The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry | John Ortberg

Summary of: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World
By: John Ortberg


Constant stress, noise, and haste have become normal aspects of modern life, but as author John Ortberg explores in ‘The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry,’ emotional and spiritual well-being can only flourish when we slow down and give ourselves the time to appreciate the present moment. This must-read book shows how haste can damage our relationships, physical health, and spiritual growth. Ortberg invites readers to explore four transformative practices inspired by Jesus’s lifestyle, which can change our relationship with time and help us prioritize the things that truly matter.

Rediscovering Real Success

Megachurch pastor, Comer, who seemed to have it all, realized that he lost sight of his spiritual mission and burned out from being too busy. He made the bold decision to resign and start a new journey as a pastor of a small church in Portland’s inner city. Although his new position was not as grand, he felt emotionally and spiritually fulfilled. Comer understood that success is more than just professional accomplishments, and real success is having a healthy mind and spirit.

The Cost of Busyness

Are we living an over-scheduled life because we’ve glorified busyness? This book exposes the physical and emotional impact of living life at a hurried pace that also challenges our spiritual well-being and invites readers into the benefits of slowing down to connect with our faith, relationships, and life.

In today’s society, it’s common to reply with “busy” when someone asks how we’re doing. However, this habit comes with a cost to our overall well-being, including our emotional and physical health, and our relationship with God. Rushing from one obligation to another has become so ingrained in our lives that we overlook its effects. Carl Jung once famously said that “hurry is the devil,” and it’s not hard to understand why.

Slowness, on the other hand, invites us to connect with our faith and live richer lives. We tend to dismiss the importance of being slow, but it allows us the time needed to relish our relationships and connect with our spiritual mentors. Jesus invites us to walk with Him, not to sprint with Him. While we’ve come to believe that dedicated diligence means not wasting time, it’s important to recognize that it can be just as ethical to pause and reflect.

The book presents the idea that we have glorified busyness to the point that love is at risk. Love takes time understanding, practicing and cultivating, and when we are in a hurry, we are critical, irritable, and snappish — that is not a loving state. Being busy disconnects us from church services, devotions, and spiritual routines.

This book challenges readers to recognize the impact of busyness and invites them into a life where they can live more fully with their faith, relationships, and life at a more measured pace.

The Evolution of Time

From the invention of the mechanical clock to the modern smartphone, technology has revolutionized our relationship with time. With each advancement, we gain convenience but lose something in return. We must learn to approach technology skeptically and value the benefits of a slower pace of life.

Embracing Limitations

We don’t need more time, we need to embrace our limitations and focus on what’s important. Living in a society driven by FOMO, we feel the pressure to do everything and be everywhere, but this is unrealistic and only leads to increased busyness. Instead, we should recognize our unique talents and socioeconomic limitations, and commit our time to doing what aligns with our values and abilities. By embracing our limitations, we can make conscious choices about how we spend our time and ultimately make the most of it.

Jesus: The Master of Time

The Bible offers not just moral teachings, but also a detailed biography of Jesus’s day-to-day life. Through His stories, we discover that Jesus practiced spiritual habits that are doable even in busy modern times. Jesus was never in a hurry, took time to recharge, and prioritized what truly mattered. He dined with friends, was fully present with people, and lived simply. In the following parts of the book, you’ll learn four practical lessons from Jesus’s life that can help transform our relationship with time.

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