Dallas Willard, a well-known Christian philosopher at the University of Southern California, was asked this question:
“What do I need to do to become the me I want to be?”
“You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.”
Shawna and I recently read “The Ruthless Elimination Of Hurry”, a new book by John Mark Comer inspired by Dallas Willard’s sage advice. The book is an autopsy on how our culture proliferated the lifestyle of hurry and beckons us to break out of that hurry into the non-anxious spirit-filled life we were designed for.
It was a book we both really needed to read.
By the end of this blog post, I will be recommending one change to make in your life.
That’s it! Just one!
It is a full-on renovation of 1 day per week that will short circuit hurry in your life, teaching you to practice rest (and trust) in the God who’s yoke is easy and whose burden is light.
But first, two lists (Comer, 2019):
|Working from love||Working for love|
|Work as Contribution||Work as Accomplishment|
One of my goals in life is to live more with the left list than the right one.
Ask yourself, which side do you spend more of your life on?
If you find yourself more on the right, don’t be ashamed, just know there is hope for change revealed in the Bible.
The first time the Ten Commandments were delivered to the people of Israel was in Exodus. The Israelites had been freed from Egypt and relied on supernatural food for 40 years in the wilderness. Every single day God would bring the Israelites just enough manna to eat, but every sixth day He supplied enough food for 2 days in order for the Israelites to rest on the seventh day.
God believed rest was so important that He insisted on the observation of the Sabbath day in His Ten Commandments.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.Exodus 20:8-11
12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.Deuteronomy 5:12-15
I highlighted the last part in both passages because they are different.
Comer explains why, “In Exodus the Sabbath command is grounded in the creation story. In the rhythm that God built into the world. A rhythm we tap into for emotional health and spiritual life. But in Deuteronomy the command is grounded in the Exodus story. In Israel’s freedom from slavery to Pharaoh and his empire.” (Comer, 2019)
The Sabbath was always meant to be a blessing for God’s people.
It still is.
A weekly holiday to remember that the weight of the world is on His shoulders and not ours. A weekly reminder that we are no longer slaves in Egypt required to work seven days a week but a blessed people who our trustworthy God provides for with daily bread.
My opinion: If you CAN’T rest, it may be a sign that you have an inflated view of your own contribution to this world.
You might THINK you trust God, but a compulsive need to toil away seven days each week proves who you REALLY trust to get the job done.
It also seems to me that God lays out a pretty clear work/rest ratio in these passages – it is 6:1.
It’s probably a pretty good place to start when evaluating how to truly rest in God’s provision.
OK. If you’re convinced you need to make a lifestyle change (maybe your work/rest ratio is out of wack?) then I have some fun advice I’ve ripped off from people smarter than me.
Try this: Practice a weekly Sabbath. Pick a day that you have off and write some rules about what you WON’T do that day. Friday is my family’s Sabbath and it is our favorite day of the week, EVERY WEEK.
Here are some of our rules for Sabbath day (feel free to add or subtract):
- No talking about “hard” stuff. There are six other days for us to engage culture, have hard conversations or be sad, frustrated, disappointed etc.
- No phones. Sometimes we will put on some music using our phones, but otherwise they are off and put away.
- Prepare the feast beforehand. Our goal on Sabbath is to simply delight in God as the creator and as the One who freed us from the slavery of toiling. The pinnacle of our Sabbath is dinner because Shawna makes sourdough bread each week and prepares this amazing meal (usually involving pan-fried salmon). She juices A BUNCH of fruits and veggies the day before (okay, our Sabbath wouldn’t be the same if I did all the prep, let’s be real). We spend as long as it takes to clean the whole house the day before so there is no work left to be done on Sabbath.
- No errand-running, house projects, thinking about work, shopping, spending or consuming entertainment.
We started this weekly practice of rest about 5 months ago and it’s completely changed our family dynamic. Changing how I spend one day each week has actually changed how I spend the other six days of my week. I work hard the other six days knowing that my God is the strong one who can get things done without my help, but delights in walking with me to complete His purposes.
I can’t recommend practicing Sabbath enough, so do it! Have a blast resting in God and tell me all about it when we see each other next.
Comer, J. M. (2019). Sabbath. In––The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry (p. 149,164,165). Colorado Springs, Colorado: Waterbrook.