So here we are in week one of Advent. Over these four weeks, Gem and I will touch the traditional themes of hope, peace, joy and love. Here’s one thing I know about all four, but especially this week about hope: Hope does not flourish when my soul is hurried.
That said, I want to emphasize again that busy and hurried are not the same, any more than hope and wishful thinking are the same. A hopeful heart is an unhurried heart, an attentive heart, a heart present to reality.
One of Dallas Willard’s insights along these lines that has served me over, and over, and over again is simply this: “There’s a world of difference between being busy and being hurried. Being busy is an outward condition, a condition of the body. It occurs when we have many things to do. Busy-ness is inevitable in modern culture…. Being hurried is an inner condition, a condition of the soul. It means to be so preoccupied with myself and my life that I am unable to be fully present with God, with myself, and with other people. I am unable to occupy this present moment.” (John Ortberg, Soul Keeping, p. 134)
The way we’ve been putting it is that busy is a matter of calendar, while hurry is a matter of soul. I’ve mentioned more than once just how full my Fall was. It was a continual opportunity to put to the test the idea that we can be busy and unhurried concurrently. This is a way of soul and life that we can actually learn.
Jesus was often busy, even without a smartphone, but he wasn’t ever hurried in soul. He had time for what mattered. He kept his vision fixed in hope rooted in the presence of his faithful Father.
Here’s how John Ortberg differentiates busy and hurried. Isn’t it helpful?
So even as we enter into what, for many of us, might be a very busy season, we can find hope in the unhurried presence of God with us—Emmanuel. We can rest in soul because rest is relational before it is situational or circumstantial.
Dallas once said that “hope is joyous anticipation of good that is not yet here or is ‘unseen.’” I send this post with the added prayer that the Spirit of God will enable you to fix your soul’s attention on his real presence no matter how full your December schedule becomes. I pray that peace will displace anxiety, that love will cast our fear, that the big presence of God will overcome the presence of anything that tempts you to be overwhelmed.
- When you think about the future, whether the near future of this holiday season, or the longer future of coming months and years, do you envision good things or do you imagine bad things?
- How might a focus on God with you help you trust that the good God here will bring good on your journey ahead?
You might also enjoy a past post, “Hope: The Lasting Fruit of Resurrection.”