Unhurried is not always a good thing and hurried is not always a bad thing.

Generally speaking, when we think of being in a hurry, we deem it as wrong or unhealthy and when we think of moving slowly, we deem it as right and healthy. Today I would like to take another look at our understanding of hurried and unhurried and see it from a slightly different perspective.

The thoughts that follow are built on my reading of Alan Fadling’s excellent book, “An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest”

Let’s discuss this by thinking of four categories:

1. Holy/Healthy/Unhurried

In this case unhurried is holy and healthy. It means we are trusting his sovereign leadership in our lives and circumstances. We are moving at a good unhurried pace as we hear from him and respond to him. It is clear from scripture that this is the way Jesus lived. He was never late and never in a hurry, even though some thought he was late by not showing up when they wanted or needed him. In the case of Mary and Martha he deliberately delayed his arrival, much to their anxiety and disappointment.

2. Unholy/Unhealthy/Unhurried

Unhurried can be unholy and unhealthy when it is actually being lazy, passive, disobedient, indifferent and demonstrating a lack of concern and love for people.

There is a kind of unhurried that is really flat out irresponsibility and disobedience guised as trusting God! A number of years ago I was having a conversation with a gentleman who was out of work. When I asked him what he was doing to find a job, he replied that he was doing nothing–but was just resting in the Lord. There is a big difference between resting in the Lord and sleeping in the Lord. Not taking things seriously and assuming responsibility can look like a biblical unhurriedness, but it just might be laziness and disobedience to what God makes clear in scripture that he wants us to do

3. Holy/Healthy/Hurried

There is an appropriate time to be in a hurry–to be focused on the truly urgent and important when we are moving quickly in emergency kinds of situations. There are times when we need to be in crises mode, because there is a genuine crisis going on that demands speed and quickness of action.

The problem is when we are always and only in this mode. Then it becomes an ungodly and unhealthy hurried!

We have biblical examples of people being told to hurry. Lot said to his sons-in-law: “Hurry and get out of this place.” (Genesis 19:14) Joseph encourages his brothers to hurry home to their father. (Genesis 45:9) Moses encourages Aaron to hurry and make an atonement offering to God. (Numbers 16:46)

4. Unholy/Unhealthy/Hurried

When we are driven, impatient, overreaching, operating in the flesh for ego reasons, not practicing Sabbath and are always in crises mode, it is an unholy and unhealthy hurry.

“Many of us are permanently stuck in deadline mode, leaving very little time to ease off and recharge. The things that need slowness—strategic planning, creative thought, building relationships—get lost in the mad dash to keep up, or even just to look busy.”  Carl Honoré

The problem is when we find ourselves living with a constant sense of urgency; we get stuck there. Every situation feels like an emergency, whether it is or not.” Alan Fadling

So, the bottom line is that all hurry is not always ungodly or unhealthy and all unhurried is not always holy and healthy. We need discernment when to be in hurried mode and when to be in unhurried mode. 

+ Is it time for a little quiet reflection on where you are with hurry and unhurried?