What Does Your Hurry Say About You?

My hurry manifests itself as sweaty anger accompanied by furrowed brow and deadly scowl. I turn the air down when I hurry to postpone the impending detonation we all expect.

It’s quite reliable.

My hurry has two volumes. Loud. Curt. Highly flammable. Or it whispers, violently hushed through clamped jaw.

My hurry isn’t very nice.

Life is overloaded – with work, young children, school events, exercise, kids with different school and extracurricular schedules, home maintenance, laundry, church, volunteering, travel, friends, date nights, errands, projects – so hurry has become our pace.

And we’re crabby and perpetually spent because of it.

To some extent, busy isn’t the problem. Hurry is.

When we’re a blur of hurry everywhere, all the time, from sunrise to sunset, then we’re too busy.

That’s the test.

We can do busy well. It’s not easy or ideal, but it is doable.

But we can’t hurry well.

Hurry is not of the devil. Hurry is the devil. – Carl Jung

As an achiever, impressing and making other people proud has been a staple in this girl’s existence. As a deliberate (a.k.a. “slow“) achiever who can only do one thing at a time (a.k.a. “horrible multi-tasker“), I take on numerous commitments that I will do conscientiously – which will require me to hurry and stress like a freak from one obligation to the next.

….And we’re back to sweaty anger and imminent eruption.

As a slightly reformed hurrier, here’s what I’ve learned that my hurry says about me, and I’ll venture may be true for you as well:

1) Most of your hurry is driven by what you want other people to think of you.

When our people pleasing is in balance, we say no more than we say yes.

Alina Tugend touches on this undercurrent of hurry in her 2007 New York Times article,

Although those who are overworked and overwhelmed complain ceaselessly, it is often with an undertone of boastfulness; the hidden message is that I’m so busy because I’m so important.

2) Your sense of value and purpose varies by the day. 

When, in fact, both are constants. When I close my eyes on the pillow each night and say, “Father, thank you for this day.” I imagine that He evaluates the day according to two questions:

Did you point people to me every chance you had?

Did you love well today?

Every single day, that’s the standard. Regardless of whether you champion literacy programs for the poor before Congress or clean dirty bottoms all day, the measure is the same.

3) You think everything on your schedule is non-negotiable.

When, in fact, everything is negotiable.

Every item on your calendar is a result of a choice you have made.

In the conversations I have had about this, people feel frustrated about always being so rushed but are usually unwilling to make difficult changes.

4) You don’t feel creative or understand how people find the time to pursue their dreams.

Or how they even have time for dreams.

Dreams live in the margin – in the free space in your brain. It’s also where creativity lives.

And I don’t just mean the creativity to write or paint or pursue photography; I mean the ability to think creatively about how you do life, how you solve problems, and how you spend your money.

5) Your family reaps the consequences of your hurry.

Years ago we hosted a married small group at our home, and it was not at all uncommon for me to absolutely terrorize my family during the mad-dash afternoon cleaning…..as we prepared to minister to people in our home.

How noble.

If you’re awful to your family while trying to love someone else, that’s never a win.

6) You wonder why you experience a lackluster relationship with Jesus. 

If you’re giving Jesus a head nod in the morning or late at night while the rest of your day is the worship of activity, that’s not a recipe for success in any area of your life.

Solitude well practiced will break the power of busyness, haste, isolation, and loneliness. You will see that the world is not on your shoulders after all. You will find yourself, and God will find you in new ways…..Silence also brings Sabbath to you……It completes solitude, for without it you cannot be alone……Far from being a mere absence, silence allows the reality of God to stand in the midst of your life……God does not ordinarily compete for our attention. In silence we come to attend. – Dallas Willard

Ways to Eliminate Hurry

  • Prioritize margin. Margin is the sweetener to life. It allows us to hear and see and dream. Hurry dulls our senses and kills our ability to dream.
  • Define what you value. Nothing is inherently “evil” as an addition to your schedule –  if what you get from it lines up with your values and is greater than what it costs you. But acknowledge that everything you add has a cost.
  • Be willing to make hard choices based on protecting what you value.
    • Chris, my husband, gave up all social media to buy back time, focus, and brain space. It wasn’t worth the cost to him.
    • Because Carson chose to attend a school on the other side of town, known for its academic rigor, she had to ride the bus home and not participate in an extracurricular activity the first year. I have always valued picking up my children from school every day, but this year, the greater win for all of us was for me and my youngest to be at home, rested, homework underway, preparing for the evening and dinner, when Carson arrived home. Her bus driver is also a pastor who saw his riders as part of his ministry. A blessing she would have missed ’cause, I can assure you, I would not have been in the ministry frame of mind after two carlines and an hour and a half in the car with Campbell.
    • Campbell takes horseback riding once a week. She would probably get much better, much quicker if we took two lessons a week. And it would probably grow her passion for it. However, that would come at great cost to us. We are allowing her to drive how involved she wants to be, and for now she’s content. That’s not to say we won’t do more lessons, buy a horse, compete in horse shows, but she will initiate that. And we, as a family, will have to create space by giving up other budget items and time commitments.
  • Be a shrewd tester of truth. Our culture has a lot to say about what you SHOULD do. You, however, have a responsibility to test the truth of every expectation you are willing to accept.





It’s time.

[Feature Image: Nikos Koutoulas]
Dear God, How Could You?
Orange Is Not Her Color


  1. Vickie foxx
    Vickie foxxReply
    June 16, 2015 at 11:37 am

    So true its so clearer when you see your life through someone else and u realize its not just you. Other people are hurried just like you

    • Cookie Cawthon
      June 16, 2015 at 11:41 am

      It’s certainly no fun to look in the face, is it? It sounds so yuck to admit what hurry looks like on me. And I firmly believe we’re not meant to experience life that way.

  2. Martha Davis
    Martha DavisReply
    June 17, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    If we could all be less like Martha and more like Mary!

    Luke 10:38-42 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

  3. Mary Torgersen
    Mary TorgersenReply
    June 18, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Amen Cookie! We drive this car, not the world. I find great peace in removing myself from the world!!!

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