"How are you today?" she asked me. "Oh, just crazy busy," I respond. It's expected in our society, almost seen as the only way to live life. If you're not busy, you're seen by many as not productive and sometimes even lazy. I've been thinking a great deal about busyness lately, digging deep into God's Word to see what He says about the topic. And I have come to realize that busyness might just be an enemy of God.
This hasn't been an easy realization, though. You see, I have lived my life around frenzied activity, moving from one task to the next so quickly that I can barely breathe. I viewed downtime as wasted time, rather than as a way to re-boot and re-charge. This has been my way of life since I was a child; always on the move and getting things accomplished. But for many, including myself at times, a life of busyness leads to an accumulation of skills for personal achievement, but neglects the cultivation of godly character and a personal relationship with God.
I don't know about you, but the last thing I need or want is for anything to get in the way of my relationship with my Savior and Friend! But as I reflect on how I have been living my life, in a frenzied non-stop way, I realize that busyness has indeed become an idol for me and I believe the same is true for many of you reading this.
How has it become an idol for me, you ask? An idol is anything that absorbs your heart more than God or anything that you seek to fulfill you. In my life, I have filled my days with busyness mainly because I hate being alone and I'm seeking fulfillment somehow from my tasks and deeds, rather than from God's goodness. My heart is more absorbed by my to-do list than developing a Godly character and building a relationship with him.
In Luke 10, Jesus corrected Martha when her busyness got in the way of spending time with Christ. While Mary sat at Jesus' feet, soaking in his wisdom, Martha was busy making preparations for the day. Martha approached Jesus and asked him if he cared that her sister had left her to do all the work by herself and requested that he ask Mary to assist her. "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many tings, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42)
I don't know about you, but when I get busy, my priorities are thrown out the window. I'm too tired in the morning to get out of bed in order to sit down with my Bible open and spend quality time with God. My evenings are filled with meetings and computer work, so time with my husband and son becomes slim. I don't have time to spend with my best friend/accountability partner, and we start drifting. We need to first order our priorities and then slow down enough to remember them, so that we give our best time and effort to what matters most in life.
Psalm 39:6 says: Man is a mere phantom, as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.
As mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and friends, we often find it hard to say no. We know in our hearts that we're too busy already, but when asked to sit on a church committee, community board, or volunteer at our kids' classroom event, we say yes because we know it will make a positive difference in our community. It's important for us, as Christians to make a positive difference, but even the most 'holy' of activities can quickly turn into burdens when they take away from our quiet time with God. Serving in ministry to others, encouraging the sick and elderly, being productive at your job, and many other tasks on our agendas all have merit. But none of these should be done at the expense of our relationship with Christ. We need to guard our precious alone time with God.
Even Jesus himself knew how important quiet time with God is. In Luke 5:16, we are told that "Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." We need to follow Christ's example and spend time in prayer and devotion with God.
I am slowly learning how to fill my hours with God, rather than on worldly tasks; putting Christ in His rightful place in my life. Will you join with me as I develop in this way?