The Ruthless Elimination Of Hurry By John Mark Comer Summary

Last Updated: October 3, 2023 | by Paul Harstrom

Do you ever find yourself wishing for more hours in a day? Feeling overwhelmed by the never-ending to-do list and the constant race of hurry against time?

Perhaps you’re the type who strategically picks the fastest lane at a stoplight or prides yourself on being the first one in and the last one out of the office. 

This is a struggle that affects people from all walks of Life. We live in a world where hurry has become the norm. We find ourselves constantly rushing from one task to another.

Unfortunately, this constant Hurry prevents us from truly being present in our own lives, and our relationships often suffer due to this hurry.

Pastor John Mark Comer seemed to have it all as the leader of a rapidly growing church and a dedicated family man. We are talking about the author of “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World.” 

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

Instead of feeling fulfilled, Comer experienced mounting stress and exhaustion. He reached a point where he knew something had to change. In pursuing a solution, he turned to the Bible he taught.

In his book, “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry,” Pastor John Mark Comer summarizes his journey of transformation. He went from being an overwhelmed and drained megachurch leader to finding fulfillment as a pastor of a smaller congregation who made intentional time for God and his family.

So, let’s pause for a moment. Take a deep breath and reflect on the trajectory of your lives with this astounding summary of “Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” by John Mark Comer.

Why Is There a Need to Ruthlessly Eliminate the Hurry?

This is how our typical conversations often go:

“Hey, how are you?”

“I’m fine, just busy.”

This widespread phenomenon affects people from all walks of Life, regardless of their background. In our fast-paced world, everyone seems constantly busy, regardless of age or occupation.

The prominent challenge individuals face is the lack of time. Many people are overwhelmed with busyness, leaving little room for emotionally healthy and fulfilling lives.

Renowned psychologist Carl Jung coined the phrase: 

“Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil.” 

Carl jung

Hurry prevents us from truly living. We settle for a mediocre version of Life when distracted and rushed.

The impact of busyness goes beyond our mental health. It can lead to feeling overwhelmed, worried, and impulsive, straining our relationships with loved ones. Our spirituality is also at stake. We’re told that God walks with us. The distinction between “walking” and “running” is essential to our connection with God.

Love is an essential part of God’s nature. Love moves slowly, purposefully, and deliberately. It surpasses the speed of technological breakthroughs. It captures the essence of what love truly is.

Our society stigmatizes slowness. We associate slowness with low intelligence or incompetence. We complain about slow service or movies that don’t hold our attention. But speed shouldn’t always be preferred over slowness. Slowness can have its value and purpose.

Why Do We Always Feel Hurry In This Fast Technological Era?

Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb in 1879 drastically changed people’s lives by allowing them to stay up later into the evening. Before the light bulb, the average person used to sleep for around eleven hours. Take a moment to absorb that fact.

Fast forward to the present, particularly in America, where the average amount of sleep has dropped to about seven hours. 

This represents a significant two-and-a-half-hour reduction compared to a century ago. It’s no surprise that fatigue has become a common problem in our lives. Let’s dig deeper into why do always feel Hurry in this technological era.

Predictions vs. Reality: The Surprising Shift in Leisure and Hurry:

John Mark Comer presents astonishing studies that shed light on the dynamics of our current society compared to the past. In the 1960s, futurists from various fields predicted that people would work significantly less in the future, leading to abundant leisure time. 

However, the reality turned out to be the exact opposite. Average Americans now work approximately four more weeks per year than in 1979.

Busy: The New Symbol of Wealth in a Hurried World

Recently, the Harvard Business Review examined the changing social dynamics in America. In the past, leisure was associated with affluence, where the wealthy would engage in leisurely pursuits like tennis, yachting, or dining at exclusive golf clubs. 

Harvard Business Review: Being busy symbolizes wealth today; constant activity equals high status.

However, the cultural landscape has shifted. Being busy has become a symbol of wealth. Luxury companies’ advertisements, such as Maserati or Rolex, now showcase the wealthy hosting meetings in high-rise offices, socializing at trendy clubs, or jet-setting worldwide.

Notably, societal perceptions of status have also changed over the past century. In the past, a person’s status increased as they worked less. 

However, today, the opposite is true. People who are always active and occupied are often seen as having higher status. In comparison, those with ample free time are sometimes regarded as having lower status.

The Phone Addiction Epidemic: Hurry in the Palm of Your Hand:

Although we have fast technology that helps us complete tasks quickly, it also brings distractions. A recent survey revealed that the typical iPhone user interacts with their phone approximately 2,617 times per day, spending around two and a half hours on the device across seventy-six sessions.

Tristan Harris, a prominent figure in Silicon Valley, has been involved in thought-provoking work. Harris, often referred to as “the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience,” has shed light on the addictive nature of smartphone use. Harris clarifies an intriguing finding: 

“While only requiring a few quarters per play, slot machines bring in more money than the combined earnings of the movie and sports industries. The key to this phenomenon is the addiction potential of slot machines, as the seemingly small nature of each bet obscures the cumulative influence over time.”

Even though individual interactions on our phones may only take a few seconds, the cumulative time we spend texting, scrolling through social media, or idly surfing the web adds up to a significant portion of our day.

John Mark Comer – The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

Reclaiming Time in a Hurried Life By Learning The Art Of Saying No:

So, what can we do about this situation? In “The Ruthless Elimination Of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World”, Pastor John Mark Comer says that Life is all about making choices, and every “yes” signifies countless “noes.” 

Each activity we engage in means forfeiting numerous other possibilities. Mastering the art of saying “no” is a skill we must diligently cultivate for the peace of our hearts and mind. 

Author Anne Lamott aptly stated that “No” is a complete sentence. We can set boundaries and prioritize our commitments by incorporating this word into our vocabulary. Saying “no” is not only about rejecting extra activities but also about minimizing distractions. 

For example, we can say “no” to using our phones until we complete an assignment or “no” to watching Netflix while eating. These “noes” may be challenging, but they are necessary.

Count The Hours To Escape The Hurry Trap:

According to Philip Zimbardo’s studies on the crisis of masculinity in Western culture, the average man has spent around ten thousand hours playing video games by the age of twenty-one. 

Reflecting on this astounding number, we must consider the immense potential within those ten thousand hours. 

With that amount of dedicated time, one could become an expert in a profession, earn multiple degrees, or even memorize the entire New Testament. Alternatively, those hours could be wasted, spent progressing to the fourth level of a video game.

Think about it! If we devoted the same amount of time to reading, we could finish approximately 200 books a year, almost tripling the typical recommendation, within 417 hours. 

This commitment may seem substantial, taking up more than an hour daily. However, it pales compared to the average American’s time on social media, which amounts to almost 705 hours annually. 

On the other hand, watching television consumes a staggering 2,737.5 hours each year. All these hours collectively contribute to our constant state of being rushed and overwhelmed, known as “Hurry Sickness”.

What is “Hurry Sickness?”

John Mark Comer thinks it’s prudent to develop a balanced skepticism toward technology. Simply making economic or technological advancements does not equate to progress for humanity. 

The notion that newer or faster equates to better is not necessarily true. However, it may seem heretical to suggest otherwise. Faster phones, faster cars, and even fast food. 

Nowadays, even the content we consume in the form of videos has become faster with the help of reels and shorts. John Mark Comer thinks avoiding falling victim to capitalist marketing’s deceptive strategies is crucial. 

What may appear to be progress often masks an underlying regression driven by ulterior motives. While others amass wealth, you may find yourself ensnared in distraction and addiction.

It is easy to think that living in such a fast-paced environment is the norm. The “time famine” we experience is a relatively recent phenomenon that must be understood. 

We, as a species, are still navigating and pondering its effects. Unfortunately, the preliminary results raise serious concerns.

So what is hurry sickness? John Mark Comer defines it as a behavior pattern characterized by continual rushing and anxiety

Meyer Friedman, the renowned cardiologist, defined the following way after pointing out people prone to a bigger chance of heart attack, anger, and anxiety.

“A continuous struggle and unremitting attempt to accomplish or achieve more and more things or participate in more and more events in less and less time.”

Meyer Friedman

The signs of “hurry sickness,” outlined in “The Time Cure” by Rosemary Sword and Philip Zimbardo, are straightforward. They consist of:

  • Constantly hopping between checkout lanes to find the quickest or shortest.
  • Counting the vehicles before you and selecting the lane that seems to be going quickly.
  • Excessively multitasking to the point when you forget to complete one of the jobs.

Let’s discuss the Ten symptoms of ‘hurry sickness’ in this summary of “The Ruthless Elimination Of Hurry”:

1. Irritability:

You often experience heightened irritability, frustration, or annoyance over minor and ordinary matters. Your persistent low-level negativity or anger requires others to tread cautiously around you. 

As a fellow observer of delicate situations, I suggest self-diagnosing by examining how you treat those closest to you, your spouse, children, or your roommate, rather than solely focusing on your interactions with colleagues or neighbors.

2. Hypersensitivity:

Minor remarks sting, sour emails flare up, and insignificant unforeseen events cloud your day. These common failures disproportionately impact your emotional health and interpersonal grace. 

It gets challenging to take the blows in stride.

3. Restlessness:

Resting and slowing down becomes difficult. The Sabbath is not enjoyable. Reading the Bible becomes monotonous. Focus is absent during quiet time with God. Anxiety disrupts sleep. 

Your mind and body become restless from multitasking and continual stimulation and yearn for the next dopamine high.

4. Workaholism:

You struggle to recognize when to stop, or even worse; you find quitting difficult. Your drive stems from the allure of constant productivity and accumulation. 

This could appear as a dogged pursuit of professional achievement or an obsession with doing housework and running errands around the house. 

As a result, you have “sunset fatigue,” which makes you unable to do anything for your partner, kids, or other loved ones at the end of the day. They testify to your being agitated, abrupt, and overtired.

5. Emotional numbness:

Empathy seems beyond your grasp, whether realizing your own grief or feeling other people’s suffering. You have limited compassion since time constraints make it challenging to develop. 

Instead, you discover that you are permanently detached from the depth of emotional knowledge and are detached.

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6. Out-of-order priorities:

It’s a situation where you focus on urgent but less important tasks, neglecting activities that truly matter to you. You prioritize immediate deadlines and short-term gains over long-term goals, personal well-being, and meaningful relationships. 

This misalignment leads to a sense of imbalance and dissatisfaction.

7. Lack of care for your body:

You discover that you don’t have enough time to take care of yourself, including:

  • Getting a total of eight hours of sleep each night
  • Exercising frequently
  • Eating wholesome, home-cooked meals
  • Limiting your intake of stimulants
  • Giving yourself some breathing room

The results are weight gain, recurring diseases, excessive morning weariness, and poor sleep quality. 

You start to rely more on the four poisonous ingredients that are frequently referred to as the “four horsemen of the industrialized food apocalypse”

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Processed carbohydrates

8. Escapist Behaviors:

We all turn to our chosen diversion when tiredness prevents us from engaging in soul-nourishing activities. This could be binge-watching Netflix, overindulging in food or alcohol, browsing social media, surfing the web, or watching pornography. 

When used excessively to escape reality, these coping methods slowly consume us, even while they occasionally and briefly relieve unneeded suffering. As a result, we are caught in a vicious cycle of addictions that are accepted in society.

9. Slippage of Spiritual Disciplines:

We frequently disregard the soul-nourishing pursuits that ought to be given top attention when overloaded with work. Scripture, prayer, the Sabbath, worship, and shared meals all demand emotional stamina and self-control. 

This keeps us in a cycle of unhappiness where we settle for flimsy replacements like Netflix and alcohol. We put off dealing with the emotional collapse, which causes us to overlook God’s sustaining presence in our lives.

10. Isolation:

Your connection to God, other people, and your soul feels broken. Stress and distractions make prayer ephemeral and difficult. 

When you’re with friends, your focus wanders, becoming distracted by your phone or mind. You must confront your inner emptiness even when alone, finding refuge in activity and technological diversion.

Do the math; how much did you score?

The Solution To Escape Hurry? Adopt the Lifestyle of Jesus:

Living consciously without resorting to extreme measures like foraging in the forest or leaving our loved ones behind can be a perplexing question. How can we lead purposeful lives within the chaotic and fast-paced nature of our urban and digital worlds? 

The answer, surprisingly, lies in a simple approach: following the path of Jesus.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.” 

Albert Einstein

Despite this knowledge, we frequently find ourselves caught in this pattern. Through church, books, or podcasts, we glimpse the Life we long for—a life of emotional balance and spiritual vigor. 

We fervently yearn for that metamorphosis, but when we come home, we quickly revert to our old ways of being. 

Nothing is altered. We feel stuck and wonder what we’re missing as the tension, exhaustion, and diversion cycle continues. It becomes clear that this method of change is unsuccessful. John Mark Comer proposes that being a disciple of Jesus involves three core goals:

  • Seeking to be in the presence of Jesus.
  • Striving to resemble Jesus in our actions and character.
  • Conducting ourselves as Jesus would if He were in our position.

You might wonder, “How would Jesus live if He were in my shoes?” If you’re a parent, imagine how Jesus would approach the responsibilities of parenthood. 

Even in professional endeavors like construction or community planning, contemplating how Jesus would navigate these situations can provide valuable insights and guidance.

The teachings of Jesus go beyond mere exercises in willpower and character development. Through these practices, we can transform ourselves and become more receptive to a higher power. 

Discipline is explored, emphasizing that we can achieve what was once deemed unattainable by diligently working towards our goals. 

Just as physical exercise starts with a small number of push-ups and gradually increases, engaging in spiritual disciplines requires a combination of personal effort and a connection with a greater power. 

The focus shifts towards developing the ability to accomplish things beyond the limitations of sheer willpower.

Four Practices for Eliminating Hurry from Your Life:

In his book “Ruthlessly Eliminate the Hurry,” John Mark Comer outlines four practices based on Jesus’ lifestyle for eliminating hurry from our lives.

These practices are designed to help us slow down, find peace, and live with intentionality. Let’s explore them:

Silence and Solitude:

Comer emphasizes the importance of creating external silence by reducing distractions like background noise, music, and television. 

By intentionally cultivating a calm environment, whether by waking up early, spending time outdoors, or being alone in a quiet room, we can experience the peace that true silence brings. 

Additionally, Comer addresses the challenge of internal noise, which refers to the constant mental chatter and preoccupations that occupy our minds. 

To truly achieve silence, we must quiet both external and internal noise. Spending time alone in solitude, communing with God, allows us to find clarity and deepens our connection with Him.


Comer introduces the concept of the Sabbath as a holy day to reconnect with God, ourselves, and others. Sabbath goes beyond just a single day; it embodies a lifestyle of rest and balance. 

It serves as a reminder of the value of rest and the futility of constantly pursuing more. 

By intentionally setting aside time to rest, enjoying the simple pleasures of Life, and being present with loved ones, we can find fulfillment beyond material possessions.


Comer highlights the detrimental effects of materialism and consumerism in our lives. He urges us to shift our focus from accumulating possessions and defining ourselves through what we own. 

Simplifying our lives means considering the actual cost of our purchases, being mindful of their impact on others and the environment, and resisting the culture of excessive consumption. 

By embracing minimalism and developing a deep appreciation for the simple pleasures and the beauty of creation, we can break free from the cycle of restlessness driven by material desires.

Ruthless Elimination of Hurry detail book summary


The main idea of ‘Slowing’ is to encourage individuals to intentionally slow down the pace of their lives to cultivate inner peace, align their schedules with their values, and live more fully in the present moment. The author suggests various “rules” or practices to help achieve this, such as:

  • Driving the speed limit
  • Embracing solitude and silence
  • Limiting the use of smartphones and social media
  • Engaging in single-tasking
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation
  • Prioritizing quality time with loved ones

By adopting these intentional practices, individuals can counter the hurry and hyper-living culture and create a more balanced, mindful, and meaningful way of Life.

It’s important to remember that cultivating a life free from hurry is a continual process that requires intentionality and effort. By adopting these practices, we can experience a more profound sense of peace, contentment, and connection with God and others.

 Conclusion to “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry”

Business owners often face high-stress levels, busyness, and constant pressure to hustle. By applying the principles mentioned in this article, “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry By John Mark Comer Summary,” business owners can create a healthier work-life balance and increase productivity.

Now more than ever, is the time to grip the slipping rope in our hands. Hurry is slowly dragging us down, and we don’t notice it. Let’s take a small breath and ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives. 

In the words of John Mark Comer, “I say it’s time for a revolution. Who’s with me?”

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and insights on this book summary in the comments below!

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Can business owners benefit from the “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry Summary” principles”?

Yes, business owners can benefit significantly from the book’s principles. By embracing a slower pace, setting boundaries, and prioritizing rest and self-care, they can reduce stress, enhance decision-making, increase productivity, and foster a healthier and more sustainable approach to business.

Is “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry summary” applicable to people from different religious backgrounds?

While this summary draws inspiration from Christian spirituality, its principles can be applied by individuals from various religious or spiritual backgrounds.

The emphasis is on cultivating a more intentional and purposeful way of Life, regardless of specific religious beliefs.

What is the central message of this summary of “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry By John Mark Comer”?

The main message of “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry Summary” is that a hurried lifestyle harms our well-being and spiritual growth. It encourages readers to slow down, find rest, and live to experience a more fulfilling and purposeful life.

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