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I think I might be suffering from a touch of “Hurry Sickness”. I tend to be an impatient person. There I said it. Those that know me will not find this to be an awakening. I don’t care for inefficiencies, and although this attitude can help me to be productive in many aspects of my life, it can also be a negative as well.

The term Hurry Sickness was coined by cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman who wrote about it in their book “Type A Behavior and Your Heart”. It’s considered a behavior pattern, not a diagnosable condition.

You might wonder if you are suffering from Hurry Sickness if you exhibit certain characteristics. Those with this behavioral sickness are often rushing and experience anxiousness and a persistent sense of urgency – even when there is no need to rush. They find it impossible to do just one task at a time (multitasking is essential), they get irritable when encountering a delay, they interrupt or talk over people, particularly if they are talking slowly, and checking things off their to-do list brings great satisfaction.

Check, check and check.

The problem with our constant hurrying is life passes us by very quickly and we wonder where the time went. We begin to experience regret that we didn’t take the time to slow down and appreciate the many precious moments. Most of us talk about how “time flies”, when in reality, God provides us with ample time to get the things done that are most important. The problem is we lose track of what is truly important.

It might be slowing down to drink in the precious moments with our children, or maybe missed opportunities to spend quality time with the people we love – only to have them pass away and lose the opportunity forever, or maybe it was being too busy to take a moment to make a difference in someone’s life. Whatever it is for you, don’t let future opportunities pass you by.

 “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” – James 4:14

So, if you are at all like me, how do we stop rushing life?  How do we stop blaming the time for our need to rush about? I believe it is imperative that we slow life down to where we can recognize those important moments and appreciate them more. 

We can start by carving out at least an hour on the weekend, and work up to daily, to rest and meditate on God’s Word. It can be time in a quiet room at home, or if sitting is a challenge, a casual walk. When we slow down and enter His presence more and more, what is most important in life will become clearer and clearer.

I have often had a hard time falling asleep at night because I just can’t seem to shut my mind off. I needed to find a way to slow down my nights and create a routine that will allow me to wind down from my busy day. To help with this, my wife and I now take time at the very end of our day to read God’s Word together. It is not for a long time, but it is a routine we created that allows us to slow things down. Do I still have issues with falling asleep? Yes, but it is far better than it used to be. What can I say? I am a work in progress.

A writer described “Hurry Sickness” like this: “We are all riding on a very fast train that is travelling down a predetermined track, gathering speed as it goes, and we have been on it for a long time. Many of us want to slow down; some want to get off the train. Others are so used to the speed that they don’t notice it. The few who love the speed are the only ones who get their way. Most of us stare blankly out of the window, barely seeing the world flying by and feeling helpless.” (David Kuntz – Stopping (Newleaf, 1998)

Evidence of “Hurry Sickness” is everywhere today. It’s on the roads, in the supermarket, on the plane, in the post office, and, believe it or not, in our churches at times. Choose not to have it in your home or to consume your life. Don’t regret the missed moments, but rather allow for the opportunity to appreciate them.

Mark Etting

Author Mark Etting

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