. It is a pilgrimage that demands constant attention and constant questioning. The models of success we see flaunted in the culture and the ones we see written across Scripture are simply not the same. When we get busy, whether at work, church or with anything for that matter, what always suffers are the relationships of people closest to us – our family and those people around us. Yesterday, my son’s friend drove our four-wheeler through a chain link fence. It is only by God’s grace he wasn’t hurt badly. (And that he didn’t tear up my four-wheeler!) He did mess up the gear shifter though, and when I went by the house today, my neighbor, who is an airplane mechanic, was fixing it. I have lived across the street from him for six years and today was the first time I ever engaged him in authentic conversation. Why? I am too busy! Am I so busy that I can’t even know my neighbor? Is that what I learn from Jesus? Is that the gospel model want to leave to my children?
I don’t much think that an unhurried life is much of an ideal any more. If not, who will model a life well-lived in a culture that is moving so fast it has to have a nervous breakdown if something doesn’t change? I wonder what would happen if there was a community of folk who decided to examine their lives and, with God’s help, chose to live at a human pace. I don’t know. Would they be thought of as weird? Maybe. Would they be thought of as lazy? Some would. Would people begin to wonder how this was possible and ask how? Absolutely! It would be the most radical thing to ever hit suburbia America.
An unhurried life will only come out of reflection and diligence. It will be far easier to stay busy or say it is a luxury you do not have to actively reflect on the pace and priority of your life. Peterson is right; if we chose to stay busy we are indeed lazy.
St. Patrick Presbyterian Church P.O. Box 1087 Collierville, TN. 38027
An Unhurried Life
Source: An Unhurried Life: Part 1 by John H. Beaverton
[I am beginning to journal the study questions from Chapter 5 (“An Unhurried Life: The Practice of ‘Slowing'”) of John Ortberg’s The Life You’ve Always Wanted. For some “look ahead” at the book, I have posted the chapter titles at the index link at the bottom.]
Someone said they appreciated my questions. They are not mine. They are the study questions in the back of the book, written by Kevin G. Harney.
Small Group Discussion Questions
1) If you were to take this exhortation with all seriousness, “to be spiritually healthy, you must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life,” what is one thing you would need to change in your life so you could slow down?
2) The author writes, “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. Hurry can destroy our souls. Hurry can keep us from living well.” How have you experienced the destructive power of hurry in your life?
3) How can busyness cause us to settle for mediocrity in our faith rather than a deep experience of God’s presence and power?
How have you experienced this reality in your life during times of intense busyness?
Mark 1:32-39 When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city had gathered at the door. And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was. In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Simon and his companions searched for Him; they found Him, and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” He said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.
Luke 5:15-16 But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
From these two passages and other stories in the Gospels, what are some examples of how Jesus modeled an unhurried life?
5) Take a few moments and have your small-group members take this brief survey. Circle yes or no for each question:
- Do you live with a daily sense that there is not enough time to get done with everything you need to accomplish? YES NO
- Do you find yourself talking faster because there is so much to say? YES NO
- Do you nod a lot when a person is talking slowly in an effort to keep them moving along? YES NO
- When people are talking too slowly, do you ever find yourself wanting to (or actually) finishing their sentences? YES NO
- Do you ever drive faster than is safe (even sometimes when you are not in a hurry) ? YES NO
- When you stop at a red light with two or more lanes with cars in them, do you ever try to anticipate which car looks faster so you can get behind that car and save a few seconds when the light turns green? YES NO
- Do you ever try to gauge which line at the grocery store will be the quickest and get in that line? And, if it turns out you picked the slower line, does it bother you? YES NO
- Do you multiple-task and try to get more than one thing done at a time on a regular basis? YES NO
- Do you have a big pile of magazines, newspapers, and books that you hope to read “some day”? YES NO
- Do you live your life driven by schedules, organizers, and to-do lists? YES NO
- Do you find it difficult to say no when others ask you to do things that will add one more item to your schedule? YES NO
Share how many times you circled yes to the questions above, and tell your group what you think this reveals about the place of hurry in your life.
6) The author says, “Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible.” How is hurry the enemy of love in one of these relationships?
- Your relationship with God
- Your relationship with your family members
- Your relationship with other followers of Christ
- Your relationship with those who don’t yet know Jesus
7) What are some of the values and attitudes in our society that drive us to a hurried lifestyle?
What are some biblical truths we can hold on to that will counteract these values and attitudes?
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