Corrie Ten Boom once said that if the devil can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy.
When you’re living a rushed life every minute must be accounted for. You feel like you must be checking something off the list or staring at a screen to verify the next destination. You feel like you’re behind the curve. You feel pressure to discover your calling and then execute a 90-day plan. Then there’s FOMO, the “fear of missing out,” or you feel that you’ve lost too much time.
Isn’t it interesting that we have very little time for ourselves despite living in this technological world with dishwashers, cars, washing machines, ovens, computers, phones, and apps? And yet we feel weary and burdened.
That’s because ‘hurry’ is the great spiritual sin of this day and age.
There’s a healthy kind of busy when life is full of things that matter: being present in your relationships, performing your career well, spending ample time in the Word.
But wisdom is needed. Because ‘busyness’ can twin with sin in the way they both cut off your connection to God, affect how you treat other people, and create numbness in your soul.
Leave Your Hurry Behind
As the New Year unfolds, let’s make “hurry,” “rushing,” and “distracted living” a thing of the past. But how?
John Mark Comer, author of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry says, “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
Hurry is the root problem underneath so many of the symptoms of this world. Satan knows exactly how to trap us and it often isn't what you think!
Satan doesn't show up with horns and a pitchfork. His battle plan has changed to accommodate the new stressors of this century. He’s cunning and far more intelligent than we give him credit for. For me, he shows up in the form of text messages as I read my Bible. Before I know it, I’m down the rabbit hole of telling my friends which planner I’m thinking of purchasing for the New Year.
He shows up when I try to parent my kids. For example, last weekend we were rushing to fix a home project. My hands were covered in slate gray stain as I rubbed stain off the boards that will be our future kitchen shelves. I’m stressed because school is about to be back in session and I must have the kitchen finished.
Then I think about the laundry, the school lunch account, and the litter box. I holler at my daughter to come see me, and I ask her to clean out the litter box. She leaves me to the staining, only to come back right when a large splinter slices through my hand. She says, “Where’s the scoop, I can’t find it.” I hastily retort curse words because of the pain in my hand and the pain of her needing my eyes instead of hers to find the scoop.
Hurry made me a poor example of my words.
Hurry sliced deep into my hand because I was too distracted from the present.
Carl Jung’s saying applied to my mess: Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil.
When life is moving too quickly, being present ensures that we can enjoy life fully. But what does being present mean? How exactly do we live in the moment? How do we eliminate hurry in this New Year? Here are 4 practical suggestions:
1. Clear Distractions
Rarely are we ever fully present in our lives. We continually get distracted. Our focus may be on one thing for a few moments, but suddenly another thought, request, or task comes up and we’re onto the next thing.
Identify your top distractions and develop a plan to counter them. This includes creating a set of values. Identify what is most important, and then create a plan to cut the useless things out for good.
For example, no technology after 5 p.m. Or, take cellphones and TVs out of bedrooms.
Go back to reading your actual Bible—there’s something about turning the page and holding it in your hand. And when in prayer or reading the Bible, keep a notebook and pen handy. Then when distracting thoughts pop into your head, you can write them down to handle another time.
Finally, why not establish ‘tech-free Sundays?’ Ensure there is absolutely no technology use; just take a break!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Jacoblund
2. Find Solitude
One of the most radical ways to un-hurry is getting away from it all.
Jesus often practiced solitude. He went away in order to be with God. It is the practice of intentional time with Jesus and making space for him to soothe our souls, that fills us up with his spirit.
3. Foster Simplicity
Minimalism has been trending for some time. It simply means to live with less. It can be the tool to break free from fear and worry—and find freedom. Freedom from overwhelm, materialism, and guilt. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.
Simplifying also opens the door to more of Jesus.
But we must first find the balance between doing and being. Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.” When we simplify, our lives can re-center around obeying God and doing his will.
1 John 2:17 says the world and its desires pass away but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” His will is for us to live richly and enjoy life abundantly. And the first step is to simplify.
As a family, we plan meals, meal prep, and review the schedule for the upcoming week. While it’s important to plan, it’s important not to over-schedule.
Try prioritizing these simple activities: Read a book. Go for a walk. Journal. Tend to indoor plants or create a garden.
Or, try yoga, spin class, Jazzercise, Zumba, Bodypump—any workout you simply enjoy.
Do something daily that doesn’t require a connection to the internet. And resolve to keep this rule: no tech or devices during all meals.
4. Protect Sabbath
Sabbath is a 24-hour time period of restful worship that several different doctrines observe. The Mennonite and Amish keep sabbath. Christians go to church on Sunday to worship and fellowship, but how many actually practice “Shabbat” when they get home?
The intent is to give your sabbath day over to live-giving activities that renew your soul and reconnect you with Jesus.
The Hebrew word Shabbat means:
- Cease all work.
- Rest our souls as a whole.
- Sleep, cease worrying, relax, and reflect on the week.
- Rest in God’s love and abide in him.
God Created Presence, Not Hurry
If there is to be any hurry in the New Year, hurry away from busy. Run from rushing. Run as fast as you can from the things that are choking your soul.
This is your year to begin the process of whittling away stuff, activities, and things that are building toxicity in your spirit. Love, joy, peace are at the heart of Jesus. The secret to getting there is presence in the moment.
To walk with Jesus is to flip the culture on its head. Choose this year to instead embrace a slow, unhurried pace.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Willian Justen de Vasconcellos
Heather Riggleman is an author, national speaker, former award-winning journalist and podcast co-host of the Moms Together Podcast. She calls Nebraska home with her three kids and a husband of 21 years. She believes Jazzercise, Jesus, and tacos can fix anything and not necessarily in that order! She is author of I Call Him By Name Bible Study, the Bold Truths Prayer Journal, Mama Needs a Time Out, and Let’s Talk About Prayer and a contributor to several books. Her work has been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, MOPS, Today's Christian Woman, and Focus On the Family. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com or on Facebook.