The Deception of Urgency

Donald Miller

Next week I’ll leave Bainbridge Island for the mainland. I’ve been here a month, transitioning from the Storyline book to a new book that will come out next year. I came up to get away from the city and the temptations that keep me from writing.

If you’d have asked me when I left Portland whether I was stressed, I’d have told you I wasn’t. But the island revealed my stress level was at an all-time high. I only knew that when I began to calm down. There’s something soothing about the ocean and the forest. It’s as though God reminds us through creation all things live, all things die, and He is in control.

Back home I felt a certain urgency, that if I didn’t get things done the world would fall apart. I don’t feel that urgency here, and yet I’ve written more on the island than I have in the last six months.

Is being frantic really the best way to be productive?

It rarely works for me. In fact, the more I calm down the more I get done.

I’m not sure how to take this lesson home. I leave next week and return to a pile of bills and meetings and obligations. My guess is everything will feel like impending doom. But I don’t want to give in to it. I want to take the forest and the ocean with me.

*Photo by Wendy Cutler, Creative Commons

So if you sit next to me on a plane and hear me mumbling to myself all things live, all things die and God is in control, just let me have my moment. Or perhaps you can mumble with me. After that, I’ll tell you about the owls that live out back behind the cabin. They fly over sometimes and land in the giant tree out front. If you stop what you’re doing for an hour to shine flashlights into the branches to spot them, you’ll find you’ll get more writing done later that night.

Don’t let urgency keep you from your spouse, your kids, creation or the God who made them all. You may find, like me, you get more done when your soul is fed first.

-Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller is all about story. He helps people live a better story at and grow their business at Follow Don on Twitter (@donaldmiller). To read more of his posts on the Storyline Blog, click here.