Helping Millennials Eliminate Hurry
In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster observed that “In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in ‘muchness’ and ‘manyness,’ he will rest satisfied.” If the devil can keep us occupied and overly busy, he rests content. Foster wrote those words in 1978.
While much has changed in society and culture, the hurried nature of modern life continues. Forbes recently reported that Millennials are quick to identify as “work martyrs” a term that suggests the willingness to sacrifice self for...what exactly? Sarah Landrum writes that Millennials spend more hours at work and are less willing to take vacation days because they see themselves as indispensable to their companys, are desirous of solidifying their value to their employer in an intensely competitive job market, and are longing to “get somewhere in life.”
Landrum observes that Millennials will skip meals, not drink enough water, not sleep enough, and will refuse to make use of their vacation benefits. They are often unaware of how time passes in the office. They are worried their bosses might think less of them if they take time off or say no. Landrum writes, “Millennials are making up for lost time and money while being happy to do their part and fearing it may not be enough. Millennial work martyrs are doing what they have to do to survive and hopefully thrive.”
Kate Hayes, also writing for Forbes, suggests several ways Millennials can avoid being “too busy.” She suggests scheduling time to think, choosing three priorities upon which to focus, disciplining the use of technology, and embracing the fact that the work is never fully done, and that is ok.
It may be that being busy is a byproduct of modern life, something that has been with us in increasing measure since the introduction of the telegraph and the train. Our interconnectedness, and the pressure we feel to be involved in our communities and to make a difference make us hurried, or rushed, even as we are accomplishing much. We are always in a hurry so that we can make more time for us to take up more commitments, leading us to be even more in a hurry. Hurry begets hurry. And that’s exhausting.
Christians do have an answer to the hurriedness of modern life, for we should live differently in relationship to time. We have been given the wisdom that comes with the rhythms of work and sabbath. God extends an invitation to us to rest. Because we are saved by grace and not by works, we can resist alternative theologies that try to convince us to prove our worth through human effort.
But we also have disciplines like prayer and worship, times to slow down and be human, to reflect, to observe, to notice beauty and God’s providential action. We have the Scriptures, which call us to do justice and love mercy while walking humbly with God.
Millennials are seeking wisdom on how to slow down, on ways to eliminate hurry, and want to discover what it means to be human as they move through life. Help them to see that they do not need to sacrifice themselves for a job. They do not need to be overcome by the demands of the workplace. Instead, they can learn how to flourish as a citizen of the kingdom of God, remaining productive in their vocations while also establishing healthy rhythms of work and rest.
Dallas Willard once told John Ortberg, a pastor, that his best advice for him in ministry was to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from his life.
That’s wisdom, not only for our pastors, but for all of us.