I don't know about you, but I often feel like I'm constantly rushing. Even when I don't necessarily have a reason to be rushed, I make it feel as though I do. As if something isn't important unless I hurry. Or, many times, I am genuinely in a rush, and I am scrambling to make sure I have everything I need before I go out the door, only to realize I forgot something, that I need to do an extra errand, and that the plans I had two days from now have changed and require me to take time to accomodate them today! AH!
Other times, I'm feeling on top of the world, which for me, usually means that I'm feeling productive and a step ahead of everything I need to do. BUT THEN, I get an email, a call, or a text, and suddenly all of my plans are thwarted! I find myself 5 steps behind on something that I need to be 3 steps ahead on, while all of my other projects or focuses become ticking time bombs on the "back burner". Oy!
Am I the only one here?
I wonder where the idea came from that being in a hurry or being busy means having purpose, being successful, or having value. Perhaps that's not something that is necessarily thought of specifically, but that's the sense I get... and I think sometimes give. You know what I mean? We'll ask someone how they're doing... as we walk by. Each person responds with "Good!", and if any other response is given, it's kind of awkward?
I was talking with a friend last week and she was saying how she had some friends who had a custom of sitting and thinking for 5 minutes prior to leaving to go anywhere. It helped them remember if they forgot anything. I thought that sounded BRILLIANT! Imagine how much less stressed you'd feel getting all ready to go somewhere, but just before walking out the door, you sit in your favorite chair for a moment, collect yourself, maybe take a few deep breaths, and go over what you need for the day. I think I would feel a lot less stressed if I did that everytime I was about to leave.
One of my favorite authors is Dallas Willard. He talks a lot about slowing down and about being intentional. He consistently emphasizes "ruthlessly eliminating hurry from your life".
It sounds great right? Wouldn't it be awesome to not be rushing around everday?
...But if I'm not rushed, if I'm not busy... am I doing enough? Am I giving all that I can? Am I doing my part in my marriage, my job, and my friendships?
I don't know about you, but when I sit and "do nothing", I often feel guilty. I feel like I should be doing more. Or I feel like my time was wasted because I could have been doing something more productive.
I don't think there's necessarily a right or wrong to this. But I do think there's something communicated about where we spend our time.
Where time and energy are spent, value is communicated. If we are so rushed that we do not have time to spend with an individual at a grocery store asking for help or talking about a children's hunger program, with our parent(s) when they call, or with a co-worker having a hard time... then are we showing that we value those people? When people approach you or call you, do they start off with, "I know you're busy, but...". I've had people say that to me, I've said it to others many times. But I wonder if it would be better to ask for a moment without assuming someone is too busy to offer that time. It's probably not helpful to place a certain identity on someone that isn't true or beneficial to them. And maybe it would be better to be grateful when someone expects to have some time with us, rather than annoyed that we will be slowed down. I wish I could say I've never felt annoyed in those moments!
One of Dallas Willard's mentees, John Ortberg says, "Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love always takes time, and time is one thing hurried people don't have."
So simple, and so true! I don't want busyness to prevent me from loving on others, or myself. My family and friends deserve time and intentionality. I need to take care of myself to be able to offer this. Stress causes all sorts of problems in our body, but I don't want to be a vitcim of it. I think we can choose to be busy or not. I think we can create moments where we pause before we go out the door, where we stop for those asking our attention, and where we communicate love with our time.
Health extends so far beyond food and exercise. A healthy life is not one filled with stress and rushing. It's filled with peace, love, and intentionality. That's what I believe we're made for.
I've been trying to make my way to the beach more often, to take a break, to breath in the clean air, and to appreciate what God has created. I want to find more ways to be intentional, to be aware of my rushing so that I can slow down and pause.
I hope this has been encouraging to you, and that you'll find your own way to beat the rush and find the peace and space to love with your time!