Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What We Should Ruthlessly Eliminate

The words attributed to John Ortberg (but ultimately to Dallas Willard) keep ringing in my ears four full days after hearing them.

They are strong words. I expect them to be followed by some terrible temptation or sin. The word that actually follows shocks my busy, productive system just a bit.

"You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life."


Peace, calm and a steady pace seem like fine ideals, but let's be realistic. This is 2014. I am not a monk. I am a Mom of three vibrant children and an equally energetic spouse. Our mornings seem to begin with a starter pistol rather than an alarm clock. We are all about intentionality, productivity and carpe diem. We seem to thrive on action verbs like go, do, serve, seize the day!

And there seem to be such conflicting messages in the world and even in the Word. I equate words like 'stewardship' and 'the Great Commission' with action. We are even commanded to be 'doers of the Word, not hearers only.' That is a tall order. Life is short. Shouldn't I hurry?

"For most 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." -John Ortberg

This life--His Love-- is rich and full. I don't want to skim the surface. I want to go deep. I can't do that at a sprint.

Diving is not a race it is an event.
Discoveries aren't made at breakneck speed, they are the result of lingering.
Moments aren't created in a rush, the evolve from sweet, savored time.

Hurry gets the adrenaline pumping, but it is devastating to relationships--with our kids, our spouses and our God. Despite our apparent belief that it is a part of life, for the Christ follower it's not necessarily so. We profess Christ as our example, so let's look at His life. "If you want to can't go faster than the one who is leading. Jesus was often busy but he was never hurried." -John Ortberg

Is my very desire to 'do' for the one's I adore actually tripping up my ability to love them well? (Friends, family and Lord included in this.) It's a challenging question. If I don't have time to slow down and look in the faces of the ones I love, to drink them in, how can our relationship be intimate?

I have been pondering all this as the seasons change and new Spring schedules kick into gear, even as Summer plans are being booked. Then yesterday God used a passage from Colossians to drive it all home:

"He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross." Colossians 1:18-20 The Message

The God I worship is not HURRY, He is HARMONY.

When He is at the head--in first place on my list of priorities and the lens through which my schedule must be seen, there is room for what matters. I must simply slow down long enough to evaluate and sift all the 'stuff' this world throws at me through that filter.

There is a time when that thought would have frightened me, but now it frees. Unlike a crowded, hurried life, He is spacious, roomy. In Him, the broken and dislocated become vibrant and harmonious.

That will preach.

What God (and our families) need most from us is not our frantic 'doing' but our unhurried hearts. Without love it is nothing (I Corinthians 13)...and you can't rush real love.


Melene@Sing For Joy said...

I am "saramel" who commented on your instagram post last night about being just 3 months from my first born's graduation from High School. This post goes right along with what I've been thinking about lately and I felt God prompting me to step down from a ministry I volunteered in. I would have been rushing to get there this morning, but I had a wonderful sleep last night-the best I've had in a long time. And I am enjoying every minute with both of my girls as well as watching them with each other. My college bound girl will be 4 hours away, so not too far, but it will still be very different around here. Thanks for this post. God is using your writing!

Sue said...

This makes me think of the acronym for BUSY:

I really think it is one of Satan's most effective ploys. We think it is OK being so busy because we are doing good things ... but it is keeping us from having unhurried time with God.

Thanks for sharing! I need to be reminded often. (Especially two weeks before my daughter's wedding!)

Lauren said...

Your message hit me to the core! I've realized that the times when I feel closest to God are when I take time to slow down, savor life, and feel his hand in everything around me. Thank you so much for this reminder, it's a message we all need in such a busy world.

Living in New England, it's difficult to find time to slow down, as my friend Mallory attests to in her blog post about deepening her relationship with God through creating quiet moments, but I do my best to pause, put Him first, and love each moment of this life.

catepane said...

I ponder these issues so frequently! My oldest will be a senior in high school next year and I find myself wanting to just stop and watch every precious movement of the amazing young man he has become. We have a philosophy of maintaining a peaceful, home Church, but we find ourselves dizzy with busyness so often. We constantly have to recalibrate! Thank you for your beautiful words!

Lauren said...

I like your philosophy of maintaining a peaceful home. Home is where can be a place for refuge, love and peace. It is where we learn and apply the gospel of Jesus Christ. God and Christ should reside in our homes and in our heart. Lauren's friend's article was very intriguing. She created time for time. Life gets busy but we can always "create" time for our Father in Heaven.

Jenny Lynn said...

this was sooo good! thank you for the encouragement!!