Have you ever moved from one check-out line to another because it looks shorter and will move faster?
Have you ever counted the cars in front of you at the traffic light so you can work out a way to move quicker through traffic?
Are you constantly multi-tasking?
Yes? Well, then you have something called hurry sickness. Indeed, thinking about hurry does not conjure up any feelings of calmness. Quite the opposite. Urgency.
A book to help:
I recently read a book about eliminating hurry. Maybe this is a cliché, but it really made me think about what is important and not so in my life.
In his book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, author John Mark Comer describes hurry as “the root problem underneath so many of the symptoms of toxicity in our world”. And everyone in this day and age can identify with hurry, with being in a hurry. So, what this mean is that most of us are just too busy to live an emotionally healthy and spirituality vibrant life, Comer says.
Comer tells how he fell prey to hurried sickness as the pastor of a mega-church in Portland, Oregon. Too busy. Always in a hurry. The anxiety made him a different person. So, what did he do? He wanted to slow down and simplify his life. He demoted himself.
Now he is the pastor of one smaller church in the centre of Portland. In his words: “Our church is built around the very simple idea of practicing the way of Jesus, together, in Portland. We believe that the way of Jesus is exactly that, a way of life.”
A bold move. But if you want to eliminate hurry from your life you need to take radical steps.
Even if you are not a Christian, but in search of a slower more meaningful life, this book can definitely help. Let me explain.
Human beings all need and thrive when they have meaningful relationships, more so than when they have material stuff. That doesn’t fulfill us. Every one of us develop as a human being if we have relationships that are purposeful and become essential to us. But this takes and requires time. Lots of time to cultivate these important relationships. And in today’s world where everyone seems to be in a constant hurry, you lose the ability to love and cultivate those all-important relationships.
This more than often happens when you have too much to do. You cannot slow down. Eventually you start living from the surface of your life. “When we start living from the surface of our lives, (opposed to from the core) we become emotionally unhealthy,” Comer argues. We snap, we lose our tempers, we get defensive, we sulk, become angry, sad and so forth. And we’ve all had those emotions!
The solution to an over-busy life is definitely not more time. “It is to slow down and simplify our lives around what really matters.” He compares this with how Jesus lived and His practices. How Jesus took time alone and was never in a hurry.
Comer suggests four practices for un-hurrying your life:
Silence and Solitude
In the secular society it is called mindfulness, something most are familiar with. According to Comer it is the same thing, just missing the best part – Jesus, with which I would agree. This hurriedness robs us of the priority to be present.
A day to stop. Stop working, stop worrying, stop wanting.
Some practical principles include to share, to give away, to not impulse buy, to live on a budget, to learn to enjoy things without owning them, to cultivate a deep appreciation for creation, for simple pleasures and to be content.
Comer gives 20 practical ideas in his book to slow your pace of life down, and if these don’t work for you come up with your own list. Some of these will definitely test your patience. Here are a few of his ideas:
- Drive the speed limit.
- Get into the slow lane.
- Come to a full stop at stop signs. (Notice how hard this is)
- Don’t text and drive. Just don’t.
- Put your phone to bed before you.
- Keep your phone off until after your quiet time in the morning. Don’t let your phone set your emotional equilibrium by scrolling through news views, social media and more first thing in the morning.
- Set a time for email and social media and keep a time limit.
- Walk slower.
- Single-task. Be fully present.
- Experiment with mindfulness and meditation (like prayer).
- Cook your own food and eat in.
“There’s more to life than an increase in speed. Life is right under our noses, waiting to be enjoyed.”
So, the next time you’re sitting around the dinner table with your family or friends and your phone pings, DON’t reach out. Instead, put the phone out of reach to start with. You know if you just as much as look at the phone, the chat that was happening around the table will be broken.