Exciting phrases, easy acronyms, and memorable lists formed from dense works of systematic theology can be helpful for the everyday Christian. While these reductions of God’s Word and His nature help us understand general frameworks, they are unable to help us understand everything the Bible teaches. It is one thing...
Find your life-balance—that statement that always seems impossible to attain. We often try to compartmentalize our lives: work life, home life, social life. But the lines overlap, despite our best attempts, especially when we become exhausted by our rat race.
Controlled by tight schedules, busyness has become the badge of honor modern Americans wear like a purple heart. Some add a martyr complex to the already strained struggle, even if the consuming activities aren’t necessarily, well, necessary.
Undoubtedly, we’ve all been there—teetering on the brink of a meltdown because we’ve tried to pack too many things into a day. Perhaps you’ve already seen the meltdowns come to fruition because of overworking, over-scheduling, and overextending yourself.
Like a family of ten painfully contorting themselves to fit into a Honda Civic, packing our days full of activities will eventually take its toll on our health and our relationships. It can even stall us from growing closer to the Lord.
Reassess Your Busyness
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon is the perfect example of someone who appears to “have it all,” only to realize the emptiness that accompanies wealth, greatness, and success:
But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. (Ecclesiastes 2:11)
This book of the Bible effectively illustrates how pointless pursuits can be; how nothing will truly satisfy us apart from God; and how a person can reassess where they’re placing time and efforts.
In the first chapter of Ecclesiastes, verse 10, after various times of stating how meaningless everything is, Solomon goes on to say, “No one will remember what we are doing now.” That may seem like a cynical way to view life, but ultimately, anything we do that doesn’t glorify and bring joy to God, point others to Jesus, or help his people is futile, “like chasing the wind.”
Yes, there are other valuable things he’s placed on this planet for us to enjoy, but we are not to place those pleasures or ambitions ahead of him and his people:
So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him? God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him. (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)
Rest for the Busy
When you’re finally in the Lord’s presence, will he pat you on the back for your full schedule? Will anyone celebrate you after your death for your busyness? Will anyone remember the good memories they had with you and the impact you made if you had no time for them?
How will others know the good news of the gospel if we are too preoccupied to be the hands and feet of Jesus?
When we’re too busy, our vision is blurred, and resentment can easily settle in when we see others who appear to “have time” to accomplish things we’d like to be doing, or “taking things easy” and recharging.
Perhaps the reason you’re allowing your schedule to be so hectic is to combat loneliness or a fear of missing out, because of familial needs or an intense motivation to reach a particular goal. Whatever your reasons are, remember that you need rest, both mentally and physically.
God clearly doesn’t grow overwhelmed, weary, or weak. But he did want to set an example for us so we wouldn’t burn ourselves out, and to remind us to focus on him. In Exodus 20:8-10, he commands us to observe the Sabbath day and to keep it holy: “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.”
Satan loves to make us ineffective Christians, and one of the ways he can do that is by encouraging us to cram our schedules so full of various commitments, even for very good causes, that we don’t have time to grow closer to the Lord, make meaningful relationships, and help those in need. A constant desire to be active results in us failing to notice things we could have seen had we not been so distracted by our to-do lists.
Dispel the Myth of Busyness
This is definitely not a call to be idle. It’s a call to work diligently while still resting in the Lord and giving others the gift of our time and presence—our full attention. God isn’t the one driving us to work all hours of the day. We are to glorify him in our work, but we are also called to be still and know he is God.
In your busyness, consider Jesus’ invitation of salvation, freedom, forgiveness, and peace, paid for by his ultimate sacrifice on the cross. You no longer have to be a slave to sin, schedules, expectations, and societal standards of success. Through a relationship with him, he gives you the Holy Spirit to empower and guide you through each hour, situation, and stage, and he will give you rest and a peace that transcends understanding.
Do you have time to encourage a friend over a cup of coffee? Do you have a chance to catch your breath? Do you take the time to bask in God’s presence, learn more about him in his Word, and worship him?
Life is full of varied seasons, and many of our responsibilities seem out of our control. But when the items on our schedules become idols, there’s a problem. Don’t buy into the lies and expectations of the myth of busyness. Instead, seek after God’s will for your priorities and the best use of one of his greatest gifts—time—and trust Christ who redeemed the time perfectly.