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

📚 The 2022 – 23 Ren­o­varé Book Club

This year’s nine-month, soul-shap­ing jour­ney fea­tures four books, old and new, prayer­ful­ly curat­ed by Ren­o­varé. Now under­way and there’s still time to join.

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