The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

blog dallas willard hurry john ortberg ruthless elimination unhurried living Dec 18, 2019

I still remember reading the counsel that Dallas Willard gave John Ortberg after he’d moved to Chicago to join the staff of a large church there. (John writes about this the chapter titled “An Unhurried Life” in The Life You’ve Always Wanted. He doesn’t mention Dallas by name there, but instead talks about a “wise friend.”) What was John’s question? 

“What do I need to do to be spiritually healthy?” 

After a long pause, Dallas says, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” 

John writes those words down and waits for more wise insights from Dallas. “That’s a good one. Now what else is there?” Dallas’s answer? “There is nothing else.” 

Reading those words planted a seed in my own soul at that time that, over time, germinated and bore the fruit of two books: An Unhurried Life (2013) and An Unhurried Leader (2017). 

More recently, a pastor from Portland was having a conversation with John, who was now serving as the seasoned mentor, about this unhurried life. One of the fruits of that conversation was another book on the theme of hurry, titled from Dallas’s wise counsel: The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. 

A couple of months ago, John Mark and I had a very encouraging conversation about his book and what he was learning about the fruitfully unhurried way of Jesus. We aired that conversation Monday on the Unhurried Living podcast. This is one of my favorite episodes so far. 

As you are entering the Christmas holiday season, how is your soul? Is the busyness of all the planning and preparation details getting into you, causing anxiety, or irritation, or distraction? It’s easy place to find ourselves. 

If you’d like, you can let Jesus pace your holiday. You can allow the reality of his coming—his Advent—to walk you through the season. 

This morning, praying in the Book of Common Prayer, I read this simple line that has been part of the opening of my prayers in these first two weeks of Advent: 

Our King and Savior now draws near
O come let us adore him. 

Those words might serve as encouraging, even peace-giving reminders in this hectic season. You might find yourself in a long shopping line. You could remind yourself: “My King and Savior now draws near; I will come and adore him.” 

You might be feeling overwhelmed at the magnitude of the tasks still needing attention. “My King and Savior is here. There is nothing better than to enjoy and adore him.” 

Gem and I send along our prayer that the Prince of Peace would bring rest to your heart, your soul, your mind in this season in which we especially remember his coming. May you come to rest in the reality of His presence, even today. 


  • What, if anything, seems to be contributing most to any sense of soul hurry within you in this season? 
  • How might the reality of Christ with you enable you to find rest for your soul, even in the midst of busyness? 

P.S. – In addition to our most recent podcast episode with John Mark Comer, you might also enjoy episode #26, “Ten Ways to Unhurry Your Holidays.”


Photo by Nils Nedel on Unsplash