Are You Too Hurried?
According to a new book, “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry“, the biggest problem in our churches today are people that are too busy, too hurried, too distracted, or too exhausted.
But I dare say that this is not just a church problem. The people attending our churches aren’t the only ones that are too busy, hurried, distracted, or exhausted… it’s also the pastors and staff.
Pastor John Mark Comer (the author of this book) puts it like this:
My life is so fast. And I like fast. I’m type A. Driven. A get crap-done kind of guy. But we’re well past that now. I work six days a week, early to late, and it’s still not enough time to get it all done. Worse, I feel hurried. Like I’m tearing through each day, so busy with life that I’m missing out on the moment. And what is life but a series of moments?
His realization came when he started looking at his future. What would his life (as a pastor and church leader) look like when he was in his fifties and sixties?
This realization was a game-changer. As John Mark puts it:
I see a man who is “successful,” but by all the wrong metrics: church size, book sales, speaking invites, social stats, etc., and the new American dream—your own Wikipedia page. In spite of all my talk about Jesus, I see a man who is emotionally unhealthy and spiritually shallow. I’m still in my marriage, but it’s duty, not delight. My kids want nothing to do with the church; she was the mistress of choice for dad, an illicit lover I ran to, to hide from the pain of my wound. I’m basically who I am today but older and worse: stressed out, on edge, quick to snap at the people I love most, unhappy, preaching a way of life that sounds better than it actually is. Oh, and always in a hurry. Why am I in such a rush to become somebody I don’t even like?
This line hit me: Why am I in such a rush to become somebody I don’t even like?
We all know people in our church that are burning candles at both ends, quickly becoming something that really isn’t all that important while neglecting their family, their marriage, and their relationship with Jesus.
We’re really quick to spot those tendencies in others that attend our church. Or even with others we serve with on staff.
But do we ever look in the mirror?
As go leaders, so go the church. Right?
So how do we guard ourselves from these things that can very easily derail our personal relationships, leadership, and the church that we serve?
It starts with some identification. Here are some questions that I’ve developed to help you to know if you have a problem:
- How many hours a week do you work?
- How many nights are you away from your family while ‘leading the church’?
- When was the last day you took a day (or week) off?
- How often do you sit quietly and allow God to speak to you?
- When do you last go on a date with your spouse?
- Do you often find yourself having to run from one scheduled appointment to another?
- Are you always running late?
- Do you have the feeling that you’ll never (ever) catch up?
- Do you find yourself rushing tasks just to finish so you can start the next thing on your list?
- How often do you break the speed limit to get to your next ‘thing to do’?
- Do you find it hard to concentrate in any given context?
- How many times do you check your phone when you’re at lunch or in a conversation?
- Do your spouse and kids feel they get the attention and time that they need from you?
- Do you find yourself escaping to diversions that ultimately waste your time, energy, and effort from what needs to be done?
- Does stress cause you to be distracted by potential sinful behavior (bad habits, pornography, other forms of temptation)?
- When was the last time you took a great nap?
- And on that note, how much quality sleep are you getting each night on a regular basis?
- Do you dread going into the office because you feel like you have too much on your plate?
- When was the last time you dreamed about your future rather than dreading it?
- Have you isolated yourself so that you feel alone and the pressure of leading the church has you feeling trapped?
Reality check time.
How do you feel about the answers that you gave to the above questions?
My experience is that these four qualities are intermingled. If you have symptoms of one, you probably are struggling with one or more of the others as well.
Diagnosis is step #1.
For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them.
The Biggest Problem in Your Church Might Be You.
Do you feel like you’re always too busy? Hurried? Distracted? Exhausted?
Maybe this will help you get started in realigning your perspective. Here is the first two chapters of John Mark’s book. It could really help you take stock on where you are today, and what changes you might need to make tomorrow.
Bottom line: If we, as leaders are too busy, hurried, distracted, and exhausted; our staff, our leaders, and our attenders will also tend to side that way.
Leading out of your strengths means that you have to have the time, bandwidth, energy, and stamina to lead well.
Let’s lead well.
Maybe start by taking the rest of the day off. (You have my permission!)