Monday, June 24, 2013

The Hyenas of Busyness - A Guest Post by @ Tal Prince

The Hyenas of Busyness 

ByTal Prince  

So - how’s your schedule these days? If you’re like most people, the answer ranges
somewhere between busy and insane. With the Holidays coming up, there’s no sign of
relief anywhere on the horizon. So what can we do but keep running? In today’s world everything shouts “RUN!” Our inbox alerts us to run. Our calendar alarms us to runs. Our cell phones ring out the call to run. Our jobs demand that we run. Our families cry for us to run. So we run.
And we run...
and run... 
and we run. 

Many times, not even knowing where we are going. In my experience speed and
uncertainty of direction are not good friends; when they get together, things rarely end
well. Yet, still we run. We are panicked, but running with our electronic leashes and
monitoring devices dangling around our feet ringing, alerting, and alarming us in the
event that we slow down. 
Have you ever watched hyenas hunt? They are among the cruelest of all predators. What makes them cruel? Pound for pound, they have the most powerful jaws in the animal kingdom, but that’s not it. It’s not their size - they are the size of a German Shepherd.
However, their hearts are twice the size as that of a lion. This gives them the capability of running for long distances. If cheetahs are sprinters, the hyenas are the marathon runners of jungle predators. 
Combine their hearts and jaws and they are capable killing machines, but what makes them cruel is their ability to hunt in packs. Hyenas travel in clans, and when they spot a herd of animals, they select their target. They then move in and systematically separate their target from the herd. They dart in and out causing their target to spin and turn in an effort to stay with the herd. The target starts to run and then get disoriented as uncertainty of direction and speed separates them from the protection of the herd. Then the hyenas begin to laugh. 
The hyenas circle and chase their prey while they laugh. They are capable of running great distances at 6 miles per hour, and they never let their prey rest. They bite at its heels if it slows down. They continue to force their hapless target to switch directions - adding to the desperate confusion and disorientation. They are cut off. Alone. And running. If they slow down, the hyenas move in at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour and nip at their heels.
The hyenas relentlessly pursue their hapless  prey until exhaustion takes over. Their
target: separated, exhausted and alone, loses hope and gives up. The hyenas then
move in and literally eat their prey alive. 
I have hyenas chasing me - do you? 
They keep me busy. 
They keep me running. 
They keep me disoriented.
When I slow down, they laugh - their laughter sounds like my iPhone, email, calendar
and task list. Their laughter reminds me that my perfectionism is at stake. “Look out, Tal
- you’re going to blow it! Something is going to slip through the cracks and it will be all
your fault! What are you going to do? RUN, Tal, RUN! 

Tal, you’re late for a call. 
Tal, you’re late for a meeting. 
Tal, you’re late on a deadline. 
Tal, your emails are backed up! 
Tal, you’re late picking up your kids from practice! 
Tal, what are you thinking? RUN!”

 Can you identify with that? Are the hyenas of busyness on your trail? Have you been cut
off from the herd? 
For me, it’s times like these when God’s Word makes the least sense. Look at how Eugene Peterson translates Psalm 46:10, “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at
me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”1 How do we take a verse like that when the hyenas of busyness continues to harass us? Is it as tough for you as it is for me at times?
I think, though, this is why the late Dallas Willard said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life, for worry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our world today.” 
My personal struggle with perfectionism makes it hard for me to choose to step out of the traffic. It seems so much easier to pursue your opinion of me. Though it never really works, I continue to run, instead of rest.  Then I am too busy to pray and become separated from community and God, I become prey.  

What about you? How will you handle the hyenas of busyness today? We all know they are coming - can you ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life? Can you take the time to step out of the traffic to take a long and loving look at the most high God?  
1 Peterson, E. H. (2002). The Message : The Bible in contemporary language (Ps 46:9–
10). Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress.


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