When asked what one needs to do in order to be spiritually healthy, Dallas Willard responded, Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”

It is easy to test the validity of these words. Simply think of the last time you were in a rush, and try to remember if the level of concern you had for those around you was greater than the level of concern for yourself. 

For me, hurry is a battle I fight every morning. Every morning I wake up knowing that my day goes better if I don’t just frantically run about the moment I hop out of bed. Yet, every day the urge to immediately reach for my phone, or jump on my laptop, or mentally run through anxiety-inducing scenarios of the coming day charge at me. C.S. Lewis speaks to this temptation in Mere Christianity.

It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.

For me, the way to counter this temptation to rush is to begin most days with a meandering routine. I carve out a block of time for silence, reading, and prayerfully thinking through my day over a warm cup of coffee; not specifically in that order, nor necessarily utilizing all of those items. The common denominator is that I cannot hurry through this block of time. Depending on the season of life or situation one may be in, this sort of routine may seem impossible or somewhat of a luxury. However, barring extenuating circumstances, I believe all of us can schedule into our week a few blocks of time where our only aim is to be with God. We may need to shift some things around, but if we’re intent on finding the time, we will. At one of his lectures, Dallas suggested doing this once a week for an extended period, as opposed to every day. 

I have come to find that God’s sustenance cannot be rushed. He won’t be rushed. I don’t think he meets me at my frantic pace. He is slow. He invites me to step into the slow with him. I’d hate to make this formulaic, but the days I give more of my time to God, I tend to hurry less through the rest of my day. What I’ve found is that I carry the quiet of the morning with me through the day. I usually end up accomplishing just as much, if not more, as I would have had I spent the time in the morning to get directly to work. 

May I use somewhat of a personal example from when my daughter was born? While we were still at the hospital, a lactation consultant visited my wife, Nathalie, as our daughter was having a hard time latching on. What the consultant said in so many words was that the feeding could not be hurried. Before my wife was to breastfeed our baby, she’d need to spend skin-to-skin” time with her. She would be ready to receive sustenance only after spending an ample amount of time with her mother. Sustenance for baby Ella needed to follow a period of simply being with her mother, receiving from Nathalie a mysterious love that she did not yet comprehend, but which was indispensable to her development. This prepared Ella for what her mother had to offer, but it also created the conditions in which Nathalie provided her with what she needed. 

Sustenance cannot be hurried. I’m finding that the quantity of time I spend with God is instrumental in making space for me to receive the good he has to offer. 

Text First Published July 2016