“Hurry is the death of prayer and only impedes and spoils our work. It never advances it.”— John Mark Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
I was delighted when a friend asked me to join a book club. (Thanks Lorna!) Me, an author, being asked to be in a book club not come to speak to one (although I enjoy that too!) was an unexpected delight. I had never heard of the book that was the book of choice for the next meeting, but I quickly put it in my Amazon cart and impatiently awaited its arrival.
Here I was already in a hurry for a book that was totally against the mere essence of that word.
Hurry. It’s a part of our culture.
I feel it in the mornings when I get up and start going through my to-do list. So much to do; never enough time. As I check things off the list, more seem to gravitate toward it.
I feel it in the evenings when I see all that is needed around the house to get done before bedtime. Meals, baths, homework… the kids have needs. The cats and our dog have needs. I have needs. None of them like to work in unison and my body rushes through each.
I feel it on the weekends between sports games, birthday parties and other worldly demands. So much fun and so draining at the same time. We don’t want to limit time with others, but when we have a tight timeframe, are we really ever present in the moment?
Hurry. It’s the speed from which I leave my home to pick up my kids each day from school. Always with the best intentions of leaving early; always feeling five minutes behind.
It’s the pace of my literal dreams and my figurative ones. My five-year plan wants to get done this year, but probably needs ten years to be accomplished. Even in the dead of night I am rushed through my dreams like fast forwarding through a movie.
There’s never enough time. I have too much to do. And I better do it all and pronto.
But hurry isn’t a part of His culture.
As John Mark Comer, author of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, reminds me: “To walk with Jesus is to walk with a slow, unhurried pace.”
I want to walk with Jesus. But I just don’t want to do it slowly.
On my hurried drive home yesterday from my hurried drive to pick up the kids from school, I had just read that quote in the book club book and was trying to comprehend it with my littles in our quick car ride home. As they likely rolled their eyes, wanting to decompress from their days instead of having me decompress from my latest ah-ha moment, I told them what I was coming to realize.
Jesus never did anything fast, even though he could.
He walked slowly, noticing the small things and cherishing the moments with those he met. Even when he walked on water, where he could fall in at any moment, he didn’t. He wasn’t in a rush; he was in a walk… one that was methodical and saved people with each step he took.
I don’t know about you, but it’s easier to run from hardships than to slowly walk away from them. It’s easier to bolt when you see a snake than to take your time methodically planning your escape path. We run toward opportunities that excite us, not walk there. Our culture encourages us to run from problems instead of walking away with purpose; to run toward exciting chances instead of gracefully walking to them.
But hurry isn’t healthy. It’s not healing or helpful. All it does is diminish relationships—with one another, with ourselves, with our God. It doesn’t mean we actually get anywhere faster; instead, it’s only quickening our heart rates.
So, how do you stop?
I haven’t finished John’s book yet, so I don’t know the answer (and I suspect he doesn’t directly provide a checklist either). But my inclination is this…
Take a deep breath. In and out. Get grounded in the moment to see what’s happening around you. Put down the phone. Turn off Netflix and all notifications. Close the computer. Make an intentional effort to disconnect from what our culture tells us is important and reconnect with what we know is.
Start your day in prayer. End it there too. And, throughout the day, invite it into your life as well. Focus on hearing God speak to you, and I’ll tell you it’s hard to hear Him when we are living in hurry. Go for walks. Eliminate unnecessary meetings, demands or calendar-hogging efforts. Say no more so you can say yes to the right things.
I find that when I need to pause, I go to the mountains. The pace of the wind with the rustling of the leaves under my feet as I hike in the hidden beauties just out our back doors calms my weary heart. It may calm yours too. However and wherever you find peace, prioritize it.
Sometimes you know where peace is. Other times, it doesn’t show up how you planned.
What I think I need and what God knows I need aren’t always congruent.
In August of this year, ten women joined myself and my retreat partner-in-crime, Shannon, for two nights away from hurry. Nestled in the woods but still close to civilization, the women were gifted an opportunity to press pause and recalibrate. Early morning paddle boat rides, afternoon hikes and coffee sips on the back porch created a safe space for reflection, sisterhood and honesty.
Shannon and I reflect on that retreat often, and she recently shared an insight from one of the ladies who attended. This lady had come to our Broken & Beautiful Retreat looking for clarity. Her plans were feeling off a bit, and she wanted her eyes opened wide to uncover answers. All weekend she went looking, but I don’t think the answer she was seeking is what she was given. Instead, she walked away with a much simpler answer to any worry, fear, hardship she was facing.
Change your pace.
Recalibration requires a pause. It requires recharging, and that just isn’t possible when we are going a hundred-miles-a-minute. Try plugging your phone in while running past the outlet, and be sure to record a video of it. I’d like that laugh later watching you attempt the impossible.
We know hurry isn’t taking us anywhere. So, why not try a change of pace. Why not give life a healthy pause so we can focus on what really matters and let go of what doesn’t. When our pace changes, we change. When hurry isn’t a part of our lives, we have room to better love others and ourselves. We have the capacity to see miracles and be one. We can hear God and spend more time in dialogue with Him. We can experience life how God intended it to be.
So, what do you say? Ready to trade in your running shoes for walking boots?
If you’d like an opportunity to take a breather, adjust your pace and spend some quality time with God, join us for a Broken & Beautiful Retreat. It could be the best gift you give yourself or another woman in your life. While pace can’t be wrapped up in a box, it’s a gift that changes everything.