Book: Soul Keeping

“Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” This is one of my favorite quotes in John Ortberg’s book Soul Keeping. The quote is by Dallas Willard, who was a mentor figure to Ortberg and a man with so much wisdom it was easy to see why Ortberg was drawn to him.

That statement makes me stop and think about all the implications. It runs so counter to our culture. Many times we unconsciously measure how important we are by how busy we are. Often I ask someone how their day is going and “busy” is the answer. It’s often worn as a badge of honor without realizing the damage it does to us. What about time to slow down and read or just sit and think? Or pray? When our days are bursting at the seams with stuff to do, it’s hard to find any clarity of thought.

First implication from the quote is that we need to slow down. Our lives will benefit if we take things slower. I can say with certainty that this has been the case in my life. Second is that have control -- we can, and should, take ownership to eliminate hurry from our lives. I pause and think about how many decisions I’ve made under stress and how those could have been better if I had been less hurried. I also consider the whole industry of mindfulness techniques, books, apps and podcasts that are aiming to achieve this statement -- there is a certain level of intuition behind this wisdom. 

Occasionally I come across a book that hits me spiritually when I read it. I think it is the combination of the right timing in my life and applicable wisdom. John Ortberg’s Soul Keeping was one of those books when I first read it. My reason for reading it was because our men’s group was going through it as part of a study. Talking about it as a group added fuel to the flames for me because our when we discussed it, I always walked away energized and prepared to apply the wisdom to my life. I could also tell that several of the other guys were really getting a lot out of it. I couldn’t give more of a recommendation for this book to read either as an individual or a group.