I remember the morning, and mornings just like it. Early morning sunlight streamed in the window of the cabin, as the end of my bed started to warm from the first rays of sunlight. Sitting up on the edge of the bed, I hung my feet off the side, letting my feet feel the cool wood floor of the cabin. Shuffling my feet on the ground I made my way to the kitchen of the small cabin, where I put some coffee on, and I stared anxiously as the pot dripped enough for me to pour into a mug. I took my cup outside to the picnic bench in the front yard where I sat, prayed, and soaked in the morning: birds chirping, cool air, and sun peeking through the Ponderosa Pines. True, there were plenty of unromantic memories of my ‘hermit’ years, but the memories of the simplicity, the intentionality of my lifestyle of my spiritual walk with the Lord, and ministering on the Reservations, are memories that I look back on as memories that created a bedrock foundation for my spiritual walk of following after Jesus.
But eventually, it was time to move on.
I traveled, continued education, fell in love, got married, became a father, experienced loss and heartbreak as well as the joys of experiencing the kind of things that make my heart come alive.
Along the journey, there were experiences of working multiple jobs to pay bills and buy food, juggling schedules with work and kids, working in large organizations and small ones, and in the craziness, I was introduced to -and became close friends with- a new reality named: BUSY. It became my answer for the question of “How are you doing?” But I didn’t like it. I longed for the cabin. Still, I long for simplicity.
That longing became a prayer, and the thing with prayer is that God answers. With the prayer for simplicity comes opportunities to make decisions toward simplicity. With these tough decisions, it feels like simplicity is starting to happen again. I believe that beyond self-help and trend, simplicity is a spiritual discipline. 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.”
I get it. Busy-ness happens. There are schedules for work, school, etc., but so much of it is still a choice. We are in control of it. As Joshua Becker reminds us, “…it doesn’t have to be this way. Busy is not inevitable.”
Things I’ve learned:
- Simplicity is not easy, but worth it.
- Simplifying life takes sacrifice, and it’s not a one time decision. It learns from the past, plans for the future, but lives in the moment.
- Having and keeping Sabbath is cornerstone to being less hurried. Work may get crazy, but out of respect for myself, my family, and God, cultivating a day where there is relatively no agenda but ‘being’ and relaxing, takes the edge off busy schedules and gives you (and the whole family) time to breathe.
- When I feel the pressure of ‘hurry,’ I ask myself, “Is it really urgent?” “Is the deadline of my making or from someone else?” “Can I send an email to get more time on a task?”
- Having a daily Sabbath of prayer (at least 20 minutes of sitting, being quiet and still in the Lord’s Presence) is crucial to productivity. Martin Luther is credited as saying, “Work, work, from morning until late at night. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall have to spend the first three hours in prayer.”
Here’s a video that has challenged and encouraged me (via becomingminimalist.com’s post on becoming unbusy) directing toward the book: More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity. I hope it also encourages you on a journey toward eliminating hurry.