If you’ve hung around me for any length of time in the past few months, then you have heard me talk about the book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. Outside of scripture, there are not many books I choose to intentionally read year after year, but this is one of them. I have found it personally convicting as it lays out the myriad of ways our culture is in a desperate pursuit of hurry. We even glorify it and praise how busy we are on the daily.
BUT, when you stop and look at how Jesus lived his life and truly seek to follow after him, you realize that hurry and busyness were never things he was after. He even waited 2 days after hearing his friend Lazarus was sick before venturing to see him. See…not in a hurry…
“For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them.”
-John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People
I could go on and on, but that is why Comer wrote the book, so you should read it for yourself. Today, I want to simply share my “adapted” list from his book in which he shares 20 ways you can slowdown the overall pace of your life. I am including the 10 that most resonate with me, and hope that these encourage you to slow down and savor the present and find a bit more joy in today. After all, that is part of the mission of HartDesignCo!
Before I jump into the list, I know what you’re thinking:
“Andee, you don’t have kids at home and a marriage to cultivate, so you have the time to slow down.”
First off, you are absolutely correct. Second, each of us has our own things that take up our time and cause us to rush around with our hair on fire. Mine just look much different than yours. Thank you, Jesus, for diversity in his kingdom. Amen?! My POINT is that no matter what your life looks like and what responsibilities you have on your plate, we have to CHOOSE to be intentional about slowing down and enjoying the present. It’s a CHOICE in what you prioritize and value. We can let our schedules run us, or we can take control over our lives and make choices that embrace the beauty of every day.
“Corrie ten Boom once said that is the devil can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy. There’s truth in that. Both sin and busyness have the exact same effect - they cut off your connection to God, to other people, and even to your own soul.”
- John Mark Comer
So here is my list of the 10 things that Comer listed that resonate with me most:
Don’t text and drive. Aside from it being illegal, Comer makes a point that “we are so addicted to the dopamine hit that is our phones that we literally can’t just sit in our cars and listen to music…pray…or talk with our passengers.“
Show up 10 minutes early to an appointment, sans phone. Ten minutes is an easy to digest amount of time to fill with lots of productive activities, even while waiting for a meeting. You can talk to the person waiting beside you, read a book, pray….
Parent your phone; put it to bed before you and make it sleep in. Anyone else reach for their phone if they wake up in the middle of the night? Just me? (errr, yeah right) I have started the habit of reaching for my kindle to read (always puts me back to sleep) or if I have things on my mind, I pray over them, give it over to God, and ask Him to help me have peace for the moment and go back to sleep. Much better than perusing social media or the news and adding 5 more stress inducing thoughts to keep me awake. Am I right?!
Keep your phone off until after your morning quiet time. I am so guilty of this. Comer talks about some of his friends that use the mantra “Win the day”, meaning put your phone out of reach until you have spent time with God.
Set a time and a time limit for social media (or just get off it). On Sundays, my phone sends me a “screen time” report. My goal is for each week to be lower than the last. It’s actually embarrassing how many hours a day on average we spend on our phones.
Kill your TV. Speaking of embarrassing, did you know that the average American spends over 35 hours a week on TV? That’s almost a full time job! What’s interesting is I have found my favorite spot to sit in my house is the room without a TV. Now I should ban my phone from that room too.
Single-task. Guilt as charged! I am the ultimate multitasker. (Any other Enneagram 3’s out there?) This one is a work in progress. Multi-tasking is a myth anyways.
Walk slower. Comer puts it well: “…one of the best ways to slow down your overall pace of life is to literally slow down your body.”
Experiment with mindfulness and meditation. Simply focusing on your breathing and filling your mind with Scripture and truth is life-giving in and of itself.
Take a regular day alone for silence and solitude. Whether you live by yourself or not, I think it is just as important to get out of your daily routine regularly and “observe your life from the outside” in order to recenter on what matters most.
So there you have it, friends. I hope these ideas have challenged you and left you with a desire to be intentional in slowing down your own life and enjoying the day before you. Go grab Comer’s book and dive in!
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.
Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30
We urge you brothers and sisters…to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life. - Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:10-11
Here’s to winning your day!