On Skimming One’s Life, by SPS Professor Dr. Gary Tyra

December 17, 2012

For the past couple of days I’ve had this quote from John Ortberg’s The Life You’ve Always Wanted on my mind:

Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. Hurry can destroy our souls. Hurry can keep us from living well. As Carl Jung wrote, “Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil.” Again and again, as we pursue spiritual life, we must do battle with hurry. For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them.

What does it mean to “skim” one’s life? Ortberg has in mind a lifestyle too filled with hurry. How true.

And yet, I want to suggest that there’s another way to skim. Some days are such that it can seem like it’s all you can do to just get through them. “If I can just get through this day…” we say to ourselves. So, we end up enduring the day instead of truly living it for God’s glory (Col. 3:17).

The problem is that the same attitude can be adopted toward to larger blocks of time: whole weeks, months, even years! Skimming a day here and there is one thing, but I’m convinced that too many Christians spend their entire lives always getting ready to be faithful to Christ and, as a result, experiencing fruitfulness, contentment and joy in him.

We can do better! Let’s make up our minds not skim any more of the few days allotted to us (Ps. 39:4-5). Let’s slow down and allow the Holy Spirit to help us live today centered in Christ, faithful to his call, and grateful for his empowering presence. Then, let’s do the same thing again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. This is the antidote to skimming one’s life and, as I suggest in Christ’s Empowering Presence, what Christian spirituality is ultimately all about.

Something to think about.

Gary Tyra

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