“Busyness promises us a full and satisfying life, but, in the end, it makes our lives emptier. It uses us for what we can contribute, and in the process we live less, feel less, even love less.” ~ Mason Slater
Contributing Writer: Leslie Foster from Ponderings of an Ohio Farm Girl
Let me ask you a hard question: when was the last time you sat in silence for an hour?
No, sleeping doesn’t count.
Still no? Do I hear 15 minutes?
Can you recall a time in your recent past when you sat quietly, not watching anything, or planning anything, or mentally fixing anything, for 15 straight minutes?
I’m going to guess your answer again is no. I don’t know you, but I don’t really need to. I know that you have access to a computer and the internet, which puts you pretty securely in the developed world. And if you live in the developed world, chances are good that you, along with most of the people around you, have lost the art of being still.
Here’s some easier questions: More often than not, are you tired? Overwhelmed? Frustrated? Harried? Falling behind? Frantically trying to keep up? Pasting a smile on your face to convince others you’re ok? Wondering if this is the full life that Jesus told us he came to bring?
These questions are related, friend. There’s a reason that God rested on the 7th day, and it wasn’t because He was tired. He was setting a pattern for us. God’s plan for us is that 1/7 of our lives should be dedicated to worshiping Him and resting. 1/7.
Once, for a grad school requirement I did a “personal retreat”. This was basically God, me, my Bible, and 4 hours. I went to a retreat center alone, so I knew no one; there was nothing to clean or organize or study; I was required to put away my phone and my watch. It was amazing. But it was also the slowest four-hour period of my life. It was hard.
We have been raised in a culture that praises productivity at all costs. We’ve learned it from our parents, and we are busy passing it on to our kids via our own example. If you’re not busy, you must be lazy. If you have time to rest, something is wrong. If your kids aren’t in 17 activities each, you’re a bad parent (how will they ever get into a good college?!).
We have bought into the lie of the American way, bootstraps and all. We need to be successful. We NEED it. Without it, not only do we fear that others will not value us, we fear that we will not be able to value ourselves. And we know it’s not true, but deep down inside, we fear that God might not love us as much, either.
Could I speak some truth into your chaos?
The truth is that your value comes from the fact that God created you.
Do you think He cares how much money you make?
Or if you got a promotion last year?
Or if your bathroom is spotless?
Whether your kid’s socks match?
Of course not! He’s much more concerned with your relationship with Him. Nothing is more important to God than His relationships with his children. Nothing. He sacrificed his only Son for those relationships. They are precious to him. But you can’t have a relationship with anyone unless you spend quality time together.
I know you’re busy. Some of that busyness can’t be helped. But I encourage you to look at your schedule this week and see where your time goes. Then take charge of your own time and MAKE time to be still. Ask God to show you how. You won’t regret it.
What are some of the signs in your life that warn you that you are going down the “busy trap” road? How do you avoid it?