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An Unhurried Life (Pt. 3): Loving Instead of Hurrying

This post was written by Jim Smith, a long time friend of Project Patch who worked as a therapist at our Youth Ranch and helped launch our Family Experience.  He no longer works at Project Patch but continues to serve families, teens and equip the church for ministry.

In my last blog I alluded to the fact that hurry can lead to superficiality and superficial communication can lead to superficial relationships. John Ortberg, in “The Life You’ve Always Wanted,” points out that love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. I think the truth there is that to love someone is to truly know them. We cannot truly know another person if you have not given time to the knowing. The more time I give, the more profound the knowing and the more profound knowing, the more love. This is true in our marriage and it is also true with our children.

I’m sure you, like me, can always tell if you are talking to someone who is thinking more about moving on to the next thing than they are about you or the conversation. Hurry does that, it becomes an emotion within us that is always moving us toward the next thing. We can feel that we simply do not have ability or justification to pause long in our movement toward the next thing. Add to that the ability to keep moving by communicating in the zingers that texts and tweets promote and shallowness can pervade our relationships which is mostly dissatisfying to you and the other person.

Ortberg talks about the reality that hurried people often arrive home too tired, drained, and preoccupied to love those to whom they have made the greatest commitment. When we are hurried we no longer have time to be enthralled with a sunset, flower, or other natural beauty because we have lost a sense of gratitude and wonder. It’s not busyness but a hurried and pressured approach to life that drains us and steals those times of wonder with our loved ones.

Jesus was busy! He seemed often to be surrounded by people as He healed, taught, and ministered. Yet, in all the busyness, He did not seem to be in a hurry. He had time to sit with children, wash His disciples’ feet, and pray alone in the garden for what lay ahead of Him. The most telling thing is that the children, tax collectors, and sinners of all types were attracted to Him…because He had time for them.

Just like turning down the volume of information we are pouring into ourselves will help us find the depth of Wisdom rather than succumb to the shallowness of too much information, finding time for people will deepen our relationships. We might feel funny about scheduling time to do what perhaps should come spontaneously but that is the reality of the age in which we live. If we are not purposeful about slowing down the hurry and scheduling time with those we care about, it won’t happen at all.

There is something amazingly powerful that happens when another person realizes you are choosing to spend time with them and they can tell you are not thinking about hurrying to the next thing. It is in those moments that the wonder of relationship happens. Whether it is time with our spouse, children, neighbor, or God Himself, unhurried time with another changes us.

Image credit: goodhousekeeping.com