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 follow...you 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.