A few posts ago I wrote a review of Tranquility: Cultivating a Quiet Soul in a Busy World by David W. Henderson. In addition to the review, I thought I would write out a few excerpts from the book that caught my eye.
According to [Dr. Meyer] Friedman, hurry sickness “arises from an insatiable desire to accomplish too much or take part in too many events in the amount of time available.” The hurry-sick person is unable to acknowledge that he can do only a finite number of things. “As a consequence, he never ceases trying to ‘stuff’ more and more events in his constantly shrinking reserves of time”…
Cardiac psychologists Diane Ulmer and Leonard Schwartzburg identify three troubling symptoms of advanced hurry sickness…
- Deterioration of personality, marked particularly by a lack of interest in aspects of life except for those connected with the achievement of goals.
- Racing-mind syndrome, characterized by rapid, shifting thoughts that gradually erode the ability to focus.
- Loss of ability to accumulate pleasant memories, mainly due to either a preoccupation with future events or a rumination about past events, with little attention to the present.
To these can be added a short fuse. If hurry is the way we live, impatient is the way we relate. A British survey found that nearly 40 percent of those surveyed had become more impatient in the previous five years. We are willing to stand in line, stay on the phone, and wait for service for fewer minutes than ever before (pp 31-32).
You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you (Augustine, Confessions), (p 169).
Scripture identifies four things that God wants us to have on our hearts in this swift-passing life, concerns that should shape how we live while there is time.
Come to Faith
First, we are urged now to get right with God. Our relationship with God towers in importance to every other dimension of life. Marriage, family, career, health, finances, all take a distant second. Scripture commands us to reflect on our sin and rebellion against God, to turn from a life lived for self, and to entrust our lives to Christ by faith while there is time…
Grow in Faith
If choosing to enter into a relationship with God though faith in Christ is the single most important decision of our lives, then the way we tend that relationship and the way we conduct ourselves in it will be our greatest daily concern. Paul sums up that conduct in this way: “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise” (Eph. 5:15)…Wise living assumes an ongoing commitment to our growth in godliness. Deepening our relationship with God becomes our first concern as we seek to integrate our faith into all aspects of our lives, maturing “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12) and allowing Christ more and more to live his life through us (Gal. 2:20)…
Live Our Faith
In addition to calling us to seek God now and serve him always, God places opportunities for ministry and mission before us at certain times. ..
Share Our Faith
Second, as God gives us opportunity, we are called to share our faith: to urge others through our words and our lives to give their lives to Christ.
If the most important thing that can happen before we die (or Christ returns) is for us to believe in Jesus, then that is also the most important things that can happen in the lives of those God has placed around us. And God desires to use us to help bring that about, so he gives us opportunity (pp 137-141).