An Unhurried Life

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“The truth is, as much as we complain about it, we are drawn to hurry. It makes us feel important. It keeps the adrenaline pumping. It means we don’t have to look too closely at the heart or life. It keeps us from feeling our loneliness.”

The Dangerous Women group I’m a part of is reading John Ortberg’s The Life You’ve Always Wanted this year. It’s such a great, practical book about spiritual disciplines. Part of our reading this month was a chapter called, “An Unhurried Life.” We thought it was quite appropriate that as moms of young kids, we were reading this during the holiday season! I mean, who has time to live an unhurried life at Christmastime?

But seriously, the chapter is so chockfull of great quotes, like the one at the top of this post. I thought I’d share a few more here. Hope you enjoy (and are challenged like I am)!

“Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. Hurry can destroy our souls…As Carl Jung wrote, ‘Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil.’”

“For many of us 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.”

“One of the great illusions of our day is that hurrying will buy us more time.”

“Jesus often had much to do, but he never did it in a way that severed the life-giving connection between him and his Father. He never did it in a way that interfered with his ability to give love when love was called for…Jesus was often busy, but never hurried.”

“The most serious sign of hurry sickness is a diminished capacity to love. Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love always takes time.”

So what is the solution?

“Solitude is the remedy for the busyness that charms…At its heart, solitude is primarily about not doing something. Just as fasting means to refrain from eating, so solitude means to refrain from society.”

“’In solitude,’ Henri Nouwen wrote, ‘I get rid of my scaffolding.’ Scaffolding is all the stuff we use to keep ourselves propped up, to convince ourselves that we are important or okay…We are conditioned to feel that our existence is justified only when we are doing something.”

Do you suffer from hurry sickness like I do? What would it look like to practice the art of slowing, especially during this season? How can we rearrange our schedules in order to make room for regular times of solitude and reflection? How would our holidays improve if we ruthlessly eliminated hurry from our lives?

2 thoughts on “An Unhurried Life

  1. Because of our cultural norms, there is so much guilt associated with slowing down, doing less, and saying no. What will people think of me if I don't volunteer, or if I skip an event? The worst feeling is watching my youngest child fall into this trap already – with all the opportunities available and peer pressure to participate, how do we teach our children that busyness is not the goal?

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  2. I wish I knew the answers, Tracy! It takes a lot of courage to say “no” when it involves other people; to be willing to make those choices when others may respond in hurt/anger/judgment/etc. It's so hard to sort out our motives. And you're way ahead of me on coaching our kids on this…will you let me know how that goes when my kids get to that stage? 🙂

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