Keep Numb, And Carry On

A few years ago I heard someone relate that there are all kinds of things genetic testing can tell us these days. Things like ‘you are super likely to get such-and-such disease or unlikely to live past this age UNLESS you make some huge lifestyle change.’

In the same anecdote, a doctor purportedly said that it was unethical to really do these tests and tell people their “chances” because most people wouldn’t be willing to make the drastic changes that living and/or thriving longer would require. And that however long they had left would be ruined by depression or fear.

To me, that tracks. It’s insane, but it tracks. Don’t you think?

I finally read The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, by John Mark Comer. It’s an extremely accessible book outlining our addiction to hurry and our allergy to quiet. And how it’s deadly for our souls.

It’s extremely compelling, sparking something — a dream — in my soul that I know I long for deeply.

The only problem?

This is probably the 4th or 5th extremely compelling book I’ve read on the topic of quiet vs busyness or technology and I haven’t changed very many habits. Not really.

I still get on social media for work and then sucked into scrolling for only-God-knows how long. Or reach for my phone when I encounter a moment of waiting. Heck, I don’t even head to the toilet without my phone (because apparently, the time it takes to go is too long to be alone with my thoughts?).

Hence the doctor’s hypothesis that most people wouldn’t make huge lifestyle changes even to save their lives. . .

I am most people.

At least, so far.

Now, it’s not necessarily all or nothing. Small changes can make a big impact, giving our souls space to breathe. And letting our souls, minds, and bodies experience a taste of life — a taste of being fully human — creates a hunger for more life and health and space to breathe.

In fact, the spark from the book was enough to make a difficult choice (for me): when Aub took the girls camping one night this week during their spring break, I actually used it as a mini-solitude retreat (instead of watching sipping something and watching a BBC series). I read through the book of Matthew, spent much of the late afternoon in my hammock, cooked dinner for myself and ate outside as the sun set behind my neighbor’s palm tree, then spent some time at the piano worshiping, and some time reading through some Every Moment Holy prayers.

Photo by Julia Volk on

It was lovely. Not earth-shattering or life-changing, but something I needed and something I know I need more of in the coming weeks, years, and decades.

I am feeling a bit more connected to other longings I usually (re)discover in my soul any time I actually tend to it (instead of filling every empty moment with distractions, whether “good” distractions or “bad” ones).

Longings like . . .

  • to orient my life toward being more fully human
  • to practice habits and rhythms that make space for my fully human self, the humans around me, and the presence of God in and around me
  • to enjoy things that are “life-giving” to me like writing, reading, napping, intentional conversations, music, etc.
  • to steward my relationships and roles well
  • to be the person God wants me to be, and do the things He’s laid out for me to do!

We could do it, guys. We could live the abundant life God intended for us. Not without many choices – big and small – that will feel pretty radical in our age of hurry and numbing.

Hopefully, I’ll be back in this space writing more about these topics. In the meantime, we could ask ourselves this question:

What would it take to give your soul a little space today? To tend to your soul, body, and mind in a way that feels more fully human?

To close, a small portion of a prayer from my night of solitude —

I am utterly yours, O Christ.
In the midst of this uncertainty,
I abandon myself again to you, the author
and the object of all my truest hopes.


Every Moment Holy, Volume II

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