Each month, you’ll hear from one of us on what we’re reading and a little bit about the book. This month we’re sharing book notes on John Mark Comer’s The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry Enjoy!
I don’t know how it’s possible, but this season has felt both slow and busy at the same time. There’s been slowness because of cancelled plans, but busyness because of the constant shifts and changes we’ve been experiencing. For me, it has been a crazy season but also a beautiful opportunity to step back in the rare, slower moments.
In fact, as I recently packed my bags for a vacation, I tossed in John Mark Comer’s The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry—the lakeside read I didn’t know I needed.
John Mark starts by presenting a problem: our culture of hurry. And in case we question how much of a problem it really is to operate in a state of constant busyness, John Mark describes what starts to happen:
“Hurry kills relationships. Love takes time; hurry doesn’t have it.
It kills joy, gratitude, appreciation; people in a rush don’t have time to enter the goodness of the moment.
It kills wisdom; wisdom is born in the quiet, the slow.”1
As someone who maintains a pretty busy lifestyle, I was struck by how intensely John Mark describes the ways hurry damages our lives—both emotionally and spiritually. Maybe I really needed to pay attention. Maybe living in a hurry was a bigger deal than I thought.
While John Mark certainly doesn’t shy away from painting a picture of the dangers of a life of hurry, he also delivers his words in a way that doesn’t lead me to feel shameful. But I do think he’s sounding an alarm for us and calling us into a different way of living in step with Jesus.
As John Mark says, “Jesus’s invitation is to take up his yoke—to travel through life at his side, learning from him how to shoulder the weight of life with ease. To step out of the burnout society to a life of soul rest.”2
Y’all, what an invitation! I love that John Mark points to the habits of Jesus throughout the book, inviting us to look at the rhythms that were important to Jesus.
In the second half of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, John Mark dives into four spiritual disciplines that he argues will help us on the road to a slower life: silence and solitude, Sabbath, simplicity, and slowing.
Honestly, this section of the book challenged me in many ways—showcasing the exhaustion that sets in when we don’t practice these things—but I also found it incredibly hopeful. Each of these disciplines takes just that—discipline. And that means that it takes time to learn how to sabbath or to sit in silence or to embrace slowness over efficiency sometimes. I can see the hard work in that, but I can also see the grace. People who have been walking with the Lord for quite some time are still learning what these rhythms look like in their own lives.
While I have not successfully taken a full-day Sabbath each week or learned to sit in regular silence, I am noticing myself pausing—even for just a moment—when I start to feel the desire to rush rear its head. I’m starting to ask myself, “Why am I in such a hurry at this moment?”
As John Mark says in one of my favorite quotes from the book, “What if the day, what if time itself isn’t a scarce resource to seize but a gift to receive with grateful joy?”3
If you’re looking for rhythms to slow down, if you’re looking to find yourself more present with those you love, grab a copy of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.
Jessica Yentzer is a marketing strategist on Lifeway’s Adult Ministry team. Well-written memoirs, dark chocolate, a good running trail, and the perfect fall day are just a few of the things that put a smile on her face. When she’s not crafting marketing strategy, she loves hiking and exploring the outdoors with her husband, Grant.
1. John Mark Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry (Colorado Springs: WaterBrook, 2019), 52.
2. Ibid., 80.
3. Ibid., 250.