How To Cultivate a Quiet Soul in a Busy World

images-1Busyness masks our insecurities. We rush. We want the quickest line in the grocery story, instant access to our news and movies, information at our fingertips, and food served hot and fast. We hurry to accomplish things and when we do, we don’t have time to savor the triumph because we’ve got to hurry to prove ourselves again. (I particularly relate to this with respect to academic publishing. By the time an article publishes I’m already researching the next project, needing to demonstrate again my prowess as a philosopher).

This frantic busyness is a sickness. In fact according to cardiologists, those who exhibit a chronic sense of time urgency suffer from “hurry sickness.”[1]

Do you suffer from hurry sickness? Here are some symptoms, summarized by David Henderson in his book, Tranquility:[2]

  • Deterioration of personality, marked by a lack of interest in anything unconnected from the achievement of goals.
  • Racing-mind syndrome, characterized by an inability to focus on a task and rapid, shifting thoughts.
  • Loss of ability to accumulate pleasant memories, mainly due to an inability to focus on the present and a fixation on the future or past failures.
  • Impatience, particularly when things don’t go as planned.

 

If you can relate to any of these, then perhaps it is time to slow down and consider your life. What is your core identity? Is it found in what you do or who you are? As a Christian, I’m constantly challenged by the gospel to make Jesus my source of identity and not my accomplishments, my family, or my job.

For those teetering on the verge of hurry sickness, I highly recommend to you David Henderson’s new book Tranquility (his subtitle is the title of this blog). Written by my good friend and pastor, this book is a needed antidote to our fast-paced world. If you find yourself in what Henderson calls “The busyness trap”—trying to fit an infinite number of activities into a finite amount of time—then perhaps it is wise to reconsider your life.[3] As Scripture urges: “Teach us to use wisely all the time we have (Psalm 90:12, CEV).

Henderson’s solution, what he calls “the tranquility solution”—do what God wants you to do, and trust him with the rest—is unpacked in this book.[4] What most challenged me were not the words and concepts and truths communicated in this book, but the picture of a life, embodied in this man I know and love, of a trust in and desire for God. Henderson regularly, and in concrete ways, models a life of trust in God by taking time daily, monthly, and each year alone with God. In doing so his soul is renewed and he finds energy, wisdom, and strength to engage the pressures and projects of life. May we all, in following pastor Henderson’s lead, learn to live for something greater than ourselves. In doing so, we will find peace, rest, and tranquility for our weary souls.

 

 

[1] David Henderson, Tranquility (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2015), 31.

[2] Ibid., 32-3.

[3] Ibid., 46.

[4] Ibid., 54.

One Response to How To Cultivate a Quiet Soul in a Busy World

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