The morning glories are climbing the neighbors’ porch beams when I stop, dead in my tracks. I’m tired of being in a hurry. As counter-intuitive as it feels to stand here and watch the climbing vines, I have a deep sense I could learn something from their slow climb heavenward.
Staring at the climbing vines, I’m amazed by the subtlety with which they stretch toward the rooftops.
In just one month, they have grown at least three feet. Somehow, in all my hurrying to walk down this road and cross one more thing off my list, I failed to even notice.
I stop to stare because I sense a whisper from the heavens. It speaks a truth I need to hear a hundred times a day:
Being in a hurry will always steal the peace we crave.
The sad truth is that from the moment my feet hit the floor, I am in a rush:
Hurry and brush my teeth before the little one wakes up.
Hurry and brew coffee, make breakfasts, prep lunches, and do the first things of the day.
Rush and read my Bible.
Hurry up exercise and then hurry and shower.
And on and on it goes.
Our Rationalizations for Being in a Hurry:
I could blame my rushing on the intensity of this season of motherhood, But in all honesty, I’ve been prone to hurry throughout most of my life. As a child, I remember hurrying to get ready for the school bus. Later, it was the urgency to hurry and get to work. In this season, I catch myself hurrying to get through the day’s tasks so I can relax.
It occurs to me as I stare at the morning glories: Being in a hurry is stealing the joy from my life. I’m missing encounters with the presence of God because I’m so bent on getting through my agenda.
Do any of these characteristics mark your days?
1. You are in a hurry because you are trying to accomplish too much.
Order brings me peace. Sadly, sometimes the pursuit of order is the very quest that steals my peace when my longing for order sends me into a flurry of fast-paced activity. I want the email inbox to be empty. I want the six essential writing tasks of the day to be crossed off the list. I’m all about empty sinks, clean floors, and order.
Trying to accomplish as much as possible within my days generally steals my peace. Productivity becomes an idol. I fail to live in the present moment because I’m so busy thinking about what task is next on the list.
2. You’re in a hurry because you are multitasking all the time.
Those of us who live in a state of constant hurry are often expert multi-taskers. We pride ourselves on being able to talk on the phone, pay a bill, hold a pacifier in a tiny mouth, stir soup, and teach a preschool math lesson at the same time.
Multitasking is a peace-stealer. We spread ourselves thin and fail to be fully present to any one person or task in front of us. Our minds are pulled in a dozen directions at one time. We struggle to hear the still small voice of God in this state of hurry. Being in a hurry will pull your mind into such a state of worldly focus that you will struggle to hear God in your rushing.
3. You are in a hurry because you are always thinking ahead.
We should make plans. However, when my plans lead me to focus only on the future, I fail to be fully present to the present.
The fruit of slowing down is a greater awareness of God’s presence, and when I’m more aware of God’s presence, there is room in my heart and mind to encounter the One who is Peace.
As I continue my evening walk, I force myself into a slower rhythm. I take time to notice the hemlock boughs bobbing in the wind. I stop by the creek and watch the gentle cascade of ripples over ancient stone. A barred owl calls from a lone pine, and I stoop to study the tangerine blossoms of the jewelweed.
In the slowing, it is as if the muddy water in the shaken jar of my life settles. With the silt settled to the bottom of the jar, I have clarity in what was otherwise murky.
What I see through the clearing water is not what I expected. I see that all my striving for God was keeping me from doing life with God. And here in this valley, I am finally awakened to the deepest longing of my hurried soul: an encounter with the One who made me.
Today, let’s quiet ourselves long enough to name our deepest longings. We might just encounter the Peace that satisfies more than the idol of productivity ever could.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Stacey Pardoe