Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm Late, I'm Late for a Very Important Date!

Are you in a hurry? I have noticed that one of the things that I have grown to admire is someone who never seems to be in a hurry. My heroes are people who get things done and do them well, but live their lives with a sense of calm and confidence. They never seem to be on their way somewhere when they are talking to you.

Dallas Willard gave John Ortberg some sage advice he said, "Ruthlessly eliminate hurry." Ruthless is a great word to describe how difficult it is to rid hurry from your daily lifestyle. This will require an honest look at how we respond to the daily challenge of managing our lives and being respectful to others.

When I was in Grad School one of my Profs had a habit that got my attention. When you had a conversation with her, she always found a spot to sit down and take off her shoes. This might be in her office, or in the classroom, or the student union building; she sent a clear message that a country boy like me understands. She said with her body language; "come on in, sit for a spell, take off your shoes - let's talk." I never felt that I was a bother, a problem, or just another nervous student.

I get more done now than ever before in my life but I don't feel rushed all the time. I enjoyed the book, Wasting Time with God by Klaus Issler. The book reminded me that true friendships are built by simply "wasting time" with those you care about. It turns out this wasted time is the most important time we spend each day. Issler focused on how we can experience a friendship with God by making the commitment to "waste time" with God daily, which is certainly not a waste of time!

My Grand kids are reminding me again that hurry is the enemy of growing healthy relationships with others. On my day off, I love wasting time with Ella and Owen. We watched a lizard until it finally disappeared from our sight - then we talked about the lizard for quite a while afterward. Next week, it will probably be a frog - the bright green one that we have seen before that can fly through the air when it leaps. These are times that I will always treasure.

I love that scene in the gospels when Jesus goes to Martha and Mary's house. Martha is banging those pots and pans around in the kitchen with steam coming out of her ears. She has a house full of Jewish men who are hungry and Mary is in there sitting on her behind listening to Jesus. Martha is hot and bothered. And Jesus says the most amazing thing: "Only one thing is needed." (Luke 10) Martha was one great person but on this day she had missed the "one thing that was needed." Sitting at Jesus feet, Mary had discovered the one thing needed.

A word of encouragement to all: don't let hurry rob you of the joy of being fully engaged in what you are doing now. Deep things open themselves to the deep places of the heart. We do not get there when we are distracted and always in a hurry.

Just thinking, Steve

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