getting to the heart of the matter

A friend asked me about unhurried living the other day. Every time someone asks me to give advice or talk about unhurried living, I chuckle inside at God’s ironic sense of humor in choosing me as a spokesperson for this topic.

I am also very grateful, because each time I write or think about unhurried living, it reminds me how important – and necessary – these truths are for my life. Living in an unhurried way is a constant struggle for me. Not only can I easily over-fill my schedule, but I also regularly over-pressure my heart.

“Hurry is not just a disordered schedule.
Hurry is a disordered heart.”

–John Ortberg

Down deep, there are reasons why we hurry. Empty places in our heart cause us to feel that a busy, full, hurried life will make us more valuable, more important, or more useful to others. We hope that our frantic pace will gain us a sense of belonging, acceptance, or goodness in the eyes of those around us. Or the continual busyness ensures that we never have time to sit still and feel the weight of our loneliness, our fears, or our pain.

I believe that we will never truly experience the peace of an unhurried life if we do not face the deeper heart issues that drive our frenetic pace. 

Which of these may cause you to hurry?

  • HABIT | Rushing is your M.O.
  • WORTH | When you are in a constant state of urgency, you feel valuable.
  • GUILT | You feel bad when you slow down or if you are not doing something.
  • FEAR | You are afraid of being still and facing your disappointments.
  • PRESSURE | You feel the need to perform to earn love and prove yourself.
  • COMPETITION | You sense if you slow down, others will move ahead of you.
  • CONTROL | You think that you have to do everything or life will fall apart.
  • FOMO | You fear you will miss opportunities by slowing down.
  • You’re truly BUSY and need some help.

I relate to a number of the issues on this list. In the past, pride was clearly the culprit. I also have the guilt voice in my head from some of my upbringing influences. Recently, I have also seen FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) push me to always want to do more.

We all have reasons that compel us. If you can recognize and name some of what causes you to hurry, you will have taken the first step to overcoming that driver. As you face the truth – without shame or self-contempt – you will also be moving towards healing. You will find new strength and power to make life-changing choices that unhurry, not just your schedule, but also your heart.

This is not a quick, easy fix of course! We can not hurry growth like that. However, taking time for this reflection may help you take the most important steps on your journey to unhurried living. 

What causes you to hurry?

What’s love got to do with it?

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We are in the “love month” – a perfect opportunity to talk about how love and unhurried living intersect. What does love have to do with unhurried living? E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

Love has everything to do with unhurried living.

Our ability to love others well requires unhurried living. We demonstrate love through thoughtful intentionality, quality time, patience, focused attention, engaged listening, perseverance, and undistracted presence… all of which require a lack of hurry.

I do not love well when I hurry.

Some of the things I try to do to unhurry my time with others:

  • remember people are valuable
  • put my phone facedown and lock eyes with the person
  • ignore the to-do list in my head
  • breathe deeply and be present
  • remember all those times when someone took time to listen to me
  • stop multi-tasking or invite the person (child) to help
  • relax and enjoy the time together
  • If I am truly unavailable temporarily because of a deadline or lack of emotional bandwidth, ask to schedule a time as soon as possible
  • leave margin in my day for unexpected interruptions
  • trust that God is ultimately in control of what I do in a day
  • repeatedly read over this list

Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible.

Living unhurried has all kinds of benefits for our health, our reflective thought processes, our decision-making, and our productivity. It only makes sense that unhurried living can also greatly benefit those we love. 

How can you unhurry your love for others this month?

Just drink your coffee.

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I am an avid coffee lover. I first appreciated the aroma of coffee as a child. Each morning when my parents’ percolator bubbled as I entered the kitchen, it told me everything was well with the world.

I have progressively adjusted my taste – beginning in college with a milky, sugary-sweet, beverage; I have “matured” to being a fan of the strong, pure-black, nothing-added variety.

I especially relish the warmth of a full steamy mug in my hands, especially when it is cold… but even when it’s hot outside – a tip I learned living in tropical Costa Rica. The “Ticos” taught me a hot drink warming up your inside makes you feel cooler outside. 🙂 My many years in Latin America conditioned me to be able to drink coffee at all times of the day – caffeine rarely affects me.

I collect coffee mugs from all over the world. Even my blog boasts a coffee theme.

However, as much as I love my coffee…
I lose my enjoyment of my coffee when I hurry.

Maybe you prefer tea or coke over coffee. The principle is the same. We lose our enjoyment of many things when we are not fully engaged, when we are distracted, and when we are not focused. Conversations are forgotten, food becomes tasteless and people feel less valued.

Victoria Sweet, MD understands how hurry works. She wisely says:

“You don’t have to have your coffee and read the paper
and talk to someone and text. Just drink your coffee.”

Slow down. Take care of you. Take time to replenish.

Today, just drink your coffee.

Or try one of these:

  • listen to music or play your instrument
  • go on a walk
  • work in a garden
  • write a card or letter by hand or journal
  • be creative – paint, draw, craft, build something
  • go to a spa, get a massage, exercise

How would doing just one thing at a time increase your enjoyment of that experience today?

Do you have hurry sickness?

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Have you got hurry sickness?

That has become a regular question in my home whenever anyone is impatient or irritated with another’s slowness. Sometimes I am asking myself. That is a rhetorical question! Some times I am asking my husband or someone else.

The symptoms have become all too familiar to us. We are more self-aware than we were years or even months ago. I’ve been told that self-awareness is a good thing, although sometimes I wish I was not so knowledgeable of my flaws and weaknesses.

Hurry is characterized by
continual rushing and hustle;
an overwhelming and continual sense of urgency and anxiousness.

As I have shared the message of unhurried living with others, some are quick to recognize and admit their own hurry sickness. Some are resistant to the idea, but become more convinced the more they think about it. Some people are VERY sick while others are less affected.

THINK ABOUT IT

Do you…?

  • work extra hours or finish work at home
  • hear from people: “I don’t want to bother you because I know how busy you are”
  • get flustered with delays and interruptions
  • often exceed the speed limit or weave to find the fastest lane
  • skip vacations
  • feel like you are always in the slowest line

WATCH THIS:   Mice Queue Video (1:37)

No matter the gravity of the sickness, the side effects are serious, so the question is worth asking… Do you have hurry sickness?

In Search of Unhurried Living

465e0c04434ee9f0fe6f21d01fde706e slow downI could easily describe myself as a recovering “hurry-aholic”.

I have a model Type A personality and a very full life that could give me plenty of excuses for living at a consistently frenetic pace.

Over the years, however, I have been learning to s…l…o…w… d…o…w…n.

It hasn’t been easy, and I still struggle at times, but all-in-all I am generally much more relaxed and at peace with my life and others. (Maybe one of the reasons you haven’t heard from me here in a long while.)

I have found that many others – maybe you? – also struggle with “hurry sickness”. So I thought I might revive my writing and share some of the things I have learned to counter our hurried life.

Some of what I plan to share comes from a “31 Days of Unhurried Living” campaign I directed last Spring. I will also add in new thoughts and content from books I will be reading. In the next few months, I am going to take three hours each Monday morning to read –  my new personal application of Unhurried Living.

So… if hurry has ever been an issue for you, or if your outer life is slow, but you would like to unhurry your heart and soul, please join with me! It could make a difference.