A few weekends ago, Brandon asked if we could go fishing. I rolled my eyes and reluctantly agreed knowing it would be long and slow and well boring for me. But fishing brings Brandon joy and being with Brandon brings me joy, so saying “no” didn’t really make sense. My consolation was that we would pick up some cold brew at one of my new favorite coffee shops in the area along the way.
So we bundled up, Brandon got all of his gear together (I didn’t know you needed so many things to fish), stopped for coffee, and we were on our way. Truthfully, it ended up being one of the best Saturday mornings we have had together in awhile. Brandon stood out in the water in his new waders (don’t ask him how many fish he caught) and I sat on the edge of the lake, in a lawn chair, under a blanket, and with three plus hours to read a book.
And it was silent — surrounded by just the sounds of birds chirping with the sun coming up, the splash of a fish coming up to the surface, or the soft put-put of a trolling motor on a boat going by.
My book of choice was “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry,” by John Mark Comer. Ironically enough, it is a book that I purchased two months ago that I have been “too busy” to read until now. It’s been on my list to read for awhile now and the bright red cover coupled with the word “hurry” caught my eye at my local Barnes & Noble. So into my bag it went to be quickly devoured during my three hours at the lake.
Now I can’t sit here and say that the book was revolutionary. I have read many books at this point in my life regarding slowing down, creating margin, and learning to be less busy. Heck, you’ve probably read a couple of blog posts of mine about the topic. I am a self proclaimed workaholic, I crave having things to do, and my calendar is likely booked 4 weeks out. Sitting still for three hours while my fiance fishes in silence is practically something I have to be forced into. There are a number of reasons I like to stay busy. I like the sense of accomplishing things. I hate to sit still. It helps keep my anxiety in check. It can make life feel more bearable when things get hard.
Maybe you can relate to that — this world is hard. Brokennes. Evil. Pain. Sin. Everywhere we look we are reminded of it and at times it feels too much to bear. It is easier to stay busy or distracted than to face reality.
A few chapters in, Comer writes:
“People all over the world — outside the church and in — are looking for an escape, a way out from under the crushing weight to life this side of Eden. But there is no escaping it. The best the world can offer is a temporary distraction to delay the inevitable or deny the inescapable.
That’s why Jesus doesn’t offer us an escape. He offers us something far better: “equipment.” He offers his apprentices a whole new way to bear the weight of our humanity: with ease. At his side. Like two oxen in a field, tied shoulder to shoulder. With Jesus doing all the heavy lifting. At his pace. Slow, unhurried, present to the moment, full of love and joy and peace.
An easy life isn’t an option; an easy yoke is.”– John Mark Comer
This life we were given wasn’t promised to be easy. Choosing to follow Jesus doesn’t mean that life is suddenly without hardships. It does mean we are given a Helper to walk through it all. He carries our burdens and makes the yoke easy to bear.
I think that Saturday mornings at the lake are going to be a great way for me to practice the ruthless elimination of hurry. Maybe one day I won’t need these books as a reminder and instead I’ll be reading something else pertaining to what the Lord is trying to teach me. But for now, I will choose to sit still and lean in to the easy yoke that my Jesus offers me.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”Matthew 11:28-30 NLT