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Let’s play Jeopardy. Here is the answer: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life, for hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our world today.”

What was the question?

John Ortberg asked Dallas Willard what he would recommend to bring new energy to his spiritual life.

We have come to the final month in 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker (months one through six here, here, here, here, and here). She ended with an easy one: stress.

Cue the nervous laugh.

As she said, it’s easier to wear one shirt over and over than to reduce stress in a world that bombards us with more. More opportunities, more ways to waste time, more books to read, shows to watch, music to listen to, tasks to do. We cram and we cram and we cram more in to our days and schedules and then use our favorite word: busy.  Jen wanted to pray seven times a day. Have I mentioned that it’s easier to wear the same shirt over and over?

Shaken up river water. That’s how Ruth Haley Barton’s mentor described her. In Invitation to Solitude and Silence Barton explained how she had to learn the importance of learning to sit — even for ten minutes a day– to let the river water of her soul settle a bit.

Ruthless eliminate hurry. Let the shaken up river water in my soul settle.

I can picture this so easily because I can resemble it so closely it’s eerie.

This whispers to me, letting me know that while I can’t control all the junk (and good stuff) that life is going to throw at me, I do not have to jump like Pavlov’s dog salivating at a bell. Long conditioned to the messages to, be, cram more in, God knew what he was up to when he blessed the seventh day. All of the other days he called ‘good’ or ‘very good,’ but this one he blessed.

Small practices of sitting, reading, meditating at ten minutes a pause can be enough to slow me down to hear from God. In our all-or-nothing cultural messages, we find it hard to believe that moments of rest and silence can be woven into our day.

So, here we come to the end. How has it gone? Well, I didn’t part with all of the pairs of shoes I said I would. BUT I did move other pairs along for the same total number of pairs. I have cleaned out four drawers and have helped two men in Cambodia with loans through Kiva.org (go there right now. Stop reading and go to Kiva. And family members, I hope you like getting loans for birthday and holiday presents!). I don’t mean for this to be “I did this” or “Look at how great I am.” I really didn’t do much, my point is, if I read and preach and then show NO change in my behavior, I’m like a clanging gong and not a church bell that links me to a world much greater than me.

And there in lies one of the greatest lessons of the book. John 3:30 come to life. He must increase, but I must decrease.

What is one thing you’ve done in response to this series?

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