How does one eliminate hurry? I recently came upon this famous quote by American philosopher and writer, Dallas Willard, and had to stop and take notice.
You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.
– Dallas Albert Willard
Here is a snippet of my life and why I asked that question. During my lunchtime at work, I got a call from my brother, and it sounded like Mom, a nonagenarian, needed a doctor’s visit. Since I was already using my lunchtime to go to my own doctor’s appointment, I had to hurry to make it on time and suggested a video-visit for Mom.
But my brother did not have the apps needed and had to get back to work himself. So, instead of going home after work, I hurried to Mom’s to set up a video-visit with the doctor. Because there is only a 15-minute wait, I hurried through the electronic check-in process, but a health system representative called me before I could finish. It was great not to have to wait long but then had to hurry up to finish the check-in process, find and install the video app to see the doctor, while the representative was on the phone and the doctor was waiting.
Once the visit was over, I hurried to the pharmacy before they closed, then I hurried back to Mom’s to be sure she got her first dose of meds before bed. With Mom settled, I hurried home to make a late dinner for my family. Thank goodness for leftovers. Whew!
Avoid hurry next time
Be intentional with your time. Caregivers visit your loved one for the sake of your relationship, not only for completing some practical tasks. The laundry can wait. Savor the moments because they may be precious and few.
As practical tasks go, preparing ahead of time goes a long way, especially if you know the history. In our video visit scenario, we could have avoided hurry and stress by tag-teaming. My brother could have handled the video visit while I picked up the prescription. Once I finally settled down, I called my brother and asked him to download the two apps he will need to do this in the future.
Less Hurry = Less Stress
This is just one example that might help other caregivers, parents with kiddos still at home, or anyone that might need medical attention for something minor. Our health system uses MyChart. Yours might use another platform. Find out what they use and download it so that you will be ready. When the time comes, there will be much less anxiety trying to figure out or explain to someone else what to do.
Click here to visit the Confessions of a Caregiver page for more on my caregiver life.
Ask for help
It’s ok to divvy-up the duties. We know my mom and sister’s history, so my brother and I both have the needed apps on our phones ahead of time. We can care for my mom and sister together much easier.
While I was hurrying around town into the evening, my husband cared for my sister by serving her dinner and preparing her meds. That left time for me to reheat leftovers when I got home, and we still had dinner together.
Make dinner simple when life isn’t. Hey, even Cheerios can be dinner when you’re eating them at eight o’clock at night.
When I needed help finding the video app and completing the electronic check-in process’s last steps, having a representative on the line was super convenient. The health system provided the resource to help me, and they can help you too.
Do not be afraid to ask questions when the resources are available.
The detrimental habit of hurry
Earlier I shared a typical example of hurry in my family life. Now I’ll share a glimpse of how hurry is affecting my private life.
I have a morning routine, or should I say I had a morning routine. I often sleep through most of it now and rush through what time is left before I start getting ready for work. A devotional plays while I am doing my hair, and there is no time for journaling anymore. All those thoughts and prayers flow in and out of my head without getting worked out in written words.
My hurried morning routine leaves only minutes alone in prayer, and I find myself listening to my bible reading plan while packing a bag-lunch for work. I am no longer touching words with my eyes, the pages with my fingertips, or hearing His whispers in my heart. Not like I used to. I do not know how this happened without me noticing, but I don’t like it.
Over time, what used to be energizing, cherished, and protected has become mechanical and unthinking. The frequently interrupted sleep patterns, pandemic ponderings, and typical caregiver woes have culminated in overall fatigue, and it is getting harder to shake off.
Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil.
Friends, don’t let your morning routine become more rote than refreshing. The enemy likes to keep us off our game, but do not let him get away with it. Refresh your morning routine because it was never meant to be, well, routine. By the way, it doesn’t have to happen in the morning. It can be anytime when you can be fully present in the moment.
This, “Let’s see how much I can fit into this block of time” kind of thinking is detrimental to your spiritual growth. Ask God to help you identify what makes you feel like hurrying through something and give you ways to cope with those feelings.
Time to slow down with God
Rushing to get through a morning quiet time with God only checks the good Christian habit box. But the focus has shifted from God to the to-do list. Wrong!
Only solitude and silence, extensively practiced at wisely allotted intervals, can take the world off my back and forever release me from both hurry and loneliness. They open the door to productive engagement with other disciplines. I begin to find myself increasingly before God in such a way that he can safely fill me with himself.
– Christian Herald
Work with God, don’t try to run ahead. Nothing of value is absorbed when we hurry through it. There is no way to fully realize the intended benefits of time alone with God because the Fruit of the Spirit has no fertile ground with which to work. We cannot hurry God, my friends. Take time to till the soil of your soul with His word, and cultivate it with worship. Click here to read more in my Fruit of the Spirit collection.
Scripture advises us to spend time alone with God (Matthew 6:6), and He used Jesus’ example as our instruction (Mark 1:36, Luke 5:16). I do not think you will find a better one, so why not slow down today?
A good ruthlessness
I am so glad I came across Dallas Willard’s quote, and it is worth repeating here as we close, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” I hope these words bless you too. Turning this quote over and over in my mind is refining my focus and forcing me to examine how I spend my time. As a result, I am taking up the worthy pursuit of looking for ways to eliminate hurry.
It is okay to be ruthless in this area of life. We are not promised tomorrow (Proverbs 27:1), so why not start today?
Here’s a quick review to get us going:
- Please pay attention to what makes you hurry and, as much as possible, prepare ahead of time to avoid it.
- Savor the moments.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Realize that hurry is detrimental to your spiritual growth, and ask God to help you identify what makes you feel like hurrying and give you ways to cope with those feelings.
- Guard your time alone with God. You will need His help to slow down.
- Examine how you spend your time and eliminate the unnecessary.
Hurry at work or in life often leads to mistakes, double work, missed moments, and mediocre existence. Does anyone have time for that? It is often more beneficial and efficient to take one’s time in doing anything. I’m not saying don’t hurry when the baby is about to run into the street, but we can slow down most things. In doing so, not only will we eliminate hurry, but frustration and anxiety along with it. Good riddance to all three!
- How often do you try to cram more into life than the hours of every day can hold?
- How much of that is unnecessary?
- How does it make you feel?
- What one thing can you eliminate today to help slow down the hurry?
Sidebar: After diving into this topic a bit, I’d like to read John Mark Comer’s book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World – October 29, 2019. If you’ve already read it, let me know what you think.
Dallas Albert Willard (September 4, 1935 – May 8, 2013) was an American philosopher also known for his writings on Christian spiritual formation. en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Dallas_Willard
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