Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hurry Sickness

Wow. I'm reading a book for Sunday School called, "The Life You've Always Wanted" by John Ortberg. It is such a great book. And I'm reading a chapter right now called "An Unhurried Life". It hits home for me so well and so I thought that I would share with you as I read and discover for myself.

There's a quote at the beginning of the chapter that says, "People nowadays take time far more seriously than eternity." -Thomas Kelly

The chapter talks about a disease: Hurry Sickness. Of course it's not a real disease, but I believe that it can affect you physically as well as spiritually and emotionally. I know this from experience, and it is a "disease" that will make you depressed, discouraged, and exhausted.
The symptoms of this disease are:

-Constantly speeding up daily activities. Throughout the day, I find myself trying to read faster, talk faster, try to make others talk faster so I can get on with what I was doing, rushing from one thing to the next. And my next confession is a very sad one. I would even feel guilty when I was doing nothing for five minutes. If I would just sit down and do nothing, or even sit down to talk to my family I would feel guilty because I was not doing what I thought needed to be done!

-Multi-Tasking. I do this all the time. I listen to music and do homework at the same time. I talk on the phone and only half-listen to whoever I'm on the phone with because I'm doing something else (checking emails, getting on websites, talking to about five other people on IM, etc.). And I've found that when I do that, it effects other areas of my life. I can't concentrate in school because I'm thinking about what I need to do. I can't concentrate in church or youth group or Bible Study because I'm thinking about what I'm doing after church or youth group or I'm thinking about what to say next in Bible Study. I cannot just think about one thing. I cannot just do one thing. It's not healthy. It effects so much of my life negatively. I don't learn anything because I'm thinking about 10 other things while I'm listening to my pastor or while I'm listening to my youth leaders or while I'm trying to think about what to say next at Bible Study or when I'm trying to learn from my teachers and instead I'm thinking about how much I have to do.

-Clutter. This defines me so much. I keep everything. I can't get rid of childhood memories. I have my own drawer full of things that I can't get rid of because they mean something to me. I basically have my own corner of the attic with things that I can't get rid of because I can't let go of anything from my childhood. My closet is full of things that I'll never use, but I can't get rid of them. I've been like this all of my life. The other day I went through my drawer and actually got rid of some things and condensed some things. Another thing is my lists of books I'd like to read. When I don't get to read them, I feel guilty. I feel guilty all the time because I feel that if I'm not doing something I'm wasting precious time. But did I ever think that maybe it is healthy to take a break during the day instead of going through the whole day, rushing through everything and then not getting enough sleep at night?

-Superficiality. I have traded precious wisdom for information. At the beginning of the month I started reading Proverbs because I want to have wisdom about things in life. I don't just want information about things, I want to have wisdom to percieve those things.

-An inability to love. Love and hurry do not go together. Love takes time. People who hurry and rush through everything don't take the time to love others - through their actions, words, and conversations. I have found this so evident in my hurried life. I hurry through everything, then feel guilty afterwards that I didn't take the time to love that stranger by smiling at them, or that I didn't take the time to love my family by spending time with them, or that I didn't take the time to love my friends by giving them advice when they need it and talking to them about things they're struggling with. But you know what? Time is precious. Not precious in the way that I-need-to-hurry-because-time-is-precious-and-it's-ticking-away. But in this way: Time is precious, and therefore I should spend every second wisely, by loving others, by learning something new every day, by spending time with God without rushing through my Bible reading or prayers, by enjoying God's Creation by taking a walk, by doing my best in school, by spending time with my family, by talking with my friends, by smiling at strangers, by lending a helping hand to those in need.

-Sunset Fatigue. This refers to the end of the day when you may be stressed out and exhausted by the hurried day you just had, so you give your family and friends the "left-overs" of love. Some ways to define "sunset fatigue" would be this: [these come from the book]
-You find yourself rushing even when there's no reason to;
-There is an underlying tension that causes sharp words or sibling quarrels;
-You set up mock races that are really about your own need to get through it [he gave the example of having his kids race to see who could get their baths the fastest so it would get done faster];
-You sense a loss of gratitude and wonder;
-You indulge in self-destructive escapes from fatigue: abusing alcohol, watching too much TV, etc.

Jesus never hurried. He was busy, yes, but he never hurried. He took the time to show the people around Him His love. He went away to be quiet before His Father - God. So why do we hurry and rush through our days? We can't move faster than the One we are following.

"The press of busyness is like a charm. Its power swells... it reaches out seeking always to lay hold of ever-younger victims so that childhood and youth are scarcely allowed the quiet and the retirement in which the Eternal may unfold a divine growth." -Kierkegaard

As the book says, "The truth is, as much as we complain about it, we are drawn to hurry. It makes us feel important. It keeps the adrenaline pumping. It means we don't have to look too closely at the heart or life. It keeps us from feeling our loneliness." How true! How relevant in my life!

A good thing to do at the end of the day to help you with your hurry sickness, and to help you even if you don't neccessarily struggle with this, is to review your day with God. Pastor Bill has said before that the day doesn't begin in the morning, it begins in the evening [from Genesis 1:5, "The evening and the morning were the first day".]

[The following comes from the book, but I've paraphrased it and added a little to it.]
1. Be still before God [Psalm 46:10]. Quiet your mind.
2. Acknowledge Jesus' presence and invite Him to teach you.
3. Re-play the events of your day, as painful or shameful as they may be. Pray as you are lead for forgivness, more love for others, more courage, more patience, etc.
4. If you are led to pray for the people you have interacted with that day [even if they are complete strangers], do so.
5. End with a prayer of thanksgiving to God for His mercy and love. Ask Him to refresh you as you sleep.

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