What does the pace of your life have to do with love?
Today, on the Deeply Loved Facebook page, I got this question from long-time reader Kimberlee: “I was wondering how underlying tension in close relationships is a sign of a hurried life? I thought that was an interesting observation & I don’t see the connection.”
She’s referring to my quotes from An Ordinary Day with Jesus by John Ortberg and Ruth Barton in Day 3 of Deeply Loved. The questions are meant to help those who don’t realize they’re hurried to recognize it. If you do have that tension in relationships, it might be a sign of a hurried life. Hurry has become so normal that we don’t realize how much it is damaging us, spiritually and relationally.
So, what is the connection between hurry and relational tension?
Imagine that you are the mother of small children, and you are trying to get them out the door to an appointment. You’re late, and they’re being, well, small children. Are you more tense and stressed in that moment than you would be if, say, you had plenty of time to get to the appointment? Or if you were just getting them out the door for a walk to the park, with no particular timetable?
In other words, are you more loving toward your kids when you’re in a hurry? Probably not. Because I believe you can’t love in a hurry. It takes time. And if you are constantly in a hurry, and too busy, those you love may feel neglected, resentful, hurt. That causes tension.
Or imagine a spouse who is always working, or volunteering, or taking care of other people. Their spouse might say, “you never have time for me!” And that can cause tension. Or imagine having coffee with a friend who is constantly checking their phone, or looking at their watch–they’re not really present with you. It will likely annoy you. Because they are too hurried, it causes tension.
If we constant live at a frantic pace, we don’t have time to stop and listen. We are impatient with the people we’re close to. We make promises we can’t keep because we’re over-scheduled. Sure, we all have times when that happens, but if it’s consistent, it’s going to damage those relationships.
A hurried life is not just busy–it has to do with inner anxiety and worry that keeps us focused on the things we’ve got to do, or what we didn’t get done. It prevents us from living in the present moment–and therefore, from being fully present with those we love.
What do you think? Does a hurried life cause tension in close relationships?
When I think of love taking its time, I think of God’s faithful love, his chesed (which has a lot more nuance to it than the single phrase “faithful love” can reveal, of course). Jesus showed it to the thief on the cross. God didn’t tell the thief that it was too late; he waited for that thief right up to the last minute.
As a parent, I want to have that faithful love for my children, waiting for them for however long it takes. But you’re right, Keri. Sometimes hurry gets in my way. Glad it doesn’t get in God’s way.
Thanks, Tim! I’d love to have you share a post for the Deeply Loved study on your blog. We’re doing the 40 days during the 40 days of Lent. Let me know which one you might want to write about and I’ll tell you the date. And of course, any other readers who blog can join in as well!
Okey doke, sounds fun! Let me go back over the book and I’ll give one of the topics a shot, Keri.
I thought this was excellent examples, Keri. I really understand now! Right before I read this blog I was stopped at a train crossing and noticing how tight my chest was and how anxious I was about a few things, particularly how the day was going. It just so happened that my mom was taking me out for the day while our car was in the shop and willing to go anywhere I asked. I found instead of being grateful I felt frustrated. So imagine how it really clicked when you wrote about rushing with little kids out the door. I really get that. Thank you for helping me understand better, Keri! I really appreciate it. Sorry it took me so long to reply to this. 🙁