Rest and The Culture of Busyness

Lately…it’s been rough.

I could pinpoint several things that are hard, but it’s more a host of hard things in combination with a lack of sleep & not seeing my husband (he’s been traveling) & the busyness of modern life leaving me exhausted.

Saturday was the beginning of a what I hope will be a breakthrough. I got up at 5am to run the “I Run For The Party” Hard Rock half-marathon. The highlight? My co-worker Ashley braved the cold and came to cheer me on at an ungodly hour especially on a Saturday. I “PRed” or if you aren’t up on the running lingo-I set my “personal record”: 1.49.54. But it wasn’t running 13.1 miles that made me think.

It wasn’t until I returned home and found myself on my hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor. As I knelt and scrubbed {my legs throbbing} a seemingly loud thought come over my mind. “I think there is something wrong with me. Is there something wrong with me?” I wanted to know. I put the towel down, sat on the wet floor, and began to process.

I ran 13 miles this morning and now am scouring the bathroom {and just before the kitchen}. But the bathroom is dirty…it needs to be cleaned. The kitchen was dirty and I vowed to be a good wife and keep a clean house. I thought about my days that often begin before 6am and don’t end until 9 or later. But that is just how life is…I’m like everyone else. And some people work way more hours in a week than I do and have commitments EVERY night of the week. No matter how I justified my busyness, something was unsettling.

“God or Jesus or an angelic messenger shows up, and those who should know better, who should be paying attention-priests, lawyers, teachers, apostles-typically miss it, while those least “deserving”-shepards, children, beggars, whores-typically grasp it, and immediately.”– The Rest of God

I read a chapter in The Rest of  God and prayed fervently-“I don’t want to miss out on what YOU have for me because I’m so damn busy with “good things”. These ‘good things’ are women’s group, community group, running, blogging, church activities, & work. How can I cut any of that out? All I know is I must because I cannot sustain this pace.  The Rest of God suggests that the culture of busyness is destructive and we will miss God’s voice and His leading if we don’t stop. Rest. Cease doing and pay attention. Author Buchanan even says, if we don’t choose to lie down, God sometimes makes us. He experienced this personally with his health breaking after decades of the busy life of pastoring a church.

Michael and I sat outside of the church service this morning and talked about ways to cut back, spend more time with each other, and learn to just BE. We aren’t quitting our jobs, he isn’t dropping out of school, and I’m still committed to blogging.

So how do we slow down? The first step is making a list of what we MUST DO vs. what we think we SHOULD DO. The things we must do are that which we feel called to, which God has spoken clearly about. For Michael: seminary and his job at the church. For me: working at Thomas Nelson and blogging.

Community group, service, extra church activities…all fall in the category of “good”, but not essential. Yes, one could argue that we SHOULD join the church next weekend, we SHOULD be in a weekly community group, we SHOULD serve those less fortunate…but I believe that oftentimes the enemy wins by getting Christians wrapped up in “good things”. And we miss what is most important. We miss the man on the side of the road because we are consumed with our important ‘to do list’. I don’t want to be the priest or the Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan. I want to be the man who is paying attention and stops to help.

I’m on the journey to figuring out how to cut back in order to pay attention to God’s voice and leading. Michael and I hope to learn how to say “NO” & not feel guilty. No bows to wrap up this post, but I wanted to share with each of you…in case you might be in the middle of scrubbing the bathroom floor. And need some REST.

Is anyone with me? Do you think the culture of busyness is destructive? How have you found ways to find rest in God alone? {PLEASE COMMENT BELOW}.

4 thoughts on “Rest and The Culture of Busyness

  1. Totally agree! I feel like I’ve been on a personal quest recently to get rid of some of the busyness in my own life and then try to convince others to do the same. I wrote a post recently about this – “Get Less Busy”:
    I find that we don’t leave enough margin in our lives to be able to seize the opportunities that come along sporadically – time to rejuvenate ourselves, quality time with friends/family, opportunities to serve others when a spur of the moment need arises… And I know it’s very hard for me to focus on being still in God’s presence. It’s an ongoing battle.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

  2. This is really good! I come from a very busy church that pretty much goes against everything you’ve said because in their eyes the church comes first. But if you’re not growing then what’s the point? Yes, we want to bring people to Christ, but we can’t be losing our own salvation (from so much DOING) along the way. Sometimes it’s about BEING. I have found a good balance of this of late but think it still needs a bit more of my focus. I love what you say about what we MUST do vs. what we SHOULD do. I think Christians tend to do much of what they ‘should’ be doing instead of what is really important to them. I want to live with purpose and be selective about how I spend my time, life is too short to be so busy that we can’t enjoy it! I think I would rather that my life is ‘full’ instead of busy. Thanks for writing!

    • Love this! One of my favorite pastors once said, “You need to take a Sabbath to remember that the earth is still spinning on it’s axis without your input. God is still on the throne; He doesn’t need you.” I love that resting means we see more of God and understand His greatness more significantly. At least…that’s my experience! Thanks for reading & commenting.

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