“Hurry,” said Carl Jung, “is not of the Devil; it is the Devil.” This week I spent two days at a clergywomen’s meeting where we were encouraged by the guest speaker to “hurry less, worry less,” only to return to work on Thursday to face the tyranny of time: two days behind, work backlogged, crises in progress, and the usual weekly deadlines pressing to be met. Immediately the temptation to both hurry and worry was there times twenty. How would I make across the week’s finish line without a heavy dose of each?
I once heard a nationally acclaimed mega-church pastor and consultant tell a large group of pastors like myself that when coping with full schedules, long days, pressing demands, and weekly deadlines, we must appear to be like a duck swimming across a lake: on the surface it seems to be gliding smoothly, calmly, and effortlessly, while beneath the surface, where no one can see, it is actually paddling furiously with its might.
I laughed, but it sounded to me more like the recipe for high blood pressure, and that it would be far healthier if precisely the opposite were the case: to be actively and effectively at work on the surface while, at the same time, experiencing serenity deep within. The image that comes to mind is not that of a frantically paddling duck but rather that of a runner whose effort is obvious, his or her feet pounding the pavement, and yet who experiences an unparalleled inner equanimity that is not only deeply satisfying but also empowering and propelling. Is it possible to work hard and move fast, while deep within one’s heart and soul there is maintained a center of calm serenity? Yes, I believe it is. Maintaining this balance has always been one of my personal and professional goals.
As James Bryan Smith writes, “It is possible to act quickly without hurrying. If I have only 10 minutes to get from one end of the airport to another, I can move quickly without being in a hurry. Hurry is an inner condition that is fear-based: ‘If I don’t make that plane everything will be ruined!’ …But when I walk in step with God I learn to say, ‘If I don’t make that plane, I’ll be fine. God is with me. Things will work out. Meanwhile, I’ll move my legs as fast as I can while my heart is happy and unhurried.’”
My prayer for both you and me today is that we can do all that needs to be done with happy and unhurried hearts, walking in step with God.