Recently my wife and the Lord have told me that it’s time to start saying no to things. When life gets so busy that you’re double booking, forgetting things you’ve agreed to and are living exhausted all the time, you’re doing too much. Life has lots of demands by itself, then we start complicating it by adding things to it. If we’re not careful, we can get so caught up in doing things for our families, our friends, our churches and others that we forget to stop and rest. Worse yet, we can miss our quiet time with God.
Busyness is not necessarily a sign of Godliness. In our minds, it’s easy to equate the two, but there is a point where we just need to stop, sit down and feed ourselves mentally, spiritually and emotionally. When Jesus went to the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, Martha was busy preparing food and serving her guests. She was doing what was necessary because she had guests, but she was stressing herself out too. That’s when she noticed her sister wasn’t even helping her. Instead, she was just sitting there listening to Jesus.
When Martha complained to Jesus, His reply to her was also to us. In Luke 10:41 He said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things” (AMP). Each one of us should substitute our name for hers right there and know that God is ok with you slowing down, clearing your calendar and removing the things from your life that distract you from Him. Life isn’t about being busy all the time. It’s preparation for eternity. When you get to Heaven, you’re not going to be asked how busy you were or how much you accomplished. You’re going to be asked how well you knew Jesus and how well He knew you.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
I like to say that I’m one of the busiest people I know. I hate down time and being unproductive. It’s been that way since I was a kid. I remember hating taking showers or even having to go to the restroom because they were wasting my time. I grew up to work for a company that embraced busyness and expected it. Most people there didn’t just work 9-5. They took work home and did it in the evening and at night at the expense of family time. With high expectations of busyness and productivity, I thrived and felt at home. Busyness has become a badge of honor, not just at that company, but in our world. We’re constantly on the go, juggling more balls than we can handle, and we’re teaching it to our kids.
I think that’s why so many of us are struggling with being quarantined with this pandemic. It’s forcing us to slow down and rest. It has fundamentally altered our life and schedule, and so many people are feeling unproductive because of it. I believe it’s part of God’s plan to make us rest and reset though. He’s the one who instituted a day of rest even before the fall of man, but we haven’t been good about honoring that commandment. To me, this is like God slowing us down to teach us that life goes on even if you’re not busy. The bonus is that you get to rest and reset your priorities in the process.
Psalm 23 is one of the most famous passages in scripture, but have you really listened to the 2nd and 3rd verses? They say, “He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters. He refreshes and restores my soul (life)” (AMP). The way I memorized it said, “He MAKES me lie down…” God’s plan for us is not to be busy, but to restore us and to refresh us. If we won’t take the time to do it, He’ll lead us into those places of rest. If you’re going nuts during this time, change your perspective to see that God is leading you to green pastures so that you can get unbusy and rest. Let Him refresh your life and help you to reset how you live going forward.
Have you ever been sitting at a red light, or in traffic, and looked over and thought, “When did they build that?” It happens to me all the time. I take the same route to work each day, but sometimes the traffic patterns change. I’ll look over and see a building or something else and wonder how I missed it before. I’d driven by it a 100 times before, but somehow I’d never seen it. Was I too tired every other time? No. The difference is that this time I stopped and then looked around.
It makes me wonder how much of who God is, and what He says, that we miss because our prayers just us talking. I wonder how much He’s trying to show us, but our lives are too busy. He created us to be industrious. That’s a great trait that He put in us, but He also knew that it would mean we need to be reminded to stop and breathe every once in a while or we’d miss Him. We have a tendency to make everything so much about us, that we lose sight of our creator.
In Psalm 46:10 God said, “Be still, and know that I am God!” (NLT) When we learn to be still in His presence, in prayer and in life, we begin to notice things about Him that we’ve never seen. Society has taught us that growth and advancement come from being busy, but God teaches us that they come from being still. Today, make time to stop and be still so you can see things you’ve never seen. God is waiting and wanting to reveal Himself to you. Are you willing to slow down and notice?