• calebharlan

QUADS Material: Week 2

Updated: Sep 7




Let’s Talk about What We LOVE


Last week your QUAD discussed busyness, looking at why we are busy and what affects that has on us.


This week we will continue that discussion except have it with this underlying premise: We are hurried, and stay hurried, because we LOVE what our hurriedness provides us, yet we cannot remain hurried if we want to LOVE what truly matters most: God and our neighbor (Matt. 22:37-39)


Hurry: “Involves excessive haste or a state of urgency. A state of frantic effort one falls into in response to inadequacy, fear and guilt. The simple essence of hurry is too much to do!”


READ:


The Top 10 Symptoms of “Hurried-Sickness” - by John Mark Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

1. Irritability—You get mad, frustrated, or just annoyed way too easily. Little, normal things irk you. People have to tiptoe around your ongoing low-grade negativity, if not anger. Word of advice from a fellow eggshell-expert: to self-diagnose don’t look at how you treat a colleague or neighbor; look at how you treat those closest to you: your spouse, children, roommate, etc.

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. Minor things quickly escalate to major emotional events. Depending on your personality, this might show up as anger or nitpickyness or anxiety or depression or just tiredness. Point is, the ordinary problems of life this side of Eden have a disproportionate effect on your emotional well-being and relational grace. You can’t seem to roll with the punches.

3. Restlessness—When you actually do try to slow down and rest, you can’t relax. You give Sabbath a try, and you hate it. You read Scripture but find it boring. You have quiet time with God but can’t focus your mind. You go to bed early but toss and turn with anxiety. You watch TV but simultaneously check your phone, fold laundry, and get into a spat on Twitter (okay, maybe you just answer an email). Your mind and body are hyped up on the drug of speed, and when they don’t get the next dopamine fix, they shiver.

4. Workaholism (or just nonstopactivity)—You just don’t know when to stop. Or worse, you can’t stop. Another hour, another day, another week. Your drugs of choice are accomplishment and accumulation. These could show up as careerism or just as obsessive housecleaning and errand running. Result: you fall prey to “sunset fatigue,” where by day’s end you have nothing left to give to your spouse, children, or loved ones. They get the grouchy, curt, overtired you, and it’s not pretty.

5. Emotional numbness—You just don’t have the capacity to feel another’s pain. Or your own pain for that matter. Empathy is a rare feeling for you. You just don’t have the time for it. You live in this kind of constant fugue.

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 feel like you don’t have time for what really matters to you. Months often go by or years—years—or, God forbid, maybe it’s been decades—and you realize you still haven’t gotten around to all the things you said were the most important in your life.

7. Lack of care for your body—You don’t have time for the basics: eight hours of sleep a night; daily exercise; healthy, home-cooked food; minimal stimulants; margin. You gain weight. Get sick multiple times a year. Regularly wake up tired. Don’t sleep well. Live off the four horsemen of the industrialized food apocalypse: caffeine, sugar, processed carbs, and alcohol.

8. Escapist behaviors—When we’re too tired to do what’s actually life giving for our souls, we each turn to our distraction of choice: overeating, overdrinking, binge-watching Netflix, browsing social media, surfing the web, looking at porn—name your preferred cultural narcotic. Narcotics are good, healthy even, on an occasional and short-term basis when they shield us from unnecessary pain; but when we abuse them to escape from reality, they eat us alive. You find yourself stuck in the negative feedback loop of socially acceptable addictions.

9. Slippage of spiritual disciplines—If you’re anything like me, when you get overbusy, the things that are truly life giving for your soul are the first to go rather than your first go to—such as a quiet time in the morning, Scripture, prayer, Sabbath, worship on Sunday, a meal with your community, and so on. Because in an ironic catch-22, the things that make for rest actually take a bit of emotional energy and self-discipline. When we get overbusy, we get overtired, and when we get overtired, we don’t have the energy or discipline to do what we need most for our souls. Repeat. The cycle begins to feed off its own energy. So instead of life with God, we settle for life with a Netflix subscription and a glass of cheap red wine. A very poor substitute. Not because time wasted on TV is the great Satan but because we rarely get done binge-watching anything (or posting to social media, or overeating Five Guys burgers and fries, etc.) and feel awake and alive from the soul outward, rested, refreshed, and ready for a new day. We delay the inevitable: an emotional crash. And as a consequence, we miss out on the life-giving sense of the with-ness of God.

10. Isolation—You feel disconnected from God, others, and your own soul. On those rare times when you actually stop to pray (and by pray I don’t mean ask God for stuff; I mean sit with God in the quiet), you’re so stressed and distracted that your mind can’t settle down long enough to enjoy the Father’s company. Same with your friends: when you’re with them, you’re also with your phone or a million miles away in your mind, running down the to-do list. And even when you’re alone, you come face to face with the void that is your soul and immediately run back to the familiar groove of busyness and digital distraction.

DISCUSS:

1. How many of the above list resonate with you? Do any of them stand out in particular? Are you concerned by this?


2. Philosopher Jamie Smith in his book called “You Are What You Love” teaches that we are creatures of LOVE. We do what we want to do. Even in our worst moments, a particular love/want/desire trumped another. So if I get defensive and act in a mean way towards a friend, it’s because in that moment I LOVED feeling right/powerful more then I LOVED my friend and our relational peace. So I sin. Our actions expose our desires. We do what we want to do. Therefore, what does your hurriedness tell you about what you love? (i.e. I LOVE how others see me, so I will burn myself out so that I don’t get found out as a failure. Other’s opinions of me drives my hurriedness)

“The rush and pressure of modern life is a pervasive form of contemporary violence.” (Thomas Merton)

"Violence is a perfect work, because hurry kills relationships. Love takes time; hurry doesn’t have it. It kills joy, gratitude, appreciation; people in a rush don’t have time to enter the goodness of the moment. It kills wisdom; wisdom is born in the quiet, the slow. Wisdom has it’s own pace. It makes you wait for it - wait for the inner voice to come to the surface of your tempestuous mind, but not until waters of thought settle and calm.

Hurry kills all that we hold dear: spirituality, health, marriage, family, thoughtful work, creativity, generosity… name your value. Hurry is the sociopathic predator loose in our society." (Comer)


3. We love what the hurriedness gets us, but we love the wrong thing. Talk with your group about how you think those loves are negatively affecting your life?

So what do we do about this?


4. How do human beings become different people over time?


5. What does it mean to worship someone or something? What’s love got to do with it?


6. Read Philippians 1:9-11. That word “approve” or “discern” in v. 10 means to test. Think about a multiple choice test. Assuming there is a right answer to that “test,” what does Paul say will help you choose correctly?


7. Read Luke 10:35-37 (Good Samaritan) The priest and the Levite were in a hurry. The Samaritan had the compassion and the capacity to help the man on the side of the road. Is your hurriedness affecting how you love your neighbor?

We (RUF) believe the Gospel reshapes what we LOVE by the power of the Spirit. This is a process, a journey, a path. The Gospel exposes our false and destructive LOVES and invites us into a life of repentance and faith. Faith is looking to Jesus, with love. And the process of change, as Paul says, happens when our loves change. The more we love and value Jesus, the more we approve what is good. The more we LOVE God, the more we will naturally want to LOVE our neighbor.

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