Thursday, October 30, 2008

Busy?

A book review by David May.

When It's Rush Hour All Day Long
Finding Peace in a Hurry-Sick World

John W. Tadlock
New Hope Publishers, 2003, 144 pp.,
ISBN 978-1-56309-7706

To purchase this book click here.

John Tadlock is the Church, Minister & Family Wellness Facilitator at the Virginia Baptist Mission Board. He believes life can be simpler and better.

1. I'm Just Wild about Hurry

"Anything worth doing is worth doing frantically!" - Anonymous

"We keep multiple plates spinning for work, family, church, even leisure. And it has just about done us in. This way of living has put so much stress on us that it has affected virtually all of our lives, especially the relationships that are most important to us." (18)

"Hurry has been identified as the greatest enemy of the spiritual life. Psychiatrist Carl Jung said, 'Hurry is not of the devil; it is the devil.'" (19)

"There is no pause button on our lives." (23) "Hurry sickness is loading ourselves to the hilt with the 'stuff' of life." (24)

"One cost of haste is shallowness. We become a shallow and superficial people." (31)

"Perhaps the highest cost of hurry is the erosion of our capacity to love." "We cannot love God or people if we are constantly in a hurry. Hurry and love are fundamentally incompatible." "The front-line casualty of hurry sickness is a damaged family life." (32)

"It is possible to live in such a constant state of adrenaline arousal as to actually become addicted to hurry." (35)

2. The Costs of Hurry Sickness

"When Jesus was fatigued, He sought solitude away from the chatter of people and the noise of busyness." (43)

"Hurried people tend to experience a Cliffs Notes condensed version of life." (44)

"Fatigue contributes to our tendency to define something totally on the basis of our limited experience--it makes us more likely to be insensitive, oblivious, and judgmental toward others." (45)

"We substitute work for faith, speed for substance or depth, money for love, and busyness for prayer." "Somehow we believe that being busy with the things of God is a suitable alternative for a relationship with God." (51)

"One of the more serious costs of hurry sickness is the exercise of poor judgment." "Too often people choose paths that are counterproductive to emotional and spiritual wholeness. Fatigue reduces our critical faculties…." We lean toward impulsive decisions. (53)

"Our minds are like crows. They pick up everything that glitters, no matter how uncomfortable." (56)

"God wants to give to all of us the greatest of all gifts; but we can't take them because our hands are too full of other things." (59, quoting Oscar Byrd)

3. Prayer as Listening

We have occasional "functional deafness." "We tend to hear what we really want to hear and filter out what we don't." (63)

"Listening to God can often be a more powerful and profound prayer experience than using words." (64)

"Most of us are generally uncomfortable with anything that is not moving. Action and activity are much preferred to inaction and inactivity." (65)

"You can be as straight as a gun barrel theologically and as empty as a gun barrel spiritually." (66, quoting Vance Havner)

"Slowing down, quieting oneself, can be an abrupt change for those who aren't accustomed to the practice. The experience might be compared to detoxification from caffeine or some other substance…." (69)

"Mostly God speaks in that still, small voice that comes in silence." (71)

"At the seminary, developing a good devotional life was important in order to 'do' something else. At the monastery, prayer was a means to nurture one's relationship with God." (74)

"There is an intimacy with God that does not use words. There is a time to listen for God speaking to us. There is also prayer that is silence--just 'being' in God's presence." (76)

4. Getting Off the Hurry-Go-Round

"When we become devoted to 'all the stuff,' our lives become disordered--we are more likely to clutter our lives with way too much. Our days get cluttered, too." (86)

"We seem to feel that if we can just get more done, maybe we can have more stuff, and that will prove our worth…." (90)

"Sleep is an act of relinquishment and trust. Sleep as 'sacrament' infers that you are going to leave the world's troubles to God for a period of time while you rest, that God may be able to do without your efforts for at least one night." (92)

5. A Well-Ordered Life

"Spiritual disciplines help the Christ follower to love the right thing to the right degree with the right kind of love." (103)

"I think it is reasonable to assume that Jesus was interrupted a lot." (107) "Nothing in the Scripture … implies that Jesus ever became impatient with those who were 'given' to Him during the course of a busy day." (108) "Rather, He dealt freshly and attentively with everyone." (110)

"What if the primary focus of a person's life and ministry were measured in the way they handle interruptions?" (110)

Perhaps "life itself consists of being fully present to everyone and everything that comes within the range of our vision--even the interruptions." (110) What if we could see the intrusion as vehicles delivering blessings? (111)

Restructure our lives by the following two suggestions.

1. Prioritize your promises. "One of the worst mistakes we make is spending time on concerns or issues that are not true priorities."

2. Learn how to say no gracefully to good things." (117)

"Do you desire a well-ordered life? Don't worry about the state of your closet, or your household paperwork, or even your Day-Timer. Ask God to show you what are A, B, and C priorities in your life." (119)

6. Waiting on God

"We appear to live in a culture that conspires to force all of us to move through life as quickly as possible." "And there are few, if any, off-ramps." (121) "Our capacity to wait has been severely eroded." "And time is precious when you're always in a hurry." (122)

The cultural myth says that when you're waiting, you're doing nothing. But you can be doing something. "You're allowing your soul to grow up. If you can't be still and wait, you can't become what God created you to be." (123)

Suggestions for dealing with hurry sickness by Gordon Miller of World Vision:

1. "If you can't change your life, try bending your attitude."
2. Take the time to cultivate a satisfying relationship with God."
3. Change your sleeping habits to get enough rest.
4. Develop supporting relationships
5. Use music to counter mood swings.
6. Exercise and relax daily.
7. Intentionally and deliberately slow down (125-128)

Conclusion

Psalms is a great place to begin and end. "The importance of a quiet, receptive heart can never be overstated." (137)

"One of the most central and ancient practices of Christian prayer is called Lectio Divina, divine reading. It is a form of meditation--a slow, prayerful reading of the Scriptures or a passage of inspired writing. By reading the text slowly several times, word by word, and listening carefully for God's voice, you enter into and are surrounded by the text." (138)
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Blogger Laurel Kriegler said...

WOW!! This is harsh, uncompromising ... and EXCELLENT!! I'm not sure I need to read the book, the review is superb, and gets the message across, no two ways about that. Definitely something to think about, digest, and act upon!

Having experienced the side-effects of the lifestyle described (ie, someone else who lives like that, to the T), this is an eye-opener, as I've seen what happens. Thanks for sharing!!

2:21 AM  

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