You know those weeks where life just kind of hands it to you? Yeah. It’s been one of those.
I don’t have to go into all the details, and really, there are multiple blog posts that I could write and that could be tied to counseling (and perhaps my need for it–funny since I’m married to Cornerstone’s Founder and Director; you’d think my life would be problem-free. What? No?). But, after this week, I’m going to focus in on two of my problems that seem to go together quite well: being busy and being hurried.
I don’t know about you, but I’m finding that it’s so easy to be busy these days. And, of course, “busy” is something that society seems to equate with success. In other words, it’s not bad to be busy. It’s good. It says you’re somebody. It says you mean something to someone or something because you have something to accomplish or somewhere to be, and, wouldn’t you know it, it better be quick because I’m SO busy I have somewhere else to be in 20 minutes. Enter, then, hurry. Sound familiar?
I used to pride myself on being busy. In fact, just recently I was reflecting on how, while in High School, my best friend and I used to compare our Day Timers throughout the week to see who had the most stuff to do. (Nerdy, right?) So for me, being busy and hurrying to get everything done is engrained. It’s had 17 years of growth in my life. But I’m beginning to believe that this way of doing things isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Instead, I’m finding that busy and hurry behind the wheel of my life means I miss out on the important stuff. I start to forget who I am and what really makes me tick and instead get focused on just getting stuff done, and doing it quickly. I suppose this could be described as going on auto-pilot: just accomplish, get the kids to practice/swim lessons/etc; don’t engage emotionally. Just get. it. done. fast.
But here’s the rub: in the land of busy and hurry I completely miss what my real mission in life is. See, busy and hurry have a sneaky way of making you think that that’s all life is about: being busy and doing whatever “busy” is quickly. I mean, how many of us are comfortable with extra time on our hands? With quiet? With having to wait? With no smartphone to entertain us?
But what happens if/when we make a concerted effort to dethrone busy and hurry from our life?
I’ve been reading a great book lately called The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg. One of his chapters is actually titled An Unhurried Life. In it, he writes:
“Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. Hurry can destroy our souls. Hurry can keep us from living well.’
He then goes on to write,
“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.”
The past few weeks I’ve been working on being less busy and being less hurried. I’ve been working on slowing down. Let me tell you, it’s hard. It means I’ve had to say no. It means I’ve had to admit to others I’ve overcommitted and have had to cancel plans. It means I’ve had to admit to myself I can’t do it all and that in trying to do so, I’ve had to admit that I’ve given those I love the most (my kids, my hubby, close friends) my leftovers (which isn’t much).
“So great,” you say. “You have a case of a hurried life just like the rest of us. You’re busy, but you’re not special. What’s the point?”
The point is, I’d like to challenge YOU to drastically reduce hurry and busy from your life. But watch out: there can beside effects, some of which aren’t pretty.
When you start to slow down, you could find yourself facing some painful realizations. For example, fractured relationships are common collateral damage when our lives run away busy and hurried. The other thing that can be pretty scary when you stop letting busy and hurry run your life is that you might have to actually look at your life as a whole, leaving you with the (sometimes overwhelming) task of deciding if you like what you see. It can mean reevaluating dreams and goals, hopes and aspirations. Sometimes it’s a painful realization of just how far you are from the person you’d like to be, which is where a great counselor can be literally invaluable to you as you try to get things back on the right track.
I definitely don’t have the busy, hurried life kicked. Like I said earlier, it’s a hard habit to break. But even steps in the right direction will open you up to so much you don’t even know you’re missing. Deeper relationships with those you love; a greater care/concern for those you don’t, just to name a few. I challenge you to consider a few things you could do differently in your life to slow things down a bit and really LIVE your life instead of just skimming it. If the results scare you, give us a call. After all, we only get one shot at this life. We should be living it fully and loving the best we can. Are you in?
If you’re inspired by this post to slow things down a bit, we’d love to hear what you learn or experience in the process! Comments are always welcome!