If you’ve been tracking new book releases in both the Christian and the secular space, you may have noticed a theme . . . a bevy of titles focusing on distraction and hurry. Our inability to disconnect from email, social media, and our devices is leading to wandering minds and meaningless relationships.
In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport describes the difference between deep work (hard to replicate, distraction-free concentration) and shallow work (easily replicated tasks performed while distracted). He challenges readers who want to maximize productivity to reorganize their days by creating time blocks free of email and social media. In his book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, John Mark Comer quotes Dallas Willard, “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
Often, when someone tells me about an unanswered prayer, I’ll say something like, “God is never in a hurry” . . . yet if you examined my calendar, you’d find back-to-back meetings squeezed in between coffees, workouts, and sporting events with my boys. If God is not in a hurry, then why do I feel like I always am?
If you’re anything like me, you might suffer from hurry sickness. Another author, Ruth Haley Barton, suggests ten signs to be on the lookout for . . .
- Irritability or hypersensitivity
- Compulsive overworking
- Emotional numbness
- Escapist behaviors
- Disconnected from identity and calling
- Not able to attend to human needs
- Hoarding energy
- Slippage in our spiritual practices
Thinking about this idea, I realized that one of the things mentors have the opportunity to model for their mentees is the unhurried life.
Mentors are no less busy or scheduled, but they choose to create space for three hours of meeting time every month (plus a few additional hours of prep time). They have their wives’ support to open their homes for these meetings. Mentors don’t solve problems as if their mentees were projects; instead, they ask probing questions and reflect on their own stories to help mentees make their own decisions. They commit to invest in the spiritual growth of their groups, and in the health of their marriages. Mentors pray slowly, with intention.
Psalm 23 is a beautiful reminder and reflection of the unhurried life (italics mine) . . .
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
Today, when we are more connected, yet lonelier, than any other time in history, disconnecting from distraction and slowing down our lives is more important than ever. And there’s no better group to lead the way and carry that message than the older, wiser mentors who are living the unhurried life.
Question: What’s one thing you can do in 2020 to move closer to living the unhurried life?