To Busy for a Cup?
When I first retired from education after 30 years, I would drive around town, doing the speed limit, and look around at the sights. I marveled at the fact that I was going the speed limit and seeing things, in the town in which I have always lived, for the first time. I noticed how many tree branches had broken off in the last wind storm, which new store went into the old building on Carson Street, and how many ducks were on the snow covered grass at Mills Park. I remember being enthralled by the fact that it was a Thursday at 10:44 and I was headed to the grocery store after slowly having coffee and working out at home.
I have always been a "rusher". I walk fast, talk fast, fold towels fast, cook fast. Always in a hurry to get something done quickly so I could move on to.... What? Move on to what? Something else I was going to do quickly? My husband always folded towels perfectly, mine were always unmatched and rumpled. When I cooked, there was stuff everywhere, flour, spoons, small veggie parts on the floor, grease on the stove. So, when I retired, I started folding towels in a neater way, slowly cooking so as not to spill the flour or dice veggies that ended up on the floor under the matt. I loved being able to slow down in retirement to enjoy everything around me that, in the past, had flown by and I had missed. But, soon enough, I was back to rushing. Why? Because I felt like I had to be "doing" something all the time. I didn't know how to just "be" and enjoy that feeling. If you are nodding along with me right now, you certainly understand that feeling. I kept telling myself, I was "doing" things that I really wanted to do, not just work in which I was not always happy. Now, I was on the board at my favorite non-profit organization. Now, I was doing community theater. Now, I was going to a Bible study, and bowling 2 nights a week, and attending a small group, and writing, and having lunch with family, and taking my granddaughter to school, and, and, and.....
Hurrying and busyness really hit me this week when my beloved group of ladies decided not to meet for coffee for our monthly book study and get together, mostly because they were too busy or not feeling well because they had been too busy. I know they will be reading this so ladies, please don't think I am upset with you, I know how hard you all work and how busy you are, but it made me realize that we can get so busy that we will miss the most important things in life and in turn, miss what God's grace is all about.
Jesus himself, was busy. The Gospel of Mark tells of His busyness. Jesus and the Apostles could not get any rest because people were following them everywhere, bringing sick people to them, wanting to touch Him, wanting healing and understanding. Jesus understood that he only had a limited time to do his work here on Earth so he kept up with this busyness until the end. He needed to finish His work. But in it all, He always took time to go to His Father and have his needs met.
There has always been busyness here in our world, although I believe we are much more aware of it now and it has become common place for all to be as busy as possible and to be sure to tell everyone how busy we are. But, are we busy doing what God has asked us to do? Our will is often to be busy, have plans, be successful, have more, do more. But God's will is only for us to sit at His feet, focus on Him and have a relationship with Him. I love this quote from Grace Valentine in her devotion on the Proverb 31 Ministries web site, she says, " I will never know why I was created if I don't know my Creator and Savior." God has so much grace to give us and pour over us, but we will miss it all if we never sit long enough to know him, if we never sit long enough to learn about him, if we never sit long enough to hear him tell us how he wants to use us.
In all my recent busyness I had missed Bible study at a friends house for over 6 weeks due to travel and other business happening, and I had missed small group time with couples from my church because I decided to do community theater, and in all of this I missed filling my soul and heart with Jesus. Please don't think, in all of this, though, that you can't have things happening in your life. Yes, we have to work to support our family. Yes, we have to have self care by having coffee and bowling with friends. Yes, we can have our kids in sports and theater. But, what we can't do is replace what God is asking us to do with so many of these things that we are not able to hear His Holy Spirit speak to us or to give up time filling our souls with his word, worship music, or congregating with our Christian friends. There may be short timespans in our life when we will miss out on some of this, yet we know that we will come back to it all once things return to normal, but if normal is always full of busyness, we will never be able to find our purpose in God's eyes.
Grace Valentine also says, "Drop your plans if they are getting in the way of time with sweet Jesus.
Your purpose is more than your job, your activities, your financial stability or your calendar. Jesus doesn’t want your schedule, your hustle or your good deeds. Jesus wants YOU." Walking with God is not a running race, that's why it's called "walking" with God.
God's great grace that he gives to us is pure love that we can take with us into every part of life. If we choose Christ over all this busyness, we will be able to live in the pure joy, love and peace of Christ, and we will be able to share that with others. God's great commandment is for us to love him and love one another. Our only purpose in life is Jesus. We are to love Him and to show him to others. How are we ever going to do this if we cannot find the time to spend with Him?
1 Corinthians 13:4 says, "Love is patient...". Patient does not imply hurrying and rushing. The Oxford dictionary defines patient as, "able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious". Are you able to live out God's commandment, and his eternal grace of love, with other people if you are just too busy? Or does your life come across as anxious, or annoyed? Love is time consuming. Love and busyness are oil and water. Think about those whom you love the most. Maybe these are the ones who live at home with you; your husband, kids. Maybe they are the ones who don't live with you; your mom and dad, grandparents, friends. Are you able to give the time that love takes to go for a walk, make a phone call, have coffee together, or are you just too busy? Have you been able to share God's grace and love with people this week, or have you been short or too busy to talk. Maybe you have yelled at your kids every morning because they are not getting ready fast enough and you are too busy to help them make their lunch? Maybe you got irritated at your husband because his truck was in the shop, again, and you didn't feel you had time to pick him up. Is this how people saw God's grace in you today, this week?
We don't have to live this way. All of the busyness, all of the striving, all of the fighting for what’s mine, all of the goals that we will never meet or fulfill, all of that ends in Jesus, who brings us near to God so that he can be our peace. That is God's great grace. He can take us out of this busy world and bring us peace and joy if we will take time to seek Him first.
You don't have to give up your job. You don't have to stop your exercise routine, your community theater, your bowling, as long as you put in the time to spend with your Savior and seek him first so that your purpose in life can align with what He wants for you. Once you can accomplish this, you can align all the busyness and feel His peace and joy in it all rather than the rush and craziness that usually comes with this busy life.
So, grab your cup of coffee, today mine is a misto with oat milk, and find a quiet spot to talk with Jesus. Ask him to help you get your busyness in check and to help you focus on Him and Him alone.