Book Review: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

Ultimately, nothing in this life, apart from God, can satisfy our desires. Tragically, we continue to chase after our desires ad infinitum. The result? A chronic state of restlessness or, worse, angst, anger, anxiety, disillusionment, depression – all of which lead to a life of hurry, a life of busyness, overload, shopping, materialism, careerism, a life of more . . . this is exacerbated by our cultural moment of digital marketing from a society built around the twin gods of accumulation and accomplishment.

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, pg 146-147

In case you haven’t noticed, we live in a culture of hurry. Everyone seems like they always have somewhere to be, something else they have to do, something occupying their thoughts. But do you ever stop to think – do I actually have to be somewhere else ASAP? Why is it important for me to save two minutes by going to the shortest line at the grocery store? Does it really make a difference if I’m forty-three seconds earlier to work?

My mom used to say, “Life is not an emergency.” I tend to forget that.

John Mark Comer had a mental breakdown several years ago. He was staying too busy, trying to get too much done, didn’t have enough time, and definitely was not taking care of himself. It all changed when he took a step back, reassessed what was truly important in his life, and started saying no to more things and yes to Jesus things.

Oh – and he is a pastor.

No one is exempt from this. Most of the time when I ask people how they’re doing, the answer is usually, “Good! Just really busy.” Or sometimes only, “Busy. You know how it is.”

Once he realized that he had a significant problem, Comer dove into God’s Word to find out what life is supposed to be like. Surely it doesn’t involve scrolling social media at 4 AM or checking email at traffic lights or feeling isolated or, more likely, I just can’t catch up.

This book is not a fix-all. But it does offer a tremendous amount of insight, scripture passages, and take-aways for how to slow down our lives and find what we’ve been missing.

After dissecting the problem and identifying the solution (“hint: it’s not more time” [pg 61]), Comer gives us realistic practices for unhurrying our lives. It takes time and intentionality, eliminating bad habits and creating good habits. Some of these practices and routines I had heard before, but there was also a lot of new ideas – and a great deal of sources to prove why we need these practices. I was actually a little overwhelmed with how many studies have been done on the topics he covers; but it lets the reader know, hey this isn’t a joke or just a good idea. Slowing down is necessary.

And if we can slow down both – the pace at which we think and the pace at which we move our bodies through the world – maybe we can slow down our souls to a pace at which they can “taste and see that the LORD is good.” And that life in his world is good too.

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry pg 222

Obviously there are very few books I can 100% agree with. Not everything Comer writes should be taken as Bible. But he does use a lot of Bible to get his point across, and I appreciate that. Definitely take time to pray over things and use discernment if you read this book.

I really think everyone should read The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. There are eye-opening statistics contained within its pages: read at your own risk! Not just stats and information about how nonstop hurry and stress hurt our world and our work, but also straight up truth about how our lack of slow and inability to focus hurts our relationship with God. We don’t know how to simply sit and do nothing but be with our Creator. Our hurry affects us in more ways than we realize.

What you give your attention to is the person you become. . . Some of the most sincere and honest people I know tell me that when they get into the presence of God, they just can’t pay attention. And if we lose our capacity to pay attention to God – for long, or even short, lengths of time – who knows who we’ll become? You see, not only is hurry toxic to our emotional health and spiritual lives, but it’s also symptomatic of much deeper issues of the heart.

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry pg 54-55

Joshua and I have already put several of the suggestions from this book into practice. (He read this one before me – in less than three days.) It is going to take time, but we want to live simpler, unhurried lives. Jesus wasn’t in a rush. He made time for what was important, and knew when it was time for Him to step away and take time to rest. We want to be more like that.

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