The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry cover

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry - Book Summary

How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World

Duration: 29:23
Release Date: November 7, 2023
Book Author: John Mark Comer
Categories: Religion & Spirituality, Mindfulness & Happiness
Duration: 29:23
Release Date: November 7, 2023
Book Author: John Mark Comer
Categories: Religion & Spirituality, Mindfulness & Happiness

In this episode of "20 Minute Books", we delve into "The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry" by Pastor John Mark Comer. This compelling piece vividly shares how the author's overly busy lifestyle led to the deterioration of his mental health, relationships, and faith connection. But, don't despair. Comer discovered solace by simply slowing down, cutting back on commitments, and embracing a life free from the shackles of hurry.

Revered author John Mark Comer, the pastor of Bridgetown Church in Portland, Oregon, is well-versed in biblical and theological studies, as reflected in his deep, insightful interpretations of the Bible. His prior works, including "My Name is Hope" and "Loveology," have peeled back the layers of complex issues like anxiety, depression, and marriage, offering readers fresh perspectives from a spiritual standpoint. He co-hosts the insightful podcast "This Cultural Moment," discussing the intricacies of maintaining spirituality amidst the fast-paced modern world.

"The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry" is a must-read for those who find themselves trapped in a ceaseless cycle of busyness, yet yearning for an escape. It offers Christian readers an enlightening, contemporary view on biblical teachings, and presents a thorough discussion on how the rapid development of technology has radically shaped our lives. Immerse yourself in this timely work and discover how to break free from the pressures of haste and find fulfillment in every facet of life.

Embark on a journey to rediscover tranquility: Unleash the power of slowing down.

A perpetual race against time, an unending toil against the clock — this sums up the lives of most of us. Even individuals as accomplished and wealthy as Bill Gates cannot master the reins of time. Isn't it astounding then, how much of this precious resource we squander, glued to our screens or frenziedly zipping from task to task without a pause for thought?

Imagine being in the shoes of Pastor John Mark Comer, a man whose life seemed the epitome of success. At the helm of a burgeoning church, Comer was a flurry of activity. However, the outward glamour belied his inner turmoil — an undercurrent of exhaustion and anxiety. Comer had an awakening — he was on a surefire path to greater success but at the cost of escalating misery.

A drastic lifestyle shift was in order. But where were the answers? To Comer's surprise, they were tucked away in the pages of the Bible all along.

By embodying Jesus's teachings in action, not just in preaching, Comer discovered the art of deceleration. He learned to appreciate the world around him, savoring each moment, leading to a richer, more rewarding existence. In our discussion, we will explore four straightforward yet transformative practices inspired by Comer's experience — these could just be the keys to your happiness too.

In our talk, you'll uncover

— the reasons behind our obsession with speed and constant activity,

— the unexpected freedom that comes from acknowledging our limitations, and

— the surprising truth that having more time doesn't equate to less busyness.

The dangerous allure of busyness: A cautionary tale from Pastor John Mark Comer's life.

Think about your life — a mosaic of countless moments, each holding the promise of novel experiences and profound insights. But what if you're too enmeshed in a whirlwind of chores to truly inhabit these fleeting moments?

John Mark Comer's life was the textbook definition of success. He presided over a thriving church in Portland, Oregon, which attracted a thousand fresh faces each year — a testament to his prowess as a pastor. He had a family to call his own, and his writings graced the pages of multiple books.

Yet, beneath this glittering veneer of accomplishments, Comer was dogged by relentless anxiety.

His typical week consisted of six workdays filled with up to six lectures per day. Interactions with his staff were strained, as he often lashed out at them, his pent-up stress seeping into his surroundings. Nights found him collapsed on his couch, mindlessly absorbed in Kung Fu movies. An unsettling sense of hollowness pervaded his life, making him feel like an outsider in his own existence.

The spark of realization ignited during a flight back home from London. He pondered, "Who am I becoming?" Comer realized that his spiritual mission was being overshadowed by the meteoric rise of his church. He felt more like the CEO of a vast enterprise, trapped in an endless loop of meetings, rather than a pastor deeply connected to his congregation.

Mustering all his courage, Comer resigned from his position, expressing his desire to cater to a small church nestled in Portland's inner city, closer to his heart's calling. His resignation was accepted, releasing him from his golden shackles.

The initial six months were fraught with overwhelming exhaustion as the cumulative fatigue from his past lifestyle took a toll on him. It felt as though he was in the grip of withdrawal symptoms, seeking liberation from the toxic drug of stress.

As time passed, he healed emotionally and spiritually. He reveled in life's simple pleasures — playing with his children, walking his dog, and engaging in therapy.

Onlookers might perceive his transition as a decline — from being a prominent figure of a sprawling megachurch to serving a small, obscure congregation in Portland. But Comer knew better. He understood that the true measure of success lay in spiritual and emotional well-being, and he was firmly on the path to attaining it.

The silent menace of relentless haste: How it undermines our emotional and spiritual health.

When you're asked about your day, how frequently do you catch yourself replying, "Oh, just busy as usual" or "Overwhelmed by stress"? We're so acclimatized to our hectic routines that we barely pause to acknowledge this ceaseless haste, let alone envision an alternative way of life.

This culture of relentless busyness is no respecter of social class or geography. Whether you're a high-flying CEO in Mumbai or a harried single parent in Indiana, the flurry of life doesn't spare anyone.

But, what's so perilous about being busy?

A closer look reveals that this constant activity exacts a heavy toll on our physical and emotional health. And for those walking a spiritual path, it poses a significant threat to our connection with the divine.

Renowned psychologist Carl Jung intriguingly stated, "Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil." While portraying hurry as an evil might seem far-fetched, the detrimental effects it wreaks are hard to ignore.

When we should be spending tranquil moments in contemplation and nurturing our faith, we're instead swiping through social media feeds or tackling a barrage of emails. Our Sundays, which should ideally be devoted to worship or quality time with loved ones, are instead reduced to a frenzied scramble between commitments.

At the heart of spirituality lies love. But love needs time and patience to flourish. Recollect those times when you're running late and hustling your family along — you're likely to be terse, irritable, and impatient. That's far from a loving demeanor.

On the contrary, slowness has been unfairly vilified. It's often used as a euphemism for dullness or a critique of slow service. Yet, adopting a slower pace can be our antidote, enabling us to rekindle our spiritual connection and cultivate a fulfilling existence.

It's worth noting that we're invited to walk — not sprint — with Jesus. Slowing down provides us with the precious time needed to savor our relationships, reflect on our actions, and resonate with our spiritual guides.

So, the next time you're sharing a hearty laugh with your family over breakfast and your phone buzzes with another "urgent" email, acknowledge this intrusion for what it is. Not just a disruption of your meal, but an interruption to your spiritual communion. Rest assured, it can wait.

The relentless march of technology: Its profound impact on our perception of time and our escalating busyness.

Transport your imagination to an era before the advent of clocks — when the position of the sun was our sole compass to discern the time.

This scenario underwent a significant transformation with the creation of mechanical clocks by monks eager for a reliable system to call devotees to prayer at specific times. The establishment of the first public clock tower in Cologne, Germany, in 1370 marked a pivotal turning point. Suddenly, anyone could ascertain the exact time by simply strolling across the church square.

The rhythms of the sun and moon gradually gave way to the ticking of this newly erected, artificial timekeeper.

The invention of the light bulb by Thomas Edison in 1879 further revolutionized our relationship with time. Homes could now be bathed in bright light long after sunset, significantly impacting our sleeping and resting patterns.

Before the light bulb era, Americans enjoyed an average of eleven hours of sleep. The advent of this lighting marvel whittled it down to a mere seven hours. No wonder we're grappling with chronic fatigue!

A myriad of technologies promise us the luxury of time. We can traverse hundreds of kilometers within an hour in our cars, unlike the time-consuming horseback travel of yesteryears. Chopping wood for a fire has been replaced by a simple flick on our smartphone screens to adjust the thermostat.

These innovations have indeed given us additional hours. Let's take the humble smartphone as an example. Its utility is undeniable — be it attending to emails during a bus commute, instantly sharing adorable baby photos with grandparents halfway across the globe, or navigating out of a labyrinthine cityscape by following a blue dot on the map.

But there's a caveat — smartphones can be voracious consumers of time. A study published in Business Insider reveals that an average iPhone user interacts with their device a staggering 2,617 times a day!

So, what's the solution? Unless one opts for a dramatic retreat into a self-sustaining, off-grid community, renouncing artificial light, clocks, or smartphones isn't an option.

While completely rejecting technology isn't the answer, it's crucial to approach its promises with a healthy dose of skepticism. Speed isn't synonymous with convenience. Occasionally losing our way isn't always a misfortune — aimless wandering can often gift us with the cherished time for introspection.

The untenable quest for omnipresence: The unreal expectation of being everywhere and doing everything is draining us.

Ever wished for a magical solution to your problems in the form of a few extra hours in a day? Let's entertain that thought — having an additional ten hours daily!

You're probably already visualizing the myriad activities you'd cram into that extra time. And that precisely underlines the crux of the issue. More time doesn't necessarily translate into less busyness. Instead, it simply offers more hours for us to be ceaselessly engaged.

Our society is trapped in the throes of "FOMO," or "fear of missing out." This prompts us to plunge into a frenzy of activities — watch every trending movie, listen to every popular podcast, and traverse every country. However, we must acknowledge our human limitations. We aren't superheroes endowed with boundless resources.

The remedy for our frantic lives doesn't lie in the pursuit of more time. It necessitates committing our finite time to prioritize and excel in activities that hold the greatest significance for us.

Consider our distinct personalities as an example. While some might be adept at weathering stressful situations, others may wilt under the strain of numerous deadlines. Some might revel in large social gatherings, whereas others might prefer a more introverted existence.

Our unique set of talents can both facilitate and restrict our activities. Practicing the violin with zealous dedication can undoubtedly lead to progress, but the pursuit of a professional musical career will elude those lacking an innate sense of pitch.

Our socioeconomic context also has a bearing on how we utilize our limited time. Those hailing from affluent backgrounds enjoy the privilege of dedicating time to quality education. However, those from less prosperous homes may be compelled to forfeit educational pursuits to contribute to their family income.

Reflecting on these constraints might seem pessimistic at first glance. But acknowledging the realities that define our capabilities can be truly liberating. It relieves the pressure of attempting to be everywhere and do everything, encouraging us to make mindful decisions about our life goals within our set boundaries. After all, time is a non-renewable resource, and optimizing its use is paramount.

Seeking spiritual tranquility amidst life's chaos: Emulating Jesus's unhurried lifestyle can lead to meaningful spiritual growth.

Perhaps you're familiar with the church ritual of reciting the Ten Commandments. But have you ever stopped to ponder about the daily life of Jesus?

The Bible isn't solely a repository of moral precepts. It also functions as a biography, albeit one that's often overlooked. It offers an intricate depiction of Jesus's everyday life—his actions, words, and the manner in which he practiced his faith.

We're prone to envision spiritual practices as lofty and abstract, but this perception is far from accurate. Spiritual practices are intrinsically grounded in reality. Long before mindfulness permeated popular culture, Jesus exemplified the essence of being present in the moment and fully engaged in life.

Biblical accounts reveal that Jesus never indulged in haste. Despite having a multitude of responsibilities, he savored his time. Consider the anecdote about Jairus who implores Jesus to cure his gravely ill daughter. While en route, Jesus encounters a woman suffering from a chronic ailment who seeks his aid. Jesus responds with complete presence and undivided attention, aiding her before resuming his journey to heal Jairus's daughter. Despite his demanding life, there's no room for hurry or stress in his schedule.

Apart from his unhurried lifestyle, Jesus also prioritized self-care and downtime between engagements. Yet he wasn't a recluse. He cherished opportunities to share elongated dinners with friends, delving into profound conversations over wine.

He was able to enjoy these leisurely meals because he wasn't entangled in the ceaseless pursuit of accumulating wealth or expanding his living quarters. Jesus embodied the essence of a simple life—consuming only what was essential and prioritizing what truly mattered.

One could argue that Jesus's unhurried lifestyle was feasible due to the absence of modern technological distractions, the lack of a structured nine-to-five job, or family responsibilities.

These arguments are undoubtedly valid. Our lives contrast starkly with Jesus's on multiple levels. Nonetheless, many of his practices remain relevant and can be seamlessly incorporated into our frantic modern existence. The ensuing narrative will explore four easy-to-adopt practices inspired by Jesus's lifestyle. These can profoundly recalibrate your relationship with time, enabling you to focus on what truly deserves your attention.

Carving out daily pockets of silence and solitude amidst the cacophony of life.

We exist in an era where silence is a rarity. With the advent of social media, our moments of solitude are perpetually infiltrated by virtual intrusions.

There was a time when instances of quiet introspection naturally punctuated our daily routines. Be it waiting in a queue or gazing out of a bus window, these interludes offered opportunities to hear our innermost thoughts. However, these moments of solitude—often dismissed as boredom—have all but vanished, supplanted by the irresistible lure of checking our smartphone notifications.

But what's the fall-out of this incessant technological engagement?

A spike in anxiety levels, a constant state of exhaustion, and an irritable disposition are all manifestations of our technology-dependent lifestyle. Moreover, we risk becoming estranged from our own selves, living reactively to the incessant buzz from our pockets.

So, how can we extricate ourselves from this over-stimulated existence? The life of Jesus provides a valuable blueprint. His deep-seated regard for silence and solitude was a cornerstone of his life and spiritual practice.

Regardless of his demanding schedule and the desperate pleas for miracles, Jesus made it a point to carve out solitary moments. His day often commenced in the early hours—alone and at peace before the world awakened. Once, on a particularly hectic day, he retreated to a mountain and spent the entire night in prayer. His commitment to solitude was unyielding, even if it required extreme measures.

The need for silence and solitude isn't unique to Jesus—we too require these moments to lead emotionally balanced lives.

To achieve this, one needn't scale a mountain. Simply rise an hour earlier than the rest of your household and relish a quiet cup of coffee. Alternatively, alight one subway stop ahead of your usual one and relish the sensory delights of a leisurely walk to work.

Bid farewell to your headphones and leave your podcasts for later.

Allow yourself to experience the range of emotions and thoughts that surge to the surface. Don't shy away from confronting unsettling or unsavory thoughts—let them exist.

Persist with this practice and you'll soon discover that solitude isn't synonymous with loneliness. On the contrary, it fosters a deeper connection with our inner selves and the world around us.

Prioritize a weekly day of rest and worship: an antidote to life's frenzied pace.

Rewind a few decades and you'd find that Sundays in America were characterized by a serene tranquility. With all shops and businesses shuttered, there were no errands or chores demanding attention.

But that didn't imply idleness. Instead, the day could be devoted to connecting with family and friends, exploring a local park, attending church, or indulging in a leisurely nap. You could even whip up a meal.

This notion of dedicating one day a week to rest is deeply ingrained in several major religions. Even God, in all His omnipotence, took a day off after six days of creation.

Sadly, the onslaught of secular and commercial interests has eroded this precious time of rest.

Today, you can shop around the clock—be it for a sudden urge for a tracksuit at a 24-hour retail store or the myriad online stores available at a click.

The work scenario mirrors this reality. Despite the hard-won victories of our ancestors for a five-day work week, we now lug our offices in our pockets. As a result, work invades every aspect of our lives. It's no surprise then that burnout has become a pervasive issue—we've lost our ability to rest.

To counter this, we must resurrect the concept of Sabbath—a day dedicated to rest and worship.

The interpretation of this day needn't adhere to rigid doctrines. Your version of rest might involve a beach stroll or a nap bathed in sunlight. It could even involve assisting your daughter in constructing that Lego pirate ship she's been eagerly awaiting.

Similarly, worship needn't be confined to the precincts of a church. Any activity that allows you to relish the world around you can be a form of worship. This could be sharing a bottle of wine with friends in a garden or immersing yourself in the overwhelming resonance of a concert.

Just as in music, the interludes are integral in our lives. In any musical composition, pauses accentuate the preceding notes and lend emphasis to the following melodies. Life isn't any different—if we sprint through the week without pause, we forfeit the chance to appreciate our experiences and rejuvenate ourselves for the journey ahead.

Embrace the art of minimal consumption and generous sharing for a more fulfilling life.

How many pairs of shoes have taken up residence in your closet? And of these, how many have been worn recently?

If these questions stir feelings of guilt, remember—it isn't your fault. We are caught in the throes of a modern consumerist culture, which has progressively shifted from satisfying basic needs to fulfilling limitless desires over the past century. This transition has been fueled by industrialization's ability to mass-produce goods and a powerful advertising industry convincing us that fulfillment equates to consumption.

Things weren't always this way. A century ago, 90 percent of Americans were farmers who grew their food, bartered goods with neighbors, and rarely used money. Fast forward to today, only 2 percent of Americans are engaged in agriculture. Our reliance on money for everything has ensnared us in a vicious cycle of overconsumption—incessantly purchasing items we don't genuinely need.

Moreover, this spiraling consumerism doesn't merely dent our wallets—it eats into our precious time.

Therefore, if we aspire to extricate hurry from our lives, we need to tame our craving for unnecessary possessions.

Jesus advocated that the secret to a fulfilling life lay in having only what we need and sharing the excess.

Now, the thought of purging your house and confining your wardrobe to a single pair of jeans might be unsettling. But there are less drastic methods to simplify our lives and lessen our dependence on material goods.

Before succumbing to the allure of your credit card, pause and ponder, "What is the real cost of this item?" How many work hours equate to its price tag? Is it a necessity, or is it a redundant addition to your existing possessions? Instead of succumbing to impulsive purchases, consider the item's value relative to its cost.

Alongside consuming less, sharing our existing possessions fosters a less materialistic lifestyle. Participating in car-sharing schemes with neighbors, for instance, not only slashes costs (and saves time) but also fosters stronger community ties.

One of the gravest misconceptions we've been fed is that money is a prerequisite for enjoyment. However, numerous simple—and free—joys abound if we take the time to savor them. Relish your morning coffee, embark on a bike ride, or reconnect with an old friend. An enjoyable trip to the park doesn't necessitate fancy exercise gear. Stomping through autumn leaves in our worn-out sneakers can be just as rewarding.

Rediscover tranquility by embracing inefficiency and slowing down.

Picture this: you're fidgeting in a supermarket queue, your annoyance escalating as the person in front impatiently fumbles for their bank card. Who has time for such delays?

The answer, quite frankly, is you. Our relentless pursuit of speed and efficiency has blurred our perspective—often, we find ourselves hurriedly sprinting through tasks just for the sake of it.

But what if we intentionally chose to slow down and sprinkle some inefficiency into our lives?

Imagine driving home from work strictly adhering to the speed limit. Instead of hurriedly overtaking other drivers, let others merge in front of you, stop to allow pedestrians to cross. Transform your stressful commute into a peaceful sanctuary—a space to unwind, organize your thoughts, and reflect on your day.

This mission to slow down can be significantly simplified by radically limiting our communication. Sure, smartphones were designed to offer convenience and enhance efficiency—but do we really need to respond to emails while perched on the toilet?

An effective way to counter this is to downgrade from a smartphone to a “dumb phone," eschewing email and social media capabilities and retaining only essential calls and messages. Rather than responding to emails in real-time, allocate a fixed hour daily to tend to your inbox.

Reducing your dependency on your phone paves the way for focused single-tasking. Instead of juggling five tasks simultaneously and accomplishing none, dedicate your attention to one task at a time.

Standing in the supermarket queue, instead of thumbing through texts, strike up a conversation with the cashier. Take the time to pack your groceries thoughtfully for easy unpacking later. Experience the satisfaction of dedicating your complete focus to a single task and subsequently transitioning to the next one with the assurance of a task well done.

Intentional living and focused attention not only bless you with additional time but, more significantly, impart peace of mind.

Final takeaway

We're all victims of a relentless rush—an unending race against time. This ceaseless hurry pervades our lives, transforming every moment into a constant countdown. Long work hours, insufficient sleep, and perpetual stress have become our unfortunate norm, leaving us perpetually fatigued. The price we pay for this hurried lifestyle is steep—our relationships deteriorate, and we lose the ability to appreciate the present fully. However, the solution isn't to look for the latest mindfulness app or trendy wellness tip. Instead, we can find inspiration and guidance in the age-old spiritual wisdom of the Bible. Jesus, much before mindfulness became a mainstream concept, had mastered the art of living in the moment. He understood the importance of self-care, valued meaningful interactions, and was mindful of his consumption. By studying and emulating these practices, we can pave the way towards a more tranquil and fulfilled life.

Similar Books

Emotional Intelligence
The Gap and the Gain
The Power of Now
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?
The Body Keeps the Score
Man’s Search for Meaning
Can’t Hurt Me