Rachel Macy Stafford, a New York Times bestselling author, relays the following personal story about hurry.  “My thoughts and actions were controlled by electronic notifications, ring tones, and jam-packed agendas. And although every fiber of my inner drill sergeant wanted to be on time to every activity on my overcommitted schedule, I wasn’t. You see, six years ago I was blessed with a laid-back, carefree, stop-and-smell-the roses type of child.”

“When I needed to be out the door, she was taking her sweet time picking out a purse and a glittery crown. When I needed to be somewhere five minutes ago, she insisted on buckling her stuffed animal into a car seat. When I needed to grab a quick lunch at Subway, she’d stop to speak to the elderly woman who looked like her grandma. When I had 30 minutes to get in a run, she wanted me to stop the stroller and pet every dog we passed.”

Can you relate with Rachel? Hurry seems to be our national pastime. We often cram our schedules with event on top of event. We hurry through conversations, meals, commutes—even when no real reason to hurry exists. We become habitual hurry-ers.

A while back I read these words from Ecclesiastes 8:3: “Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence.”  And those words hit me like a ton of bricks.

Not only do we hurry in our day-to-day activities . . . we may even hurry our relationship with God. We bust through our prayer list, race through a chapter in the Bible, and we’re off to another overcrowded day.  How often do we pause to listen, to linger, to simply enjoy God’s company?

Leaders tend to be the biggest hurry-ers. We have important tasks to get done: An organization to lead, strategy to develop, and vision to cast. We drive fast, eat fast, talk fast, pray fast, read the Word fast—and we often miss the still small voice of God that encourages us to cease and desist. To slow down. To not be in a hurry to leave the King’s presence.

The question is—how do we deal with the tension between our task list and God’s call to stop hurrying? How can we be productive without being always on the move? Let me offer a few ideas:

Understand limitations

In John 15:5 Jesus said “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  Wow . . . nothing? Really? According to Jesus—yes. When you read His words here in John 15, you might be thinking “I do all kinds of things without His help.” Oh really? Who gives you breath? Who gave you your talent? Who protects you daily? Who gives you the ability to think? To produce? Every good thing in your life is a gift from God, whether you acknowledge it or not. If you want to eliminate hurry, understand that you were created with limitations.

This “remain in Him” thing can be challenging for a busy leader. I’ve had several pastors tell me recently that they go to the office to pray because they have a house full of kids and it’s noisy there! But each of them has relayed some version of the following: “When I’m in the office, I feel like I should be working, not spending time with God.” To which I responded, “Getting quiet in God’s presence, listening, praying, journaling, reading the word is part of your job. Yes, you do these things first in your private life to let God do work on the inside of you. But you also do these things secondly in your professional life so you can hear His priorities for your work. For the assignment He’s given to you.”

Understand first love

Rev. 2:2-4 says: “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance . . . yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.” It’s scary when we discover we can do the right things as a leader but lose our love for Jesus at the same time. Hurriedness competes with love. And often, hurriedness wins. Pause for a minute and think this through: Hurriedness competes with love. And often, hurriedness wins. When racing through your day, remember Who matters the most. Aggressively guard your love for Him.

Understand God’s economy

In God’s economy, unhurried time with Him and with people produces energy, ideas, and solutions that we could never dream up on our own. God shows us how to tackle challenges when we wait patiently in His presence. When we collaborate with like-minded people, creativity multiplies. John Maxwell once said: “None of us is as smart as all of us.” Unhurried relationships with God and people produce incredible outcomes.

The hurried life is a harried life. If you are always hustling and hurrying . . . SLOW DOWN. Be still and wait in the King’s presence. Take time to enjoy quiet moments with Him. Let Him tell you what to put at the top of your to-do list. And what to remove from that list. Treasure time with your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, your friends, and your teammates. Your life will be better. You will enjoy your journey more. And who knows, you may even produce at a higher level.

Rooting and praying for you,

John

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