Busyness is not a badge, even in Christian circles. How do I know? Look at the life of Jesus. He pleased his Father. He accomplished all God had for him to do. But Jesus never ran. We live in a fast-paced world. And yet, instead of being able to get things done faster so we can rest, people try to cram more into their already busy lives. God made us for community, but some of the things we do make us too tired to even get together with others.
If we think doing more makes us more important, we are believing lies of the enemy of our soul like these:
Lie #1: Busyness = Spiritual Maturity
Those who think busyness = being more spiritual are using the wrong measuring tool. God clearly tells us in Psalm 46:10 to be still. Even Jesus periodically would pull himself away from all he had to do, and spend time alone with his Father.
The world uses the measuring stick of being perpetually busy as a good thing. And when one person shares all they crammed into their day, the next person tries to top them as they recount all they did.
Lie #2: Busyness Proves I’m Not Lazy
God tells us we are not to be lazy. But there is a big difference between being lazy and being still. As long as we are on this earth, we have limitations. Our bodies are designed to need rest. Some people are so afraid of looking like they are lazy that they fill every single moment with things to do, to ensure they are not anywhere near lazy.
When the Bible mentions the lazy person in Proverbs 26:15, he talks about the man being so lazy he doesn’t even lift his hand to his mouth. Maybe some overwork because they were called lazy when they were young.
It’s hard to break some of those fears we had when we were younger. We need to bring them to the Lord and he’ll let us know the truth from the lies.
Lie #3: Working Nonstop Means I’m Indispensable
I once heard a story about a woman who wanted to play the organ at church. Unfortunately, the church already had Helen who would play every week. So Mary tried to forget about ever playing.
One day Helen asked if she could have a Sunday off of playing for church. Mary’s heart skipped a beat. Really? She’d finally get to play for God?
The day came and Mary played her best. She felt wonderful until she saw Helen approaching her. A knot formed in Mary’s stomach. What would Helen say? Mary knew her playing didn’t measure up to Helen’s playing.
“I just want to thank you, for playing today.” Helen said to Mary, smiling. “It is the first time in years that I got to sit next to my husband in church.”
While the message in this story was that we should want to serve God even if we think we won’t do as well as someone else, I see another point to bringing this story up. Maybe it would have been good if Helen was not the sole organist. Then others could serve the Lord in that capacity.
No one is indispensable, but we give in to that lie when we think we are.
Lie #4: Doing More Means I’m Worth More
When I was younger, I volunteered in many different capacities in our church. My husband used to say, I was there whenever the doors were open. It felt good to be busy, but it was also feeding another part of me. It made me feel like I was worth more, by doing more.
Then the Lord showed me I was not taking care of my own family as I could, because I was doing too much in other areas. It was a humbling lesson, but one I needed to learn.
Satan is relentless in trying to get us to believe our worth is based on what we do. But God tells us we are valuable because we are made in his image. And when we trust in the sacrifice Jesus made, we are valuable because we are God’s children.
It is not what we do. It’s what was already done for us by Jesus. God not only forgave us our sins when Jesus shed his perfect blood on the cross, God also attributed to us, Jesus’ righteousness. (Romans 4:5)
To think we can add to what Jesus already did is to diminish his sacrifice. God will never love us more, nor love us less. Those who believe you God’s love is earned by performance are being deceived.
Trying to Do it All Isn’t Following Christ
In Romans 12:2, God tells us we should not conform ourselves to this world but instead let God’s Word transform our minds. That way we will be able to discern what God’s perfect will is.
In Proverbs 3:5-6, we are told to trust God wholeheartedly. And when we do, God will actually direct our paths. And God’s paths will not be those that will tax us to the limit.
Jesus himself did not do all that there was to do. He did only what his Father wanted him to do. When we try to do it all, we are not following Christ. We are trying to outdo him. That was a hard sentence to write. Maybe because I used to try to do it all.
God blesses us with families. People inside our lives we can love and serve. And when we serve our families, we are also serving God. In Colossians 3:17, we’re told whatever we do we can do as unto God. One place of service is not higher than another.
What Should We Do?
The answer is not to do more, but rather, to find time apart with the Lord, like Jesus did. To be still. To listen to God’s promptings, and like my one friend suggests: to find out what’s on God’s to-do list for you.
If we spent more time just being still with God, we would have the balance God desires us to have. A life where we serve, we love, and we live as God intended. Then others would see a difference in us. And we could tell them of the hope within us. (1 Peter 3:15)
A Prayer as We Follow Jesus:
Father God, I come before you asking you to give us wisdom. We pray that we would want to follow Christ and reflect him in our day-to-day living. God, help us, to come to you and ask you what you have for us to do today. Help us to pull away for life’s busy schedules and to draw near to you when we need to. Give us wisdom so we don’t conform ourselves to those around us in the world, but that we seek to show the world another way. Help us, Lord. Help us so that in doing so, we can draw others to your precious Son. For we pray this in Jesus’ Holy name. Amen.
Anne Peterson knows what it’s like to do too much. Anne is a regular contributor to Crosswalk and a poet, speaker and published author of 15 books. Her books include: Broken: A story of abuse, survival, and hope, as well as a volume of 3 books, He Whispers: Poetic talks with God. Sign up for anne’s newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and click on free Ebooks to choose one.Or connect with Anne on Facebook. Follow her, and you’ll hear about her latest book, ALWAYS THERE: Finding God’s Comfort Through Loss.
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