The Unhurried Life

The Unhurried Life

Posted by Kevin Harris on January 13, 2020

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
  • Restlessness
  • 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?

Comment here.

Responses (11)

June henry -Singleton
June henry -Singleton Posted: January 13, 2020, 9:32 am

Set aside time to with family members especially my children to play board games or talk without someone having their phone in their hands txting or excusing themselves to a phone call

Kevin Harris
Kevin Harris Posted: January 13, 2020, 9:54 pm

It is amazing how hard this is to do when we are all so connected and our schedules are so full. It takes discipline to pull it off but God always shows up when the entire family is together and engaged with each other.

Gary Armour
Gary Armour Posted: January 13, 2020, 1:01 pm

I want to be more consistent with having quiet time with God first thing every morning. This is the single most important thing I find helps orient my thinking on Him for the day. Thank you for the suggestions for reading!

Kevin Harris
Kevin Harris Posted: January 13, 2020, 9:44 pm

I’m working on the same Gary. I’m also working on being kinder to myself when I miss a day. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the comment!

Gary Armour
Gary Armour Posted: January 13, 2020, 1:20 pm

June, I really support your idea of “setting aside time” for your family to do things like game playing together. When my kids were little, we didn’t have the electronic disruptions that are prevalent in most families today. Using this time together with phones and all electronics turned off is a must if we are to teach our children the importance of time together and with God. I hope the adults in the family abide by this as well. If mom or dad is being disrupted by phone calls during time with the family, it won’t work.

Thanks again for your response above.

ben sadler
ben sadler Posted: January 13, 2020, 2:26 pm

I’m reading Comer’s book right now too! I love it!

Kevin Harris
Kevin Harris Posted: January 13, 2020, 9:41 pm

Really good – I’ve been listening to his podcast and some interviews he has done. He has become one of my new favorites. What is on your must read list?

Eugene Rodney
Eugene Rodney Posted: January 13, 2020, 6:47 pm

Words of wisdom.
It is important to realize that it is hard to be creative when you are in a hurry. Reaction happens without any conscious effort. To pause and respond accordingly is a discipline that will reap tremendous rewards.

Kevin Harris
Kevin Harris Posted: January 13, 2020, 9:40 pm

So true Eugene – I’ve really been working on blocking out time for what Newport called Deep Work. It’s been a great shift … and nothing bad happens if I disconnect for two hours.

Joan Posted: January 15, 2020, 4:57 am

Stop and pray more often

Morgan Jones
Morgan Jones Posted: January 15, 2020, 10:48 am

Excellent post! Do we ever take time to calm down, slow down, and stop rushing? Not many do this these days. Very good reminder and great Tyann to Psalm 23!

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