Cover Image: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

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John Mark Comer came to a point in his life when he realised that the way he was living, always being in a hurry, was not healthy. He decided he didn’t want to live that way any longer and so chose to do something about it. This book is a result of the changes he made. In his book, he passes on things he has learned from spending time alone with Jesus.

In Part 1, Comer considers ‘The Problem’.

Comer writes that Jesus wants to grow love, joy and peace in our lives and that all three are incompatible with hurry.

He writes that in our lives of hurry, we are, even if we do not realise it, losing our souls. We live without a sense of God’s presence with us because our attention is taken up with such things as our phones and our to-do lists. God is present but because our attention is taken up with other things, we are not aware of him.

In Part 2, Comer looks at ‘The Solution’.

The solution to our over-busy lives is not more time. If we had more time, we would just end up filling it up with more. The solution is “to slow down and simplify our lives around what really matters.”

Comer takes us back to the Bible to consider the teachings of Jesus and how it is possible for us to live in today’s fast-paced world as Jesus’ apprentices. He explains if we were to model our lives on Jesus, we would recover our souls. 

In Part 3, Comer looks at Four Practices (habits, or disciplines) for Unhurrying Your Life.

•	Silence and Solitude.
Silence is both external and internal. Solitude is alone time with God and with our soul. Comer helpfully explains what happens if we don’t practice this soul habit taught by Jesus and also the blessing to us when we do practice this discipline.

•	Sabbath
Comer writes how Sabbath is more than one day a week but is actually a way of being in the world. Observing a weekly Sabbath enables us to live in this world for the whole week. I found it a challenging section and there are definitely some suggestions I want to put into practice.

•	Simplicity
In this section, Comer shares his top twelve principles for practising simplicity. 

•	Slowing
Comer writes if we can slow down our body and mind, we can slow down our souls too. He gives some examples of how to practice the spiritual discipline of slowing. 

Some of the ideas here and in other parts of his book I really like and want to put into practice. For me, now is a great time to do so, whilst we are still living restricted lives due to Covid-19. If I can practice them now, I can form some healthy habits ready for when life returns to some kind of normality and continue on with them for the rest of my life. 

If you are tired with the way you are living, feeling hurried and overwhelmed, then this book is for you. It will show you there is a different, better way to live, one which is better for our Christian walk, for our emotional, physical and spiritual health and for our relationships with others. 

Cromer writes from a Biblical perspective, drawing on the life and teaching of Jesus. I found his writing to be clear and easy to understand. There is plenty to think about, plenty to be challenged by and various practical suggestions to try.
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Do you have any of these symptoms?

Irritability
Hypersensitivity
Restlessness
Workaholism
Lack of Self-Care
Slippage of Spiritual Disciplines

These symptoms point toward hurry sickness, per Pastor John Mark Comer.

This book was written pre-COVID-19. Prior to that, most of us didn't know how to slow down. Then we were forced to. This book proved prophetic to crashing our idols of productivity.

We were forced to confront our hurry sickness by sitting with ourselves.

Comer writes,

“Hurry and love are incompatible. All my worst moments as a father, a husband, and a pastor, even as a human being, are when I’m in a hurry—late for an appointment, behind on my unrealistic to-do list, trying to cram too much into my day.”

If we want to walk with God, we best stop running.

“There’s a reason people talk about ‘walking’ with God, not ‘running’ with God. It’s because God is love.”

The question now going forward is: Will we add hurry back into our lives again? Or will we maintain a slower pace of life?

“Very little can be done with hurry that can’t be done better without it. Especially our lives with God. And even our work for God.”

I know the pace will pick up some. It already has. But I don’t want to slide back into hurry. Because I believe this to be true:

“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.”

I recommend this book to keep living a slower pace.

My thanks to Net Galley, WaterBrook & Multnomah for the review copy of this book.
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I had been wanting to read this book for a while.  A friend had recommended it as their top book of 2019, so it had a lot to live up to, but I’m almost certain it will end up being one of my favourite books of 2020.  
It’s an interesting book to read at a time when much of the normal hurry has been ruthlessly eliminated in such an extreme way, but surely this is a good opportunity to stop and evaluate life.
John Mark Comer gets to the point quickly, describing hurry as “the great enemy of spiritual life”.  He explores the “history of speed” (how the pace of life has got faster and faster) and looks at some of the consequences for our emotional, mental and spiritual health.
Then he moves on to look for answers.  His conclusion:
“The solution to an overbusy life is not more time.  It’s to slow down and simplify our lives around what really matters.”
He points us to the example of Jesus to look at how to do this, as well as sharing some practical advice, and his own experience of practices such as solitude, silence and simplifying that have helped him to live a less hurried life.
It is a great book – easy to read, but full of wisdom, and very thought-provoking.
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What an excellent and timely read.  I will reference it again and again, more than just about Sabbath (which I think is great) but about what it really means to slow life down.
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Reading a book on eliminating hurry during quarantine was an interesting experiment. You'd think with the world slowed down, my heart would match its pace. As I read through John Mark Comer's The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, I realized how much busyness is a part of my lifestyle. That needs to change. I feel it in my soul.

This quote really struck me: "The mind is the portal to the soul, and what you fill your mind with will shape the trajectory of your character." Wow! Something is deeply wrong!

John Mark Comer is smart and sincere. He gently and humorously leads readers through a modern version of Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline. The footnotes are gold. I think I added 22 books to my "want to read" pile! He has read prolifically and he synthesizes what he's contemplated from those readings effortlessly.

I am going to go back and read this one slowly. This would be a great book to read through with friends. I know I'll be recommending it to everyone. 

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley. All of my opinions are my own!
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It’s true that our greatest strength can also become our greatest weakness. In this mothering life, it’s a great mercy that I can fold laundry, listen to a podcast, and monitor dinner on the stove, all while pondering the introduction for my next book review. The real question is, “Can I stop the multi-tasking when I should? Can I devote my undivided attention to the words of a son on the phone or to the excited ramblings of my blue-eyed granddaughter?”

The answer is sad, but hopeful:  Not without focused intention in that direction.

Motivation for this improvement in my life has come recently from the writing of John Mark Comer. In a season of preaching six times every Sunday (!!!), he stopped long enough to ask, “What if I changed my life?” He captures that journey away from a life of hurry and his movement toward an embrace of Jesus’s easy yoke and light burden in The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World.

I read Comer’s invitation to “live freely and lightly” while on vacation.
He’s simply echoing the words of Jesus:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Exchanging the Hurry-Up Lifestyle
Perfect, right? Watching all the frenzied souls teeming through airports and lined up in city traffic, I could nod my head virtuously and agree fully with his premise that “hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.” (Loc 288) But here’s the catch: In my everyday, non-vacationing life, there is SO much that needs doing, and I don’t have a staff! I wear several hats, and everything I do is important (to someone, anyway).

How do I exchange my own hurry-up lifestyle for something closer to what Jesus modeled? How do I avoid the trap John Ortberg describes: “The great danger is not that we will reounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives istead of actually living them.” (Loc 388)

The solution Comer tenders is unpopular and is certainly not the stuff bestsellers are made of:

Accept your limitations. Accept Jesus’s easy yoke.”

Jesus’s Easy Yoke
In New Testament times, “the yoke” was a way of thinking about a teacher’s manner of reading Torah. Jesus describes his own way of shouldering the load as “easy,” and twelve men apprenticed under him in that invitation to the easy yoke. Eugene Peterson referred to this as “the unforced rhythms of grace,” which sounds delightfully theological, but, as with many things in life, huge changes come with the accumulation of a number of small lifestyle adjustments.

With that in mind, how can a 21st-century hurry-addicted Enneagram 3 adopt the lifestyle of Jesus?

Comer traces hurry to three momentous historic inventions:

The Roman sundial by which we began to measure and slice and dice our hours;
 The light bulb by which we began to extend our productivity and shrink our sleep;
The smart phone by which we carry the world in our pocket.
He then goes on to describe and to offer guidelines for adopting a rule of life that makes room for interruptions (which may actually turn out to be the main thing after all) and to leave room for prayer, rest, and healthy community. Spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude, sabbath, simplicity, and slowing sound quaint and even liturgical to modern ears, and yet they are medicine for the contiually rushing and anxious soul.

Practical applications of a slowing lifestyle might include driving the speed limit, choosing the longest line at the grocery store, setting mindful limits around the tyranny of email, limiting social media and television, or purposefully choosing to remember how to single-task.  Now that I’m back from vacation, I have begun putting these adjustments to the test–the question being not, “Will they work?” (I can see that the suggestions make abundant sense.) Rather the real question is this:

“Can I embrace, by faith, an unhurried life and trust that what I have accomplished in my allotted time is all that God intended for me to do?”

We’ll see…

Many thanks to Waterbrook Multomah for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.
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This was definitely one of my favorite reads in 2019. I think we all know that our lives are moving at pace that feels too fast for us. We love the thrill of the ride, but when we look back, we realized we’ve missed the delights of the scenery along the way. Is that the feeling I want to have when my life comes to a close, or do I want to soak in the time that I have and use it to the glory of my King? John Mark Comer writes in an engaging and friendly way, while presenting some profound (and often convicting) truth. In an age where just the words “spiritual discipline” make people cringe, he gets you excited with his zeal and practicality. He makes what feels daunting accessible to anyone. Comer gives a thoughtful, yet practical examination for the need of Sabbath in our lives, as well as teaching the command to partake from the scriptures. The practices found in this book are simple, but are likely far from easy for the average American. 
Whether or not you think you lead a life that is too busy, I think this is a good read for any believer. Exchange your busyness for Sabbath, and watch your life transform.
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Spiritual disciplines for the millennial from a very thoughtful perspective. I found this title to be very refreshing, approachable, and honest.
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An excellent book.  I heard John Mark on a podcast and was so excited to get to read his book.  I have recommended it to countless friends.
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The world needs more books like this. Books that challenge the status quo and encourage readers to look beyond for something more life giving, more centered around Christ and his call on our lives. This book is all that. Theologically sound. Easy to read. Maybe not easy to implement but definitely worth the struggle against cultural norms. I finished this book in a day. Now I need to go back and read it again... and again. This will stay on my shelf as a reference as I seek to live this type of Christ centered more contemplative style life. 
I received a copy of this book from netgalley. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.
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With simplicity and frankness, Comer invites the reader to consider what he sees as the problems caused in our culture and society by our obsession with, and overwhelming tendency to, hurry. He compares those problems to what the Gospels tell us of the way Jesus lived. Then he lays out some of the practices that he has found to be helpful in orienting his life toward the latter rather than the former. The book reads as though you were having a conversation with a kind, wise friend who was pointing you towards a better way, without guilting or shaming you for the way you'd been living up to that point. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be recommending it to others.
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This book is a game changer. It's also one of the few "Christian Living" books that I would highly recommend for someone who isn't affiliated with the faith as it shows how the way of Jesus is a path to rescue us from the "Hurry disease" of the world. Comer writes in an easy to follow and conversive style without sacrificing depth. In a world where "I'm good, just busy" is seen as a norm, Comer points out that it should be a red flag and addresses why. This isn't your average everyday rule of life book - it's a challenge to the framework of our lives (which contains encouragement and guidance on how to move forward). Will probably continually return to read this title over the years.
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Really enjoyed this book as it addressed a common problem we all face today: hurry. Appreciate the author’s tone and suggestions to eliminate hurry. It was interesting how he weaved in personal examples along with history. Great read and will definitely recommend to friends and family!
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I really enjoyed this book by John Mark Comer. Although I'm familiar with his work, this is the first of his books I've read - and it didn't disappoint. Over the course of 2019, I've read a number of books on the importance of spiritual disciplines, saying no to hurry and distraction and standing up against the culture of "busy" we live in - and this was one of, by far, the best. 
I appreciated his transparency about his own personal experience - and the realistic challenges that come when we start to eliminate hurry from our lives. I enjoyed the way he integrated truths from greats like Dallas Willard with his own thoughts, as well as Scripture. The way he introduced the idea of becoming an "apprentice of Jesus" in today's world was thought provoking and very fitting.
While I didn't necessarily agree with every practice or discipline he highlighted or encouraged, I was okay with that - because the concept of being an "apprentice of Jesus" is one I can accurately figure out how to apply in my own life - and for that, I'm thankful.
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This book can and will be a life changer for someone. We live in a life of hurry. We rush around with the rhythm of the world and not the patterns of God. In this book you will simply be shown how important it is to eliminate the hurry in your life. 
It’s a stress inducing chaos that damages health and relationships. 
There is an example utilizing the vine that stuck out. A vine grows on a trellis, a framework, a pattern. This is what holds it up. We need to replace the broken and brittle framework of the world with the healthy disciplines of God that bring us true peace, hope and joy. 
This book is ideal for study personally or in a group. 

Thanks to the vendor for supplying a free ebook for this review. The book was free but the opinion is mine.
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John Mark Comer is one of the most profound authors that has impacted my Christian journey. God Has A Name May have been the most impactful Christian work I have read. This book carries that same weight but in a more practical way. It’s one I will come back to time and time again. It’s a message we all need to hear now.
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This book is so relevant for these modern times as many of us in the church have allowed the ways of the world to seduce us to believe they will satisfy. Comer brings a tremendously insightful perspective to the "easy yoke of Jesus" and provides both the rationale and practical know-how in adopting it as one's mantra for life.

The first half of the book addresses the problems associated with the modern hurried life. The second half introduces us to the 4 "S's" of doing life adopting the "easy yoke": Silence & Solitude, Sabbath, Simplicity and Slowing. 

Comer is a voracious reader and I love that he embellishes his own thoughts with those of many who've both gone before him or doing life presently. We share many of the same 'literary' heroes but he's also introduced me to a number of his that I was less familiar with.

I expect I'll be buying copies to distribute to friends and I hope the impact of Comer's words is felt far and wide to help influence a revival in the lives of the church community to discover this 'easy yoke' that Jesus invites us to adopt.

This should become compulsory reading for all students studying some form of spiritual formation, theology and so on.

I received an early "Uncorrected Proof" e-book from Waterbrook/NetGalley, however, this has had no influence over my opinions expressed in this review.
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Absolute must read book! This is exactly what I needed to refocus me from my hurried life and remind me of the importance of living a more intentional and less hurried life. A hurried life distracts us from what is most important and robs our souls of peace. This book is very eye opening and challenging as the author utilizes convicting quotes, powerful research, and impactful stories. It challenges us to life the way God intended us to live and not at the frantic pace that has become the societal norm. This is a quick and easy read, but its truths run deep and resonate in the reader's mind. I found myself meditating on this book for days afterward and considering how to make practical life application of what I gleaned from this insightful read. It calls to question if we are truly enjoying being so busy and sparks the desire to make changes to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life at a slower, more intentional pace.
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This book contains truth and practices of crucial need in our modern lives. The author begins by sharing his own story of burn out which I found of great encouragement and help. The book then goes on to speak on the dangers of hurry and technology alongside the importance of being emotionally and spiritually healthy..

Technology has helped us and yet also challenged us with constant notifications that make us reachable 24/7. Hurry, busyness and productivity have become near gods in our lives, controlling us in ways that can quickly lead to burn out. One could even say they have begun to control many of us.

I believe this book is a critical message for our general. Hurry is presented as the enemy of our spiritual lives, and rightfully so. Hurry is uncovered as an issue affecting even the depths of our souls. Addiction to technology is shown as the controlling idol it has become. The question is, will we let this knowledge spur us to action or not?

This book explains how certain spiritual disciplines and life-altering practices can help alleviate the toxicity of hurry in our lives. These practices include silence and solitude, sabbath-keeping and rest, simplicity and slowing down. By employing these spiritual practices in our lives, we will find hurry and distraction no longer keeping us from living life as we should live it. We can begin to find ourselves truly present in every moment.
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“What’s hard isn’t following Jesus. What’s hard is following myself, doing my life my way; therein lies the path to exhaustion. With Jesus there’s still a yoke, a weight to life, but it’s an easy yoke, and we never carry it alone.”
Quote from The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer 

We live in a time where we see people going through life in a hurry. In a hurry to get a job promotion. In a hurry to get the latest technology. In a hurry to binge watch the latest Netflix show or get the newest, most stylist clothes. What if you don’t have to live life in a hurry? What if living a simple, minimalist life is truly better for you? John Mark Comer invites you to look at the deeper meaning of living a life of slowing down. He shares four practices that have helped him live a simple life and shares how they can help us as well.
1) Silence and Solitude
2) Sabbath
3)Simplicity
4)Slowing

I received a complimentary e-copy from Netgalley for a review. All opinions are my own.
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