10 Symptoms of hurry sickness

(adapted from The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, by John Mark Comer)

1. Irritability: You get mad, frustrated, or just annoyed way too easily. Little, normal things irk you. People have to tiptoe around your negativity and/or anger.

2. Hypersensitivity: All it takes is a minor comment to hurt your feelings, a grumpy email to set you off, or a little turn of events to throw you into an emotional funk and ruin your day. You can’t seem to roll with the punches.

3. Restlessness: When you actually try to slow down and rest, you can’t relax. You give Sabbath a try and hate it. You read the Bible, but get bored. You have quiet time with God, but you’re easily distracted. You watch TV, but simultaneously check your phone, fold laundry, answer email, etc.

4. Workaholism (or just non-stop activity): You just don’t know how to stop. Or worse, you can’t stop. Your drugs of choice are accumulation and accomplishment. Result: you fall prey to “sunset fatigue,” where by the day’s end you have nothing left to give your spouse, children, or loved ones. They get the grouchy and overtired version of you, and it’s not pretty.

5. Emotional numbness: You don’t have the capacity to feel someone else’s pain. Or your own pain for that matter. Empathy is a rare feeling for you. You just don’t have the time or patience for it.

6. Out-of-order priorities: You feel disconnected from your identity and calling. You’re always getting sucked into the tyranny of the urgent, not the important. Your life is reactive, not proactive. You’re busier than ever before yet still fell like you don’t have time for what really matters to you.

7. Lack of care for your body: You don’t have time for the basics: eight hours of sleep, daily exercise, home-cooked food, margin. You gain weight. get sick regularly, don’t sleep well and always wake up tired.

8. Escapist behaviours: When we’re too tired to do what is life giving for our souls, we turn to our distractions of choice: overeating, over-drinking, binge-watching Netflix, browsing social media, surfing the web, looking at porn, etc. We get stuck in a negative feedback loop of socially acceptable, yet soul damaging, addictions.    

9. Neglecting spiritual disciplines: When we get over-busy, and overtired, the things that are life-giving for the soul are the first to go rather than our first go-to. Worship, sabbath, quiet time with God, Bible reading, Church gatherings, prayer, and so on.

10. Isolation: You feel disconnected from God, others and your own soul. On the rare occasions that you actually stop to pray (not just asking God for stuff, but going deep in his presence) you’re so stressed and/or distracted that you can’t settle your mind enough to simply enjoy the Father’s company. The same with your friends. When you’re with them, you’re a million miles away. Sometimes it’s just easier to stay away from prayer (God), friends, or church…but for some reason that doesn’t help either.

How many of these 10 symptoms do you recognize in yourself? 4? 6? 8? All of them? You’re not alone! And there’s hope! Jesus is inviting you to sit at his feet and learn.

Try the following practice this week to break the cycle of hurry in your life:

Pick a day this week to disengage with your normal digital distractions. Put the phone away (all day, or for a few hours, or just for the hour before bed). Turn off the TV. Don’t read the latest news on COVID-19. Spend that time differently.

You could so something spiritual like pray or read your Bible. Or you could pick up that guitar that’s collecting dust in the closet, go for a walk or run, bake some cookies, write a letter or journal entry. Something that will help you break the cycle of hurry, even if only for a day. Afterward, think about how it felt.

Listen to the related sermon: The Enemy of Spiritual Life