We are immersed in a culture that places a premium value on efficiency and speed–after all, “Time is money.” But what we often fail to realize is the immense toll on our relationships that stems from our frenetic, hurried pace. Jesus’ life modeled for us a pace that was not dictated by hurry, where the value of relationships superseded the value of efficiency.
Making space for the inefficiency of relating deeply with God and people is a goal I am both continually striving after and continually struggling with. The following quotes have been–and continue to be–a source of challenge and encouragement in that process. So don’t rush through them and immediately jump to the next thing on your task list, but linger long enough to allow the truth of them to sink into your heart. Better yet, print them out and go find a quiet corner where you can be alone and unhurried with God as you read and consider how He would have you respond.
Dr. Richard Swenson, in his book The Overload Syndrome: Virtually all of our relationships are damaged by hurry. Many families are being starved to death by velocity. Our children lie wounded on the ground, run over by our high-speed good intentions. God, I suspect, doesn’t fit any better into our breakneck schedules than our children do. We walk fast, talk fast, eat fast, and then announce, “Sorry, I’ve got to run.”
Jesus never seemed in a hurry. Time urgency was not only absent from His life, it was conspicuously absent. Creating a margin—that space between our load and our limits—is perhaps one of the best ways to allow Christlike spontaneity and interruptibility back into our lives. Margin blunts hurry and allows us to focus on the divine appointments God sends our way. [pg 125 & 132]
Paul Miller, in his excellent book A Praying Life: Theoretically, Jesus could have concentrated on his Father while he healed people. He could have used his deity to protect himself from the slowness and inefficiency of life. When the bleeding woman interrupts him on the way to Jairus’s house, Jesus could have healed her without stopping to connect with her as a person (see Luke 8:40-48). But he doesn’t. When he rejects Satan’s temptation to turn the stone into bread, he rejects efficiency and chooses love (see Matthew 4:1-4).
Jesus’ example teaches us that prayer is about relationship. When he prays, he is not performing a duty; he is getting close to his Father. Any relationship, if it is going to grow, needs private space, time together without an agenda, where you can get to know each other. This creates an environment where closeness can happen, where we can begin to understand each other’s hearts.
You don’t create intimacy; you make room for it. This is true whether you are talking about your spouse, your friend, or God. You need space to be together. Efficiency, multitasking, and busyness all kill intimacy. In short, you can’t get to know God on the fly. [pg 46-47]
John Ortberg, in The Life You’ve Always Wanted: We must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives. This does not mean we will never be busy. Jesus often had much to do, but he never did it in a way that severed the life-giving connection between him and his Father. He never did it in a way that interfered with his ability to give love when love was called for. He observed a regular practice of withdrawing from activity for the sake of solitude and prayer. Jesus was often busy, but never hurried. Hurry is not just a disordered schedule. Hurry is a disordered heart.
The most serious sign of hurry sickness is a diminished capacity to love. Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love always takes time, and time is one thing hurried people don’t have.
It is because it kills love that hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life. Hurry lies behind much of the anger and frustration of modern life. Hurry prevents us from receiving love from the Father or giving it to his children. [pg 79, 81, 83]
May God grant us the grace to set aside our hurried hearts in order love well, like He does.