It happens all the time. You run into someone you haven’t seen in awhile and they ask you, “What are you up to these days?” You respond, “Keeping busy.” Or you’re at the grocery store and the cashier notices the 4 kids you have in tow and remarks, “Wow, you’re busy!”
What is it about our culture that values “busy” so much? We wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as if the busier we are the greater our value. It’s simply not so. Why are we so obsessed with being busy?
The Opposite of Busy is Not Idleness
I suspect we want to be busy, because we are afraid of judgement for idleness.
idle, adj: (1) not active or in use; (2) without purpose or effect, pointless
The problem lies in the lie. Being not busy doesn’t mean being idle. Choosing a life of non-busyness does not mean choosing laziness. It simply means being intentional about where we choose to spend our time. It’s choosing a life with margin, with space around the edges so you don’t lose focus on what’s important.
Imagine this website. Imagine if the sidebars were full of bright pictures, words, gifs, and videos. How well would you be able to see the content, the message on the page, the purpose behind the article? I’m guessing you’d be so distracted with all the busyness on the page, you’d not be able to focus on the article itself.
And so it is with our lives. When we fill up all the free space with “stuff” we aren’t able to focus on the main event. Our faith, our kids, our spouse, and our job get pushed aside with the noise of everything else we’re trying to do. And in the end we are living a distracted life, not just a busy one.
The Value of Rest
When God created the world, he took the 7th day to rest. Can you imagine… God saw the sun rise on that 7th day, leaned over to Jesus, and said, “You know, *yawn* that Holy Spirit kept me up all night last night. Boy, can he be chatty. *sigh* I’ve been busy these last few days with Creation and all, I think I’m going to take today off. In fact, let’s all take today off!”
I don’t think that’s how it went. In fact, I believe that God was very intentional when He chose to take the 7th day and rest. He made 1/7 or 14% of Creation rest. He spent more time resting than He did creating Man. And then He commanded it to His people.
When I was in high school I had a friend and mentor who would say “I can sleep in heaven!”
If God put that high of a priority on rest, shouldn’t we? Of course there are busy seasons of life where we are doing God’s work, raising a family, or building a business and we have to keep going, but rest can be found in the little things.
Rest can be as simple as stopping when you are feeling frustrated or empty and raising your hands to God in prayer, pausing in peace and silence and asking Him to fill your spirit.
Rest can be sitting in the car at the grocery store for 5 minutes with your music off and eyes closed, breathing.
A New Paradigm
Rest doesn’t have to mean taking an entire day to sit at home and play cards. It’s about taking these stolen moments and using them to fill up with God and His peace. Allow Him to fill the holes in your life.
It’s about cultivating a life of praise. As we do, rest will come more naturally.
And what if we responded to these questions differently? What if we took off our Badges of Busyness and responded differently?
I know I want to cultivate a life of peace, contentment, and intentionality for my kids. I don’t want them growing up believing there’s never enough time to do the things you want. I don’t want them to think running behind and on Empty is a sustainable way of life.
So the next time you want to say you’re “keeping busy,” what will you say instead?
I’m in love with my life.
I’m finding my joy and living in peace.