September 6, 2016
I have been blessed to live in a number of different geographical regions of our country: rural coal mining areas in western Pennsylvania, a growing D.C. suburb, the tranquil Finger Lakes area of upstate New York, bustling northern New Jersey just outside New York City, rural North Carolina, inner city Newark, California beaches and now in a relaxing Philadelphia suburb. I’ve also been blessed to travel to the Isles of Scotland, to war-torn Iraq, and to small primitive villages in Kenya and Uganda. As you can imagine, the pace of life varies dramatically in each of these areas. However, one piece of advice or counsel I find myself sharing with patients and friends is, “I have never seen anyone simplify their life and regret it.”
For example, at a business conference last week, I actually saw a man walking down the hallway with two cell phones—one in each ear. Maybe you find yourself texting several people at once, talking to two or three people at a time on the phone, while Googling something on your computer. We demand instant results. Faster internet. Faster food. Faster answers. Faster relaxation. We want it—and we want it now! SO, HURRY!
We juggle careers, work, marriage, family responsibilities, social obligations, taking care of the house, hobbies, holidays, church and volunteer activities. As we constantly hurry to fit in more, we are teaching our children to do the same. School kids fall in bed exhausted after homework, sports, dance, family obligations, instrument practice and a plethora of other activities. Oftentimes, they have no time to relax and play, no time to be a KID! Then we wonder why they engage in adult-like behaviors at age 11 or 12!
Why do we speed up the merry-go-round? Perhaps it’s insecurity or the fear of missing something, of falling behind or being diminished in others’ eyes. Sometimes, our pride surfaces as we want our will to be done. We stress because someone else’s plan might control us. So, Satan gives us an answer: “Hurry, or you will miss out!” One of the biggest enemies to our spiritual maturity is hurry. We are so busy, distracted and preoccupied that we settle for something less than the authentic Christian life. In our fast-paced culture, there is an epidemic of “Hurry Sickness.”
If you feel you are always running behind and wish your day could be 30 hours long, you are suffering from hurry sickness. The results? Constant stress. Frustration. Fatigue. Strained relationships. Feelings of incompetence. Mixed-up priorities. And most importantly—neglecting time with God. That neglect can rob you of the rest and peace He wants to give you. It’s not a lack of adrenaline. It’s hurry sickness, along with too much caffeine, which exacerbates it.
In today’s scripture, God calls us to cease striving and know that He is God. In other words, stop trying so hard to do it all in your time and your own way. Stop fighting and struggling. Remember that He is God—and you are not. We need to spend quiet time with Him. We need to remember that He is in control. He wants us to put Him first and to rest in Him—to lean on Him for help. We need to let Him guide us in order to find balance for our lives.
Today, when you are in a hurry, STOP! Ask yourself, “Why?” Then ask, “Is this situation really life-and-death?” “Have I even examined why I am doing this task?” Focus on Him and His plan, not your own. Only then will you be able to step off the treadmill of hurry and onto the path of Christ-likeness and experience His peace. Whether you hurry up or you slow down, it’s your decision, so choose well!
Father, I am tired of being overly busy. I have so much going on. I know I am neglecting some of the most important things. At the top of that list is my time with You. Please forgive me. Help me to get my life and time in balance. Help me to remember to focus on You and to depend on Your strength. Please heal me of this hurry sickness. Help me tolerate the discomfort that is the engine for my hurry and instead turn to You for comfort, rest, and answers. I pray in the name of the most patient One, Jesus Christ. And all God’s children say AMEN!
“Cease striving and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10