“Trampled by Turtles” lead singer, Dave Simonett, was recently on the radio speaking about his upcoming tour. He was asked, “Doesn’t such a full schedule make you crazy?” To which he replied, and I paraphrase, “No. I start to feel weird if I’m not busy.”
This struck a chord inside me because I’ve been pondering the “unrushed” life, the life of contemplation and stillness.
What is it within human nature that desires to have a full calendar? The need to be so preoccupied with what is coming next that we forget about the moment we are living in; where is this from?
This poses a serious problem to the life of a Christian. No sarcasm. No joke. The rushed life is an un-Christ-like life.
(You can be a Christian and live a rushed life; I just don’t see from the gospel narratives any point where Jesus was living a hurried life. Therefore, to be living a rushed lifestyle would be “un-Christ-like.” Just an observation, don’t take it as a slam. Just stop being rushed and be more like Jesus. Mkay?)
Here are some ways I’ve seen the “hurried” life be destructive to our faith.
- Our church service better not last longer than an hour or we get bored.
- Communion is 10 seconds of reflection and confession then a hurried consumption of plastic bread and expired grape juice.
- Our small group prayer time is an after thought, an addendum, to our Bible studies.
- Our conversations are spent waiting to respond rather than practicing listening. (I’m sorry, Robyn)
“What’s next” is all we think about. But not “What’s next” for the Kingdom of God or the best of the person in front of us. “What’s next” is about me. It’s about entertainment and the feel good buzz.
This week I’ve found that I’m the worst at this. I’m rushing. I’m hurried. I’m overstimulated.
Last night I was cooking spaghetti dinner, listening to a podcast, playing a game on my phone, swapping laundry, changing a diaper and pacifying two fighting kiddos. This isn’t weird. I watch Netflix while playing games on my phone with my journal and a book in my lap.
I have a problem.
This is not a bash against multi-tasking. Things must be accomplished. We can’t have 8 hour church services weekly, or prayer time that goes on and on neglecting the Bible, or confession that forgets about the thanksgiving that should be given to God during communion.
What I’m recommending is an ever-present, active participation in the here and now. When all we think about is “What’s next,” we forget about all the wonder happening in the moment. God is working presently. He is active in the here and now. Why rush out of what He has for us now to get to what He has for us later?
Here’s how I’m going to address the rushed life for the next phase of life. I welcome you to try it, see if it improves your life. If not go back to your hurried, busy life; we’re all wired differently.
- Intentional devotion time. Don’t just plow through your SOAP or daily reading. Read until God speaks to you through the text. It might be ten chapters, it might be two verses. But once He has revealed a truth to you, chew on it. Read the text again and again. Let it wash over you. Chew it like cows chew the cud. Let the nutrients of the Word of God nourish your spirit.
- Make prayer time centered on confession, thanksgiving, reflection, and silence. Pastor Eugene Peterson says about prayer, ““Talk in prayer is essential but it is also partial…Silence is essential.” Stop going to prayer with a list of needs from God that can be rattled off like a Christmas wish list. Speak plainly, be earnest and wait. Don’t come out until you have communed with the Divine.
- Turn off your phone at meal time. Off. As in, powered down completely. Don’t put it in the other room “silenced.” Be at your meal.
I’m sure you could add things to help become less hurried, but those are the three areas that I’m going to be focusing on as I try to quit the “rushed” life.