By Leo Hellyer
The ten-year anniversary of Christian Living Magazine – what a blessing!
The best organizations in general, and ministries especially, do not have a successful, mostly smooth and completely life-changing, adventurous journey with leaders who suffer from the “Hurry Virus.” Thank you, Jesus, that Sandy Jones and her team of believers sought after Your timing and not theirs in growing the soul-saving ministry of Christian Living Magazine.
I think that it might be a valid statement to say that, “More people, right now, suffer from the ‘hurry virus’ than suffered from the ‘coronavirus’.”
A pastor friend of mine spoke about a book that I believe all of us should have in our Real Man’s Toolbox. This book is “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” by John Mark Comer. How many of us are pulled in multiple directions every day? How many of us are frustrated that we never get everything accomplished that we set out to do? How many of us complain that there just aren’t enough hours in a day to be successful in completing our to-do list?
The first Scripture in this book sets the stage in a very frank and to-the-point manner.
Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
In his book, Comer unpacks the fact that today’s psychologists and other mental health professionals are now talking about an epidemic of the modern world: “hurry sickness.” He points out that the mental health community says that “hurry sickness” is a behavior pattern characterized by continual rushing and anxiousness. It is also a malaise in which a person feels chronically short of time, and so tends to perform every task faster, and gets flustered when encountering any kind of delay. A cardiologist defines “hurry sickness” as a continuous struggle and unremitting attempts to accomplish or achieve more and more things, or participate in more and more events, in less and less time.
Does anyone’s name in particular come to mind when thinking about these traits? Now the hard question: “Do you see YOU in any of these behaviors?”
To help answer this question accurately and truthfully, Comer lays out ten symptoms of “hurry sickness.” Take an inventory of your life and honestly determine which symptoms reflect you. The symptoms of “hurry sickness” are: irritability, hypersensitivity, restlessness, workaholism (or just nonstop activity), emotional numbness, out-of-order priorities, lack of care for your body, escapist behaviors, slippage of spiritual disciplines, and isolation.
In this book, Comer asks us to reject any guilt or shame we may feel. He says that it is not helpful, rarely from God.
There are four primary practices that are essential to “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.” If you will consistently and boldly place silence and solitude into your life, observe the Sabbath (regardless what day you choose), bring simplicity into your daily schedule, and very literally slow down in every aspect of your existence, then maybe you will believe and see that life is good in this world.
With the vast majority of people around us living their lives deeply hurried, it is very difficult for us to attempt to eliminate hurry from our lives. We need to change our focus; we need to change our foundation. We need to slow down and listen for God’s still, small voice. We need to simplify our daily schedules. We don’t have to do everything that is available. It is much better to do a few things with excellence, instead of doing many things in a mediocre manner. We need to observe the Sabbath. The word Sabbath literally means “to stop.” We need to take a day to stop what we are doing, rest, delight in God and His creation, and refresh ourselves, so we can serve Him valiantly for another week. We must have silence and solitude to hear God and marvel in His love and provision for us.
Living a life of hurrying is debilitating, distracting, and destructive. Living a life of hurrying is counter to God’s will for our lives. Living a life of hurrying can keep us from ministering to those people God brings across our path.
Please understand, as I went through this book and as I prepared this column, a lot of the words I saw, and the challenges I felt, were directed right at me. I assure you, I will be changing the way I live my life as a result of examining this book. As a Real Christian Man, I have been challenged to evaluate my own life and determine how I can do a better job of “Ruthlessly Eliminating Hurry” from my life.
I ask each of you to pick up a copy of this book. Take a deep dive into these challenging concepts. Please realize that this is definitely not a sprint; it is without a doubt a marathon – and possibly even an Ironman Triathlon. Are you up to the challenge? Come along for the adventure, see what kind of a man God will mold you into once you successfully “Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry” in your life.
Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a Treasure Valley church and has been married to his wife Norma for 50 years. Leo and Norma served together on the Boise FamilyLife Volunteer Ministry Team for 20 years. Leo has served with Boise Rescue Mission Ministries for 22 years, currently at the River of Life Rescue Mission. He is President and Chief Firearms Instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC, and is a Civilian Taser Instructor. If you have any questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, he may be reached at [email protected] or (208) 240-5544.