In a recent sermon, our pastor (who is, by the way, one of the best communicators I've ever heard) called on an illustration by Jon Ortberg.
Scott told the story of Jon Ortberg's conversation with Dallas Willard, a well-known writer on spirituality. In the conversation, Ortbert asked Willard what was the one thing he could recommend that would bring new energy to Ortberg’s spiritual life. Willard’s reply was quite simple; he said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life."
Ortberg quickly jotted it down in his notebook, and then looked up at Willard and asked, "And what else?"
Willard replied: "There is nothing else."
Well, how about that. No hurry? Really? That's it?
Upon first glance, that solution seemed both unrealistic, as the mother of two boys, and also a bit far-fetched. I mean, a hurried life does not seem to reflect a godless life, or at least I didn't think so.
And then, I was given the opportunity to look at the hurriedness of my own hectic life.
During any given day, I am very hurried, in many ways. I hurry to to get my boys out the door, to make it to appointments, to beat the rush at the grocery store, to get my kids down for naps so I can have some blessed time to myself, to get dinner on the table, to make it to work on time, to get through my list of proposed goals and tasks for the day.
I have a tendency to hurry. But is that really sinful? Is a hurried schedule drawing me from the Lord? I mean, I think my heart is in the right place: I want to be accountable for my time, maximize my days, avoid being a sluggard, and maintain order and relationships in my life. So if I'm hurried to do all of that, for the glory of God, how can it be wrong?
But then, I took a closer look: who do I become, when I am in a hurry?
When I am rushing and in a hurry, I get impatient with Tucker because he cannot find his sippy cup that I need to quickly pack in the diaper bag, so we can get going. I get frustrated that he took his shoes off after I just put them on his busy little feet. I get impatient with the clerk at the grocery store because she is going too slow, allowing another mom to put her child on the penny horse before my little boy, who will now have to wait even longer. I get stressed over red lights. I do not allow for brief conversations with strangers... even worse, I consider them to be distractions, causing me to run late. I do not have time to listen to a co-worker who wants to share her heart with me, because I am busily working my way through the to-do list.
I lose my patience, I get frustrated, I am irritable. When I am in a hurry, I become selfish.
Can a busy day draw me away from the Lord? No, maybe not.
But can impatience, frustration, irritability, and selfishness draw me away from the Lord? Without a doubt. Turns out, I really need to slow down. I, too, need to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from my life.
What on earth can that look like for me, a mom of two busy little boys who are always in a hurry to do the next thing? Not sure yet. Maybe resisting hurry isn't about tossing the to-do list out the window, or having a day without a plan, or liesurely relaxing to the point that nothing gets done, even though, by golly, my heart was in the right place.
Maybe it's not about that at all. Maybe it's a mindset. Perhaps resisting hurry truly is about planning my day, but with a spirit open to the Lord and His plan, even if that includes small "distractions" - which are ultimately opportunities to show grace and patience to my kids or even encouragement to a stranger.
And so begins a new task: the pursuit of hurry-free living.
Just to keep it real: it it begins right now, as I feel the need to scramble to get the laundry folded before my kids are up from their naps!