Can we start a “How to Live an Unhurried Life” support group?
I’d be the first to sign up. You see, I’m not writing this post from an “I got this!” point of view. I simply want to learn how to squash the word “hurry” from my life and replace it with “holy”.
After all, our greatest example in living an unhurried but holy life is Jesus. Just ask Martha and Mary.
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary, and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” (John 11:1-7)
“So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.”
By the time Jesus arrived, John tells us that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. We all know how this story ends. But where does our story begin as we think about Jesus’ view of priorities, time, and schedule?
Yes, Jesus is God but the Holy Spirit resides within us, equipping us to choose an unhurried life.
Around our house, summertime is by far the most hurried. For Brian, there’s mowing almost four acres, keeping the pool from becoming an acid pit, and trimming shrubs that block swimmer’s views of the mountains. My summer pool hurry is more about shuffling around like crazy at the last minute trying to shove books, papers, a rogue power cord that stretches across the room, and anything else that our two and three-year-old grandchildren might find interesting, into a nearby bedroom. I know it’s not pretty, but it’s real.
Feeling the constant tug of hurry this summer, I put some practical grace-paced “to-do’s” into place that will last long after the final swim:
- On Sunday nights, I take a few minutes to jot down meal ideas for the week, along with the needed ingredients. This helps to eliminate questions about dinner plans and the hurried feeling that ensues.
- Also on Sunday nights, I look at my calendar and choose 2-3 top priorities for the week. I try to keep them in order: God, family, church, and ministry. No doubt, I sometimes fall flat, but I try to be intentional about it. Intentionality offers focus, which for me, offers peace in knowing I don’t have to accomplish it all (as if I could!).
- No writing or creating on Sundays, giving the soul, body, and mind a rest.
- Before bed, I make sure the square frying pan is readied for eggs and the tiny measuring cup is washed and prepped for coffee creamer. To most, it’s called a routine. To me it’s a gift, knowing the next morning starts with a clean slate, no pun intended.
- I pray to remain open to His plans and “interruptions” for the day. I’m prone to zero in on a project and not raise my head for hours at a time. Trusting He will provide when plans change helps to eliminate the feeling of hurry or anxiousness.
Simple, right? Some of our most life-giving moments begin with small, doable steps.
Consider small steps you might put into place this week to help lessen the hurry as you move through your days with purpose and joy.
To help give you a boost, check out some of my favorite quotes from Alan Fadling’s, “An Unhurried Life…Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest”:
- “Hurry is not just a disordered schedule. Hurry is a disordered heart.”
- “I feel hurried inside even when nothing actually urgent is on my schedule. Hurry has become a habit: I find myself stuck in emergency mode.”
- “I realize that an unhurried life is not a lazy life. In fact, it can be the exact opposite. Jesus was unhurried, but he was not lazy He was engaged, hardworking, purposeful, and conscientious.”
- “I’m aware that God’s great commandment to us isn’t ‘Get more things done,’ but to love him with the whole of our energies, capacities, and passions to extend that love to others. And love isn’t rushed.”
- “God is never in a hurry.”
- “Being unhurried does not mean being unresponsive to divine nudges. Being unhurried enables us to notice those nudges and to respond.”
- “I don’t think I’ll find my deepest joy in the number of people who liked something I said or did. I’m coming to believe that my greatest joy will be being part of an extended community of men and women with whom I’ve shared a journey with Jesus, living out his life in our families, our neighborhoods, our workplaces and schools, and the church communities where God has planted us.”
- “Despite Jesus’ example, I find it a continual temptation to do things that will get a lot of people excited about what I’m doing⎯and get them excited now!”
- “Do our conversations about ministry revolve around growing numbers of participants, successful programs, or other easily measured outcomes? Or do we tell stories about particular people who are responding to Jesus, stories of seeds of gospel truth sown in people’s hearts that will grow into the fruit of Christlikeness?”
- Told to John Ortberg during a transition in his ministry life: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
Now that’s a lot of unhurried goodness. How are you eliminating hurry from your life? Do tell!