Friday, November 14, 2008

The Disease of Busyness

Good morning all you busy bees. Thought I would share with you a picture that a friend took of me recently without my knowledge - no Im just kidding! That is not really me below - but it very well could be. It actually looks like something I would do!

My good friend Amy forwarded this picture out to all of us, and titled it the modern Proverbs 31 woman! I thought it was hilarious, but also very fitting!

We are all guilty of being too busy, but if you are anything like me, it takes something crazy like this picture to remind me to get my priorities straight! Seriously, like I said, this picture could be me! I take my laptop everywhere I go, spend way too much time on it, always writing, checking email, organizing things, surfing the web, and everything else that can be done on a laptop.

Aside from obsessive laptop usage, I typically tend to overcommit myself; volunteering for extra things at church; overlapping schedules for the kids sports activities; too much tennis in one week; trying to meet deadlines for writing devotions and blog posts; corporate training engagements; ministry engagements; laundry; carpooling; house cleaning; mending; socializing; and so on and so on.

All these things are good things, but when I find that I have allowed myself to get caught up in the disease of busyness, and as a result, begin feeling down, discouraged, and overwhelmed - only then do I start to think ...... where is God in this busy life of mine?

How often I forget that my busyness can become a lifestyle that crowds out God. I came across a quote once that said this: "The disease of busyness entails a lifestyle that’s so congested that the infected individual can neither enjoy nor nurture a healthy relationship with God.”

Despite how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise, busyness does not make us a better person, better mother, better friend, better employee, or better Christian. Busyness is simply the act of being busy. Busyness is simply what we do to fill up our time.

Although todays culture would like us to think otherwise, God did not intend for us to live a life of hurry, fatigue, and distraction from Him. He did not intend that we put all of our energies into doing more, getting more, and being more. But for most of us, we get caught up in the disease of busyness either accidentally or be default of living, and it infects our lives to the point that we have no idea how to get healed!

I believe there is only one antidote to this disease: CHOICE. Some things we must do, but other things we can choose whether or not to do. We can choose to make God our highest priority, or we can choose to make keeping busy our priority.

As women, we like to say yes. We want people to think we are helpful, resourceful, dependable, willing to serve, and able to jump at a moments notice. We tend to rank our level of busyness right up there with the importance of a college education - but is that what the Word says is important? Nope.

Say this word out loud: NO. Say it again: NO. Get it? Sometimes we have to say no! Sometimes we have to say no to someone asking us to do something, even if it is a good thing to do, and that can be hard. But God asks that we come to Him with all of our requests, problems or concerns, including whether or not to take on another task or responsibility. We can choose to allow to guide our lips on whether or not to say yes and what things we should add to our plate on any given day - if any!

If after asking God about a decision, you feel prompted to say no, then pray that God will keep feelings of guilt from creeping into your heart - because we are great at feeling guilty about letting people down!

All we really need is Gods approval, and to make sure that we are acting in Gods will for our lives and our relationship with Him. That is an important fact to keep in mind when we feel compelled to say no to something that lets someone else down, even when we know it is in our best interest.

Are you infected with the disease of busyness today? Do you feel like there is no antibiotic for your form of busyness? Just start by praying. Ask God to show you where you should be serving and where you should be devoting your time and energies. Ask Him to make it clear which obligations or commitments you should let go of, so that you can make more time for Him, more time for your family, and more time to do the things that He has truly destined for you to do. Lastly, pray for a peace to be able to let go of that thing or things that God makes clear to you, and then pray for the courage to actually do it.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

This is a great verse to remind ourselves of - it might even prevent us from taking our laptops to the toilet! Take a rest today, friend. Take that antidote today of making good choices - choices that line up with Gods will for your life.

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Joyful said...

Tracie, that picture is hilarious! I've haven't gone that far yet, but I do have an attachment to my laptop.

Have you seen the acrostic for BUSY - "Burdened Under Satan's Yoke". Learning to say 'no' has actually become easier as I've grown older. Maybe wisdom really does come with years :o) My rule of thumb is to pray about everything asked of me, and if I don't receive any specific direction from God by the time I need to give a response, I go with my Pastor's teaching - "when in doubt - don't". If I'm still uncertain as to what to do, my answer is 'no'.

Too often the tyranny of the urgent can steal our time. Praying the peace that passes understanding will be your confirmation in all you do.


Shanda said...

Love the photo! How hilarious! It could easily have been me if it weren't sitting on the floor in a public restroom...that is one desperate woman! :)

Business seems to be cyclical in my life. I do really well for long periods of time and then have to re-evaluate as I feel it taking over again.

Loved Joy's acrostic for BUSY as well!

Blessings & Peace!

Speaking Thru Me Ministries said...

oh my - great photo!!! It could be me at times.... what a shame! thanks for this post!!! caught me off guard, but right in the face!!! thanks! Love, Leigh

Irritable Mother said...

"we are great at feeling guilty about letting people down"
You mean, it isn't just me? Other people feel this way, too???
Yeah, strange as it may seem sometimes I feel more "proud" of myself for saying NO to a request that I do for saying YES - when I end up feeling overwhelmed and, ahem, irritable because I have taken on too much.
Saying NO isn't easy, but sometimes it is a very good thing!