Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
This book has received high praise indeed, not least of all from me. I promise you that John Mark Comer’s book, ‘The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry’, is a balm for your hurried soul. Steeped in layer upon layer of good practice and spirituality, inspired by the likes of Dallas Willard and John Ortberg, Comer helps us to embrace afresh what it means to be ‘an apprentice of Jesus.’
The book is formed of three parts: The Problem, The Solution and Four Practices for “unhurrying your life.” In the first part, Comer unpacks how hurry has become the enemy of the spiritual life and that our rushing has reduced our connectivity with Jesus. Comer challenges us to think about what we are becoming: more hurried, more stressed or more like Jesus, asking “what is all this distraction, addiction and pace of life doing to our souls?” A little later, he offers this solution to an over busy life: “it’s to slow down and simplify our lives around what really matters.”
With personal insights from his own story, Comer urges his readers to rethink their timescales and their priorities so that can they reap the blessing of practising the ways of Jesus. The four practices Comer encourages us to adopt are, Silence & Solitude, Sabbath, Simplicity, and Slowing. He offers plenty of practical tools to pick and choose from, for example, dumbing down your smart phone (i.e. take off the apps, email etc); arrive 10 minutes early for an appointment ‘sans phone’ and use the time to pray; walk slower; take up journaling. As Comer says, “every single rule here is life giving for me. Even fun.”
Truly, there is no condemnation within these pages, only a sense of urgency that the Church would remain ‘emotionally healthy and spiritually alive in the chaos of the modern world.’ There are few books I would read again, but this one I think I will, maybe in a year’s time, just to check and see how hurried I am twelve months from now.
If you enjoyed Soul Keeping by John Ortberg, The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard or Richard Foster’s, Celebration of Discipline, this book’s for you!