Confession number one from a Presbyterian pastor: I suffer from a severe form of hurry sickness.
Confession number two: My self-imposed busyness is my greatest form of laziness.
Busyness is laziness? Yes.
For me, I stay busy as a way to avoid doing the hard, important things that take sustained work.
God architected me to be fully human by doing unhurried things like resting, watching the stars, playing with my children, gazing upon the beauty of my wife, or simply singing a song to God without distractions.
But slowing down to exert energy toward significant things is really hard work.
And I already feel like the frayed heel of a sock most of the time.
Desires, demands and expectations surround and bite me like a swarm of vampire mosquitoes.
Most moments I’m feeling frazzled and lack the emotional energy for lift-off.
Do you suffer from hurry sickness too?
Here are three remedies to reset and slow down your restless soul.
- First, remember that a chicken always needs a head.
O.K. Graphic image—sorry.
The old farmers used to watch a chicken run around like crazy, after its head was cut off.
The body disconnected from the head, initially looks busy and hurried, but it finally runs out of steam, staggers, stops, and strikes the ground with a flump.
Have you ever felt like you were “running around like a chicken with its head cut off?”
Could “headlessness” be why we run around so crazy-busy?
Am I following Christ (he is called the head of his body and bride, the church) and his humanizing direction, or my own fast-paced, selfish pursuits?
- Do I need to stay busy to maintain control over everything and everybody?
Wait a minute? If Christ is the head and I am his body, then I don’t actually have ultimate control.
I can rest!
- Do I need to stay busy because I want things to turn out perfectly?
Wait a minute. If Christ is the head, he is directing all of my decisions to his decreed aims. Even my mistakes factor into his perfect plan.
I can rest!
- Do I need to stay busy posturing and posting for my prestige?
Wait a minute, If Christ is my head and I am his body and bride, I no longer have to push myself forward to be noticed in social gatherings or on social media for attention in order to get a “like” so that I momentarily feel like I matter.
I can rest!
The second remedy for hurry sickness is a schedule.
Sounds boring and hard?
Remember, busyness is often a deceptive form of laziness.
A schedule defends you from busyness and acts like a net that catches butterflies.
Those pressing desires, demands and expectations flitting around in your head can be caught and ordered so that the beautiful, significant things get top priority.
A schedule also acts like scaffold. You stand on your planning to create one area of life at a time.
Like most truths, when finally embraced it seems crazy that I didn’t recognize it years ago.
I used to believe that free spontaneity always trumped planning and scheduling.
But when you chase two spontaneous rabbits at a time (like checking your email while eating at the table with your child) you catch neither. The quality of the email AND being fully present with your child cannot both occur.
My poor planning is often ruled by my immediate desire for selfish pleasures.
Planning good things that serve Jesus, my family, my church and my soul prepares me for lasting pleasures.
It really is true, the second remedy for hurry sickness is a schedule.
The third remedy for hurry sickness is holiness.
Why would I say that?
Holiness is living life in an upside-down, totally “other” kind of way.
Slow down and ask yourself the following questions I recently found written by a pastor named Tim Chester.
Use them like I did to diagnose your level of unholy hurry sickness…and be honest.
“Do you regularly work thirty minutes a day longer than your contracted hours?”
“Do you check work e-mails and phone messages at home?”
“Has anyone ever said to you, ‘I didn’t want to trouble you because I know how busy you are’?”
“Do your family or friends complain about not getting time with you?”
“If tomorrow evening were unexpectedly freed up, would you use it to do work or a household chore?”
“Do you often feel tired during the day or do you find your neck and shoulders aching?”
“Do you often exceed the speed limit while driving?”
“Do you make use of any flexible working arrangements offered by your employers?”
“Do you pray with your children regularly?”
“Do you have enough time to pray?”
“Do you have a hobby in which you are actively involved?”
“Do you eat together as a family or household at least once a day?”
Holiness is not state into which we drift.
In other words, we need to connect our lives into Christ’s life and live differently as we surrender to his direction.
Instead of engaging our fingers and thumbs on endless screens that strangle our souls, what if we disengaged more from the digital world and reengaged our thoughts and hearts in deeper thinking concerning God’s kingdom and purposes?
What if we engaged our hands in sacrificial serving?
Would you follow me and get active and busy about engaging in these three new rhythms of rest?
The hurry sickness just might slow down enough for us to feel truly human again.
Metro North Church