“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.” – The ‘Busy’ Trap by Tim Kreider, The New York Times
Busyness as a hedge against emptiness. That is a brilliant synopsis of our need to appear busy and feel needed. Kreider concluded that “it’s not as if any of us wants to live like this; it’s something we collectively force one another to do.”
All of us are adding to that pressure every day. Christians are just as caught up in busyness. The Christian Post reports that in data collected from more than 20,000 Christians in 139 countries (though mostly in America) and between the ages of 15 and 88, “more than 4 in 10 Christians around the world say they ‘often’ or ‘always’ rush from task to task. About 6 in 10 Christians say that it’s ‘often’ or ‘always’ true that ‘the busyness of life gets in the way of developing my relationship with God.’”
The survey also found that “by profession, pastors were most likely to say they rush from task to task (54 percent), which adversely affects their relationship with God (65 percent).”
What a tragedy that the pastoral shepherds we hope will show us the way are also caught in scheduling pressure. I don’t mean to throw pastors under the bus.
The church community puts such unrealistic expectations on pastors to be available 24-7, visit every sick person, spend forty hours on a kick-donkey sermon, and have a perfectly adjusted family. Just typing those expectations made me tired.
Letting my busyness get in the way of my relationship with God shows how out of balance I have let my schedule become. Nowhere in Scripture will I find this command: be busy, and know that I am God. My busyness does not please God. My faith pleases Him.
And I can’t have faith and trust in someone I am too busy to know. Day in and day out, I need to heed this truth:
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
Solomon wrote about the wisdom of knowing when to let up.
Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. Proverbs 23:4
Jesus understood that He must say no to people who really wanted His attention in order to spend time doing what mattered most. This passage [Mark 6:45-46] follows Jesus’ miraculous feeding of five thousand people.
If I had performed such a feat, I would have hung around for hours to soak up the praise and accolades, sign a few autographs, and take some selfies. But Jesus knew what He needed in that moment—time with His Father.
I need to know when to say no.
Busyness does not define my worth…
I was given a new identity. I became a new creation. I received the gift of the righteousness of Christ.
Be still, and know that God loves you and desires you. Your actions will naturally emerge from that loving relationship with Him. You don’t have to earn that love. It is yours.
GOD’S TAKE Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
A DOSE OF GRACE Clean up your calendar by paring down your busyness. Limit or even eliminate activities, and create more time to be still with God and present with yourself and loved ones. What do you think can be readjusted to free up time for what’s most important?
You’ve been reading from Waking Up Slowly: Spiritual Lessons from My Dog, My Kids, Critters, and Other Unexpected Place by Dave Burchett. Learn more HERE.