Tuesday, March 14, 2017

...From Strength to Strength..." Hurry...and Slow Down

John Ortberg asked Dallas Willard what was the one thing Willard could recommend that would bring new energy to Ortberg’s spiritual life. Ortberg says that Willard’s reply was ‘shocking in its simplicity.’ Dallas Willard looked him in the eye and said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life, for hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our world today.”

Dallas Willard Center for Spiritual Formation  November 20, 2013

Coming out of a refreshing Sabbath, it can often feel a bit shocking to step back into the pace of life as we know it.  Hurry and busyness have become a norm that affects our souls, our thinking and our communication with one another.   We have become a society infected with “Hurry Sickness.”

It’s no stretch to assume we all are conscious of the ever increasing speed of technology and travel.  In addition, have you noticed any straining in order to catch what is being said today?  This is especially relevant in the entertainment industry.   A quick Google search confirmed that the average optimal speed of speech is now 180 words per minute, while most of us speak and comprehend comfortably at approximately 125 words per minute (in English).
Eugene Peterson, editor of The Message has this to say: “ In all language silence is as important as sound.  But more often than not we are merely impatient with the silence… Why do we talk so much?  Why do we talk so fast?  Hurry is a form of violence practiced on time.  But time is sacred.  The purpose of language is not to murder silence but to enter it, cautiously and reverently.”

Ahhh, but how do we thwart the effects of hurry sickness?  How do we preserve the delightful refreshing of the Sabbath as we necessarily enter back into life?  How do we stand against a culture that is spinning out of control?

We do it with intentional slowing.  We do it by practicing the present moment in real time.  We do it by deliberately slowing down our speech.  We do it by listening.  And we do it by yielding to the directive of Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”

Other very simple practices that can thwart the deadly effects of this contemporary illness are:
  • Re-establish the family dinner hour (at least a couple times each week) and linger longer in the company of those you love.
  • Oh, and how about simply chewing your food slower?
  • Purposefully drive in the slower lane (because you’ve made the effort to allow enough time).
  • Breathe deeply, look, and really listen when someone is speaking to you.
  • Smile and engage with the cashier as you check out at the grocery store.
  • Examine your schedule and add some buffer time between meetings.  Even 10 extra minutes will have a cumulative effect.

This past week I was directed to Biola University’s “Center For Christianity Culture & the Arts” and was totally blessed by their series:  The Lent Project. http://ccca.biola.edu/lent/2017/

As you contemplate this modern dilemma, please take time to watch the introductory presentation from that website.  It will definitely cause you to ponder the value of slowing.

Introduction to the 2017 Lent Project 

Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”  
Resources for Going Deeper:
​​"Spiritual Disciplines Handbook" by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
"Answering God" by Eugene Peterson
"Soul Keeping: Caring For The Most Important Part of You" by John Ortberg

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