The Solution…..?

If you’re still reading this blog today then it’s likely that you, like me (and I expect most people), recognize the symptoms of hurry sickness, can see how it’s negatively affecting our lives….and want a way out.

What’s the answer?

Well, tracing John Mark Comer’s book, the solution is not: MORE TIME.

“If only there were ten more hours in the day!”……is not a real solution. 

What would we do with it?  Learn a new skill, enjoy a new place, travel to new sites, help more people…..maybe a whole load of incredibly good things……but before we know it that time is gone and we have the same issue.

The solution to an over-busy life is not more time.  It is slowing down and simplifying life around what really matters.  It is learning to ‘live deliberately’.

Our problem is that we want to ‘be like God’ – Genesis 3:5 – doing everything, enjoying everything, eating everything, experiencing and achieving everything, not missing out on anything. 

Even to the point of ‘entertainment anxiety’  (no joke) –  we have reached a point where there is so much good content to watch that, if we hear someone talking about a show we haven’t seen, we have a pang of anxiety that we’re missing out on yet another thing! …. #YOLO  #FOMO

There is a harsh truth that we have to hear:

You.

Can’t.

Do.

It.

All.

Neither can I.

Harsh.  Yet freeing.

The beginning of a solution comes from recognizing our limitations.

Comer points out that the bible describes humanity as created in the image of God from the dust of the earth. Image and dust.  We are this strange combination of carrying the Divine DNA, made to reflect the glory of God, sharing the capacity to reshape the raw material of our planet…

…and dust.

We hear a lot today about taking risks, going big, seeking dreams, living our technicolor selves.

We hear almost nothing about learning to live in our limitations.

Yet we all have them.  (Comer lists 10 that are well worth looking up and reading).

Our bodies, minds, giftings, family history, emotional makeup…. Yes, these are all areas for potential and opportunity too….but they are limited and finite.  I can’t be in two places at once, I will never know everything there is to know, there will always be someone with greater gifts than me, some of us carry wounds and hurts from history and past, all of us have different ways our minds and hearts work for capacity to do different things.

And one we all face is: TIME.

Whether you’re a shift-juggling single mum or a high-flying CEO…..we all have just 24 hours in the day.

And so:

“Life is a series of choices.  Every yes is a thousand nos. Every activity we give our time to is a thousand activities we can’t give our time to.”

The nagging worry and real danger is that we simply waste spend our lives being busy and discover too late that we never really lived. Comer hits us with more stats to bring the point home.

We enough time.  The question is what we choose to do with it.

Yet here’s the rub…..most of us want to use our time wisely.  It’s just not that easy. We have responsibilities, pressures, challenges.  We hate how addictive we are, how easily distracted we become. 

“How do we slow down, simplify, and live deliberately right in the middle of the chaos of the noisy, fast-paced, urbain, digital world we call home?”

Photo by Paul Jai on Unsplash

The answer? FOLLOW JESUS.

Jesus is a teacher.  Yes, he is far more than that too – Son of God, Saviour of the world – but he was (and we often forget) a teacher.

Just like any Jewish teacher (Rabbi), Jesus had two things:

  • A yoke.  Literally, a yoke is a wooden pole that links two oxen together to pull a heavy load.  But it also means a collection of teachings and an understanding of how to be human.
  • Disciples.  Which simply means: apprentices.

To learn from Jesus as his apprentice we shape our lives around 3 simple goals, to:

  1. Be with Jesus
  2. Become like Jesus
  3. Do what Jesus would do if he were us

“The whole point of apprenticeship is to model all of your life after Jesus.  And in doing so to recover your soul.  To have the warped part of you put back into shape.  To experience healing in the deepest parts of your being.  To experience what Jesus called “life…to the full.” What the New Testament writers call “salvation”.”

This is what Jesus repeatedly called people to through the simple invitation: Follow Me.

And he gave another invitation you might remember too:

“Come to me all 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 is the invitation Jesus still makes today (well worth reading in the Message translation).  To every one of us.  To you and to me.

Yet there may well be many of us reading who are already Christians.  Who believe what we read in this place and yet are asking the question: but why am I still hurry sick?  Why am I still rushing, carrying anxiety, being distracted and addicted to things I know are not good for me….?  What am I missing?

Two thoughts to close that will lead us into the rest of this series:

First, many of us shout ‘Yes!’ to the life Jesus offers, but we never actually take up the lifestyle he lived. In Comer’s words:

“If you want to experience the life of Jesus, you have to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus”.

He explains it with an example of seeing runners in their running gear, looking incredible and toned, beautiful bodies….and his thinking: I want that! Then thinking about the lifestyle that goes with it, the early morning training, watching of diets, dedication and choices made.  And he leaves it behind.

Comer was attracted to the life, but not the lifestyle.

We do the same with Jesus.  And so we miss the point.

“Your life is the byproduct of your lifestyle.  By life I mean you’re experience of the human condition, and by lifestyle I mean the rhythms and routines that make up your day-to-day existence.  The way you organize your time.  Spend your money.”

The second thought is simply this: life is hard.  Throughout the centuries wise women and men have come to the same conclusion.  There is no ‘easy life’ – that’s a myth created by advertisers, but it simply doesn’t exist.  Life is tough.  There are burdens, responsibilities, challenges, issues that we all face personally and together.  The world can offer us distraction whilst promising what many of us long for – escape. 

Yet Jesus gives us something better: equipment. A yoke.  Practical teaching on how to be human with him.  He invites us to walk with him, shoulder to shoulder, through the mess of this broken world, with him carrying the weight.

The definition of insanity is to do the same things expecting different results.  The remainder of Comer’s book and these blogs is an invitation to sanity: to take practical steps learning from Jesus how to reshape our lifestyle to walk with Him and share in the life he promised and made possible.

Are we willing?

That’s the journey we’re taking as a church community.  The core of being ‘church’ for us is not an entertaining weekly event, but shaping our lives around Jesus through simple habits, learning together in hubs of a dozen people, and sharing life with others through our hands of kindness, creativity and prayer.  

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