Busy. I am busy. Sometimes, I’m busy because I’ve got a lot to do. Sometimes, I’m busy because I’ve put some things off too long. Sometimes, honestly, I’m busy because I don’t know how not to be. In our western culture in the US, life moves at a breakneck pace. We rush and rush and rush to cram one more appointment into the day, take care of the to-do list we made too long in the first place, or return that pressing phone call. If we aren’t taking an appointment, or making one, we are responding to emails or sending text messages. I know some people who seem to constantly get in over their heads to feel a sense of accomplishment. Time is money, isn’t it? I recently read this article from Dr. Stephanie Brown in the New York Post chronicling just what I am describing.
Other parts of the world, thankfully, haven’t caught up with our busyness addiction. In the last few years, I have been able to serve on mission in Haiti, Honduras, and Kenya. All three of these nations operate much, much slower than we do. When my family and I were in Honduras together on a mission trip, our host pastor was taking us to a wedding he was leading one evening after our work was done. We arrived back from a hot day in the villages around 5:00 pm to get ready for the wedding that was scheduled to begin at 6:00 pm. When we asked our host pastor what time we should be ready to leave for the wedding, he said, “6:15.” You read that right. The preacher of the wedding said we didn’t need to leave until 15 minutes after the wedding was supposed to start. Cue three brides-to-be hyperventilating, two mothers-of-the bride immediately calling their pastor to make sure this doesn’t happen to them, and at least one preacher chuckling and snickering while reading this. That’s life lived at a different pace.
Coming back stateside from parts of the world that creep along much more slowly has felt like trying to jump onto a running treadmill going full speed. It’s reminded me of just how fast, and maybe just how wrongly fast, we sometimes try to go here. I’m finding that if I will slow down and dig deeper into the words of God, he has a different pace for us to be living by.
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
Jesus, in the midst of the pressure of all those who needed him–even desperately needed him–found his way to rest, slow down, and pray. We would do well to follow in those footsteps.
A few years ago, another verse of Scripture began to hammer this same lesson into me. As 2017 neared an end, I found myself gravitating back to it. Over the next few posts, I will be unpacking four key truths from Psalm 46:10 that have been helping me still my busyness.
Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
As we navigate these simple, powerful words together, it’s my hope we all will find rest from our busyness in stillness before God. But I’m curious. What antidotes to over-busyness have worked for you? What’s God used to help you slow down? What lessons could you pass along to myself or others? I look forward to your posts in the comments section.