Released around the same time as Jeff Bethke's "To Hell with the Hustle", both authors seem to have on their own (or Spirit led) stumbled upon extremely similar revelations on the virtue and neccessity of slowing down and unchoosing the busy modern life.
With many practical tips and lessons from how Comer came to his midlife crisis of business and has entered a new life of freedom and peace through following Jesus' speed and lifestyle including sabbath, silence and solitude, minimalism, non-materialism, and simplicity.
Though with many similar themes to Bethke's book, Comer's writing style and numbered conclusions and lessons have a stronger structure and provide more discrete implementation details for how he has simplified his life by living like Jesus.
Some practical take aways for me included:
- Keep the sabbath Holy. Enjoy the fullness and unslavery of it by letting shopping, phones, work work, house work, and other errands fall on the other 6 days. Use the sabbath to worship and connect with God, and that can look like sharing a bottle of wine with friends in good conversation.
- Ruthlessly reduce the suck of your smartphone on your attention and time. Get a dumb phone even. Or use screen time settings, deleting or severely scheduling and limiting email and social media, turning off notifications for most things, deleting non-necessary apps, using grayscale mode.
- "If we can't make them sin, make them busy" – Satan
- Hurry keeps us from ever having a chance to think or reflect, let alone open our ears to hear God. Prioritize every week times for silence and solitude to train and disciple yourself in how to listen to God.
- Being "too busy" to follow Jesus, not just in theology and ethics, but His speed and rhythm and lifestyle, means you aren't willing to follow Jesus, period. Theology and ethics are only one part of what it means to be his disciple. Fruit come from living like He did, abiding fully with God even while living out life as a carpenter and then in His ministry here on Earth.
- Cut out mindless entertainment and news. Most movies, TV shows, many podcasts, do not serve to point us towards God. They desensitize us to violence, to sexual immorality, to having empathy for other viewpoints. Garbage in, garbage out. Protect your soul and what you're willing to expose it to. They also take up our lives, the average American spends over 2000 hours per year watching a television, that's 38 hours per week! We work a day job and then spend as much of our free time consuming garbage.
- You have the time. In this hurried society, people complain about not having enough time to read or play and instrument or go hiking. But on average, people spend over 700 hours per year on social media, and over 2000 hours watching a television. That's 52 hours per week consuming digital media. Cut some (or all!) of that out, and your life is freed up to do life giving activities that slow us down to a more human pace, a more Jesus pace, of living.
- Deliberately choose slow. Try choosing the slow lane next time you drive. Or the longest line at the grocery store. Don't turn on a podcast or start scrolling. Enter into that 2 minute or 10 minute block of time to think, reflect, pray, or enter into conversation with another person. Maybe this doesn't have to be modus operandi for every day, but take the opportunity to remember the pace of life of Jesus.
- Urgent tasks do not require hurry. Even when going to heal people dead or dying, Jesus was willing to entertain interruptions and never came across as hurried or rushing. Consider Jesus going with Jairus to heal his daughter (start reading at Mark 5:21), and then being stopped by the women who had been sick with bleeding for 12 years. Jesus could have rushed through the interaction or ignored her and hurried towards Jairus' daughter, but Jesus didn't. He entered into the interruption from the women, healed her, and still healed Jairus' daughter.
- Default no. To new invitations, to new activities, to new hobbies, to new stuff. Don't take on a schedule or living space bursting at the seams from new commitments with a default answer of yes. Start with no and work backwards from there to see if the time and cost and commitment is in line with the unhurried lifestyle you are trying to lead.