We live a life of hurry, of push, of keeping on, and run- not walk. We live in a culture of striving and busy and the next big thing. We live for the adventure next summer, the travel to every city, the next wave of activity. We go, go, go and we go some more. And all the while we wish there was more time to do more. I would argue that the majority of us, whether single, married, with children or not, feel a sense of fatigue and at the same time a sense of longing for something more.
I woke up the other morning, exhausted. Well, I always feel exhausted (if I’m honest). But that particular morning, it was deeper. It wasn’t just sleepiness or muscle ache or emotionally tired. It was like a deep clawing at my soul for rest. The disconnect from Steve, the low-grade irritation with my kids, the worry of the unknown. I was so tired of being tired. I was so tired of filling my tank with useless striving, running not walking, pushing to the limits, going and doing some more. Don’t get me wrong, I have a relatively simple life, but exhaustion and hurry and distraction doesn’t always look the same for everybody. For me, it’s multitasking, being on my phone, thinking about the future, trying to fit in all of the activities into the allotted 24 hours we all have to work with. BUT THAT’S NOT THE JESUS WAY. That is not the lifestyle I want. I want to live like Jesus did. He wasn’t busy, he wasn’t in hurry. He made the time, he sat and slept, and prayed and invested in the moment.
Adding time will not help. Extra hours in a 24 hour period is obviously impossible, but I think a lot of us believe that if we had extra hours, then somehow our life would be easier. It seems like we think that the problem is that we don’t have enough time. Well, I believe the opposite. We have enough time. We have always had 24 hours and always will. The idea that we need to fit it all in, to push ourselves to that 24-hour limit is what culture is cultivating in us. WE ARE NOT GOD. We have limitations. But the culture, the world we live in says do MORE. It’s telling us the more you do, the more you will be fulfilled, happy, successful, etc.
I tuned into a sermon by John Mark Comer of Bridgetown Church who was speaking on this topic recently and he spoke about how we as humanity live in the tension of our potential and of our limitations; That we are made in the image of God, full of potential, and yet at the same time we are human and we have limits. I was so convicted by this because for me, I go about my day in a very “I can do it all (by myself)” state, and really I CAN’T. But our culture is much more apt to spurring us (and me) in our God complex, and we are so willingly accepting of it.
So, on that deep exhausting morning, I walked. I took our two oldest to school and I placed our little guy, Samuel, in the stroller, and I walked. I cried out. I turned off the music on my phone and I deliberately called out to God. “What is happening? What is going on in my heart, why do I feel disconnected, why the angst within me? These were literal things spoken out loud on my walk. I felt the tears streaming down my cheek and I walked and I walked. And then God met me. He simply said, “Be present.” “Be present?” That’s it? That certainly wasn’t what I thought was the problem. I certainly thought it to be deeper or more spiritual. But it wasn’t and it isn’t.
The answer to life’s busyness is not needing more time, it is not needing the updated iPhone, it is not needing a vacation or a need to travel more. It’s JESUS. It’s choosing to live and adopt the lifestyle of Jesus. It’s to slow down, connect, rest, sleep, take a minute. It’s not just adding the “Christian to-do list” on top of our already busy life, but to ELIMINATE the busyness of life and then replace it with the abiding in Jesus. To receive the gift that is HIS yoke and HIS burden. It is a gift after all. He says watch me and work with me, rest. The Message translated Matthew 11:28-30 beautifully:
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
As Thoreau said, “live deliberately.” What you put your energy and time into the day in and day out will yield the results you’re getting. Are you tired? I am. I am exhausted ALL. THE. TIME. I am hurrying, pressing, compulsively doing things that don’t yield what I want my lifestyle to be. I want to be like Jesus. I want to stop and talk, I want to walk slower and power down my phone. I want to sleep more and look into my kids’ eyes even when they are talking about nonsense. I want intimacy and deep connection. I want to lean into the way of Jesus, the slower way, the free and lovely way. The way that says He is God and I am not. I want to be less like Martha and more like Mary. Less Martha, more Mary.
What can you cut out and eliminate? Maybe it’s Netflix, Facebook, work, multitasking. Let’s orient our whole life around the offering of the easy yoke. Let’s unload, simplify, throw stuff away, cut out an activity, turn off that device and replace it with what you value.
Write out what it is that takes your time. Write down everything; write the things you do from the moment you wake up until you go to bed. Write down what you're spending your time doing, then you get to decide if those things line up with what not only you say you value, but if they line up with the lifestyle of Jesus.
if you're looking for more specificity, more clarity or just a huge encouragement for your heart in how to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus, go listen to John Mark speak. Below is the link. It will ground you.
The link below will lead you to John Mark Comer's talk on living "the way" (and not in a hurry). It is the first audio block called "Gathering #1 (hurry)."