Last week I shared my top takeaways from the book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. And it was so hard to narrow it down to just a few takeaways; this book is packed with what the bible says about hurry in our lives!
Originally, I wrote the blog sharing my biggest takeaways and then practical ways that I have been implementing the tools he shares in the book. But by the time I was finished writing it, the blog was SOOO long that I decided to break it into two. So here is part 2…
There is A LOT in The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry! It’s one of those books that you need to re-read multiple times to get the most out of it! And what I’ve heard from talking with other people who’ve read his book, they all seem to agree that we should strive to actually apply it to our lives and make changes! It’s all great information, but it is useless if we don’t do anything with it!
Toward the end of the book, John Mark Comer starts to list off tons of practical ways that you can begin to eliminate hurry. It definitely gets you thinking, but there is no way you can possibly start it all at once. That would be so overwhelming.
I suggest you choose one of the four practices to learn and then once you feel ready add in another, while just simply being mindful of the other 3 practices.
Give yourself grace. The more I practice these, the more I notice just how hard it is to actually eliminate hurry. We’ll get there, but I’m learning it’s a slow process (of course).
So, here’s what I’ve been focusing on with each one of the practices:
Simply realizing that God has given me an abundance. I can be generous, steward what I have well, and simplify and clean out in other areas. Maybe I don’t need to walk through the stores as often or just for fun, rather buy intentionally and good quality. Look for American-made products and businesses and support them!
Silence and Solitude
Our minds aren’t taught to dwell and meditate anymore, to really think. And it’s sad how short our attention span is. He shares this fascinating and shocking stat in The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry:
“Cue a terrifying trend: Our attention span is dropping with each passing year. In 2000, before the digital revolution, it was twelve seconds, so it’s not exactly like we had a lot of wiggle room. But since then, it’s dropped to eight seconds.
To put things in perspective, a goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds.
Yes. That’s right. We’re losing, to goldfish.”
Silence and solitude offer that space for our minds to dwell, think, ponder and problem solve with God and without noise.
For years, I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to spend time with the Lord every morning. It’s slow and still. Everything comes to a stop just for a bit.
In silence and solitude, I could express the issue of my heart; the things that weigh on me, the tears and heartaches; lift up others and pray for them; grow in his presences; wrestle with the hard truths of the Bible and the hardship of the world that are just too big to grasp; meditate on who God is, His greatness, His glory, His power, strength, meekness, kindness, graciousness, His wisdom. I can sit and breathe in the Holy Spirit… it’s my source of life.
And in the busyness of a full season, that was the first thing to go. How heartbreaking. I cut myself off from my life source and while I would still spend an hour of resting, it was spent mindlessly scrolling on my phone (which is spiritually and emotionally exhausting), instead of sitting in the rest of God with the power of silence and solitude.
Everyone needs this. Whether it be for 10 minutes or an hour, this is the moment of my day that is truly life-giving.
Sabbath is the practice I’ve been focusing on the most… I have quite a few thoughts, so hang tight.
I didn’t realize how important it was to take a sabbath. Our world has forgotten it.
John Mark Comer explains how the Lord blessed this day and said let it be fruitful and multiply. The Lord blessed a day and then told the day to multiply. He then shares about this study a doctor conducted on some of the happiest people on earth. “And near the top of the list was a group of Christians, called Seventh-Day Adventist, who are known for taking the sabbath. And the doctor noted that they lived 10 years longer than the average American!” Woah. The Lord literally multiples your days when you observe the sabbath!
The Difference Between the Sabbath & A Day Off
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry is pretty clear when it comes to the Sabbath, that it is not just a day off. There is quite a big difference from a day off and a sabbath
For years, I thought of the sabbath as just not working… so anything that directly makes you income is off-limits. But the line gets pretty blurred there. I would plan my week, respond to emails, do laundry, bake and cook dinner, grocery shop… by the end of the day, I was exhausted. But I didn’t work.
But John Mark Comer teaches that the sabbath is a day to stop. The Lord has commanded that you take a day to stop and rest. One day of your week to breathe, to be content, to spend time with the Lord, to delight and enjoy everything He has blessed you with.
What My Sabbath Looks Like
So, the new rule that I’ve been working hard to focus on, is observing the sabbath as a day to stop. Everything on the list above needs to be done by Saturday before sunset (and if it’s not, that’s okay, I can pick it up again Monday morning).
And then Saturday night, I put my phone away and we light a candle, the house is clean. We enjoy a family dinner together, play cards, catch each other up on our week, laugh, enjoy each other’s company, go to bed early. And Sunday is slow. I go for a sunrise walk, slow cups of coffee, we go to church, come back and take a long nap, read, and do anything that we delight in.
Because here’s what God’s taught me the last few years of my life. The Lord has commanded that we rest, stop and dwell on Him and His goodness. And we will sabbath whether in discipline or delight.
I look back at when I was my absolute sickest. When I couldn’t get off the couch, I would pray and spend time with the Lord and then the rest of the day was spent resting because I physically couldn’t do anything else. My world came to a crashing halt. It was a mandatory sabbath. And let me tell you, It’s not the most enjoyable.
And I look back at it and think that was both the hardest season of my life and yet the most life-giving season.
Had I known the Lord’s commandment earlier, maybe I wouldn’t have burnt out completely. I would have much rather delighted and enjoyed those slow days home, than been completely miserable.
I’m finding that as nice as it sounds to take a day to stop, this practice is not easy.
First, it’s hard to be busy all week and then come to a sudden stop on Saturday evening.
And it’s really hard to commit to not doing anything that doesn’t bring me joy and completely clearing 24 hours! Because my mind sees that as open time and a LOT of it!
Do you know what I could do with an extra 24 hours in my week, completely open?!
I find that I start to wrestle with it and almost tell myself that I enjoy certain activities. (I do enjoy editing and I also really enjoy having that checked off my list, but honestly, I can’t say that I really delight in it. And it can wait until Monday and that’s okay.)
Also, if I’m being really honest, I get bored on the sabbath. I’m so used to always having something to do or check or scroll, that my mind isn’t used to just being. And I think that’s okay. It’s fun to be a little bored.
BUT come Sunday afternoon, 24 hours without my phone, or checking my email; 24 hours of quality time with those I love; a day of rest, reading, worshiping God… my love bank is full. My mind is rested.
The sabbath puts a hard line in the sand and it closed last week and it opens this week. It centers me. It shows me that the Lord has given us quite a few hours in a day (there are enough hours in a day), and we can choose how we fill them.
My Mondays are slow and focused and my week starts off strong. And I find it gives me something to anticipate and get excited about for the rest of my week.
This is the practice of slowing down our speed of life.
This is the hardest cycle to break, physically moving slower. Our world is so go go go. We actually love moving fast and we’re addicted to it, that some of his suggestions feel crazy. These are the first few practices for slowing from John Mark Comer mentioned in The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry:
“1. Drive the Speed Limit:
This is a revolutionary idea, never thought of before in a book! If the sign indicates twenty-five miles per hour, drive twenty-five miles per hour! Not thirty miles per hour. Not thirty-three (what can I get away with?)
Note: Not below the speed limit — that’s just annoying. We’ll all hate you.
But right on the money.
Sometimes I do silly things like this just to detox my brain from its addiction to dopamine and the instant gratification of a life of speed. In this case, literally.
2. Get into the slow lane:
Just rock it with Grandma in the Oldsmobile.”
He goes on to share a bunch more like choosing to stand in the longest line of the grocery store, coming to a full stop at stop signs (ugh, this one kills me), giving a designated time slot in your week to emails, dumbing down your phone (delete social media, email, notifications, delete the news app… I actually did this about 2-3 months before I read his book and I have LOVED it!)
Get creative with it.
It’s silly but we move so fast, that I find myself antsy to move on and hurry through, but why? Honestly, what’s the rush? Isn’t life happening now, right under my nose, what the rush to get to the next moment?
My mom (who also just read The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry) and I were talking the other day, I was telling her about how I went to the weekly young adults’ group at my church. I parked and arrived on time (actually 15 minutes early), there was no rush at all!
I found myself almost speed walking into the church when I met up with a couple of my friends and the group leaders in the parking lot and we said hi, hugged, and were just catching up.
My group leader had just had surgery on his leg. It was his first day in a boot and he was finally able to move around on crutches a little bit.
As we all started to head into the church together, I ended up walking behind him. And I could feel everything in me start to go a little crazy at how slow we were moving. But why?
I caught myself and just thought this is insane. This poor man can barely move. He’s just hobbling around and balancing his crutch on the line where the grass meets the sidewalk.
And I’m here and early. What’s the rush just to go sit inside? Then what…
Point of the story… slowing is hard. And speed sneaks into our lives all the time. It’s good to just simply be aware of it.
I’m finding I actually really enjoy moving slow after I mentally make the switch of how valuable this moment is and decide I don’t want to miss it because I was rushing to get to the next moment.
Okay, I’m wrapping it up! But I just want to share this last thought…
The title of the book really piqued my interest… The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry! It made me excited about the possibility of actually living a slow, unhurried, quiet life. I think too often we crave that lifestyle, and yet it always feels just out of reach. But ruthlessly eliminating sounds like you’re brutally pulling it out of your life. You’re ripping it off like a band-aid.
And I think that’s the thing. You have to be so fed up with always being in a hurry, never resting, stopping, or even having enough time to simply think, before you become willing to make a change. I’ve found that to be true with eating healthy. People only will give up eating poorly, once the bad starts to out way the good. Once the pain hits that level of uncomfortable, that it wasn’t worth any of the ‘good’, then people start to make changes. That’s when we decided to eat clean; that’s when we decide to ruthlessly eliminate hurry.
But give yourself grace, friend, I’m learning that this is a daily battle. It gets hard. But stop and breathe and have self-compassion for simply being aware of hurry in your life. Most people don’t even make it to that point. We have hurry so interwind in our life, that it will take time and lots of practice to get anywhere near being slow. But trust that it is life-giving and worthwhile to fight for it.
I’m cheering for you!