Rushing Through Life
Updated: Aug 5, 2022
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Hi, my name is Kelly and I’m a procrastinator. (“Hi, Kelly.”) Sometimes I live a hurried life just because I’m a procrastinator. I let things and deadlines pile up, and then in a flurry, finish the urgent things. However, this is not cool. I do not thrive this way, the resulting stress is not good for me, and some things that I could have done in a timely manner don’t get done at all. (What would be cool is if I were a prognosticator, because then I could perhaps help people with preparing for the future. But I digress.)
Too often I live a hurried life, and I know many people like me, especially those with younger kids, who have to “be somewhere else” a lot. Too often, we go, go, go! I always thought that when the kids were grown and not my everyday responsibility, I would be so efficient, so disciplined, so where I wanted to be. It didn’t happen because I didn’t train myself to be disciplined.
It’s like the solitary person who thinks of herself as so patient – until she actually finds herself around others, with an untried and unformed skill set. It’s hard to be patient unless you grow yourself to be patient, with lots of friction to practice being patient about.
I love to read quickly and voraciously, to fill my mind with imagination, or just stretching it, being taught. I tend to rush through, though. And sometimes I read to procrastinate. A little of this is good. A lot of it leads to hurriedness later.
All this hurriedness and stress can be very, very tiring.
So, recently, I decided to ask God to help me to de-clutter my mind, to be more efficient, to de-stress, in short, to do the things I need to do, but at the same time, to rest in God.
Jesus tells us to rest in him: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29, NLT)
At work, I am master over procrastination. I learned the hard way to get to work earlier than I need to, to have margins. I used to rush to work, just barely making it. It created stress for me and for my supervisors. Now I have trained myself to leave home with plenty of time to get there. Usually I have time to wait, have a cup of coffee or tea, before my shift starts. And, during my shift, I work very hard and productively. So – there is hope for me outside of work!
I think this hurriedness and this procrastination is a very common thing in our culture. The fruit of the Spirit that would help me overcome this in my life is self-control. I find it very interesting that I’ve been mulling over this particular fruit lately – recognizing its lack in myself — and asking God to help me to develop it. I recently volunteered to help teach the elementary kids at church in the second hour on a Sunday in May; we are going through the fruits of the Spirit. The fruit assigned to me: self-control. Okay, I get it, Lord!
Self-control goes hand in hand with resting in God. In order to rest in God, I need to trust in God. I need to give him my schedule, my list, to surrender everything to him, not be controlled by my needs and wants (including my need or want for putting things off, and not doing unpleasant things). Can I live life in an unhurried yet productive manner?
I recently have tried – to some degree of success – to sometimes slow down my reading, especially reading the Word, or some devotional essay or book. I’ll silently sound out every word and ponder it, letting my mind mull over it, not rushing to the next chapter. It’s an exercise of unhurriedness, of letting myself be taught, letting things sink in.
Self-discipline – being trained by God to know and want what he wants for me, and doing it, even if I don’t feel like it – is something I’m going to let God do in me. It’ll take lots of effort from me (including lots of prayer), but paradoxically, with lots of rest and trust in him. It’s a process, a journey. I know I can’t just change my behavior. I know I have to get to the root of the problem, why I do the things I do. But I know God will help me do that. I won’t get there fully, just as I’ll never be completely filled with love, joy, peace, and the rest of the fruits of the Spirit, this side of heaven. But it’s a worthy training goal. I’m going to ask people to come alongside me and help me as well, keep me accountable.
I know that I am loved unconditionally; I’m not earning God’s love, it’s a gift. Asking God to help me follow him will help me to appreciate life more. I think it’d make my life a lot happier in the end and less stressed.
What about you? Is your life busy, maybe too busy? Do you procrastinate? Are you stressed? What can you do to develop self-control and rest in God?
Kelly can be reached via email.