“Busy” – the four letter word that I have been repeatedly using like a mantra. It may seem like an unassuming noun but it has been playing on my mind that to God, it’s bad language. I have been studying Isaiah 58-59 which is about the hypocrisy of seemingly good self-sacrifice when the heart is not willing. In verse 58:4a “Your fasting ends in quarrelling and strife” The people of Judah may have been going through the motions of worship but it is ending up in a brawl. Well, that sound very familiar when I get busy.
This past week my kids where on half term and instead of having quality time with them, I kept dashing back and forth into my office to look at emails. It got to Friday and I didn’t do what I should have done, so everything that I tried to do didn’t amount to anything.
Why am I always using this word ‘busy’ which describes being out of control and unfocused? I say this word, mostly as an excuse when I haven’t done something, don’t want to do something or have let someone down. “Sorry Mom, I haven’t called you in a while, I have just been so busy.” I do want to spend time with my kids but shouldn’t I be “too busy”. I think you know what I mean, “busy” is never used to describe a day spent with my children, or in prayer or walking around the park. It’s always said in frustration and honestly it’s like an admission that we are enslaved by time – and I want to be free. “Busy” puts up the defences and closes my heart.
I recently heard a perfect anachronism for the word “Being Under Satan’s Yoke” That’s right. Because I never feel good about it, and to be really honest, as I learned last week – it is not productive either.
Now, don’t think I am being sanctimonious; sometimes life can feel overwhelming and I am not suggesting a stiff upper lip to getting on with multi-tasking without complaint. The truth is that even just a few minutes in prayer makes my life feel easier and I don’t have that “busy” grip on my heart.
Isn’t it amazing how much we can actually achieve when we are letting God lead it and how our most productive days can fill us with joy and even give us strength rather than zap all our energy?
Now, I am embarrassed to admit that I have at times worn the “busy” badge like it is an honour. “Oh you know I’m running a business, taking care of the house, I doing it all and very busy, busy, busy. “ What am I actually saying about my self-worth? Am I afraid that people will think I am not important or useful? Have you ever found yourself competing over the trophy for “who’s been carrying a heaviest yoke”?
Jesus teaches us that it is not by our good works that we are judged but by the state of our hearts.
Eph 2:8 “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.” We know that so very often we are just willingly getting on the hamster wheel when God has put on our hearts that we need to consider his priorities over the worlds view. As women particularly, we are being tricked into thinking that we need to always be showing our busyness like this is our value. But we should know better, we have God’s generous love.
So, I am giving up on being ‘busy’. My prayer is to be more mindful of God’s will in my life and what He values which is seeking my self-worth in Jesus.
Matt 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Dear Lord, I praise you that you have created each person for your good works which you prepared in advance. Thank you that you fill us with joy when we are doing your will and for your promise that we will inherit heaven on earth not by our deeds but through the redemption of Jesus. Thank you for taking away the burden of our sins and freeing us from Satan’s yoke. Amen