This post is the fourth part of the “Hi … I am Busy” series.
At the last post, we learned that many of us are busy because we are starving for connections. We are created for relationships, but we somehow have found a way to get connected to others while avoiding deep relationships. The end result is we are busy but we are not connected deeply with anyone. Social media only highlights this problem. The solution is not to run away from social media altogether, but to redeem your social media time to embark on deepening your relationship with a group of people.
The second reason that many people are busy is this:
Many of us are busy because we are empty.
What does it mean? It basically means that we are busy trying to fill ourselves up with activities, but we are left wanting and empty inside.
Now. How do you know if you are in this situation?
Let me ask you this question:
- Do you feel it’s difficult to slow down?
- Do you feel guilty when you take a vacation?
- Do you feel useless or worthless when you are not being productive?
- Do you feel that life is worth living only when you have so many things to do?
If you say yes to any one of the above questions, chances are you have been busy but empty. Again, I am not saying that being busy or being productive is sin. No. I will be the first to point out that laziness is sin. And I will be quick to say that God created us for good works. However, when God created the world, He rested on the seventh day. Why? To enjoy His labour. In a sense, God took a vacation to enjoy the fruit of His work.
Jesus was perhaps the busiest person ever. Everyone was looking for him. Everyone wanted to talk to him. Jesus could not find time alone that He had to wake up very early just to be with His Father. He was very busy. But did Jesus slow down? Yes. He enjoyed being with people and eating with people. He enjoyed staying with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in their home, just enjoying their company, and being attended to by them. He also went to be alone with God the Father frequently, to pray.
Friends, many of us are busy, we are afraid to slow down, probably because really we are empty inside. We mask our emptiness with busyness.
When we pause and reflect, we become vulnerable. We start to realise our emptiness. We start to realise that we might have put our identity so much on our busyness, on what we do, and this realization is not comfortable. That’s why we’d rather keep doing and doing. It gives us the feeling of being useful, being productive, but the reality is that we are running empty. We are looking for stuff to give meaning to our lives.
Furthermore, reflecting is hard work. It is not easy. Some of us don’t even know what to do or where to begin. And consequently, we decide to do more, thinking that it will fill the hole in our hearts. But the reality is that we cannot.
Blaise Pascal is famously known for this quote. It has become somewhat overused, but I think it is still the truth:
“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”
If you read the book of Ecclesiastes, you can read the meditation of a man who is trying to fulfil his life and his heart with much busyness. He tried with all kinds of pleasure. He tried to fill his life with so many good works, so many busyness, planting vineyards, building stuff, being productive. He also tried to fill his life by filling up his knowledge, doing so many researches. But he concluded that all was chasing after the wind. All was meaningless. Why? He specifically said because he was searching under the sun. In the end, he said that the only duty of man is to fear God, to bring God back into the equation.
The only way to do this is to slow down, to pause, to go to our room, and to be still and to wait upon God in his still small voice. That’s why one of spiritual disciplines that many Christians have lost is the discipline of quiet time. Why? Because to do quiet time, you need time, and you need quietness, both of which are very very difficult to find these days. But, friends, if you don’t find time to reflect, and to hear from God, you are running empty. You can work like a machine, but you are a machine in the brink of a major breakdown.
“But, Sandy, I am so busy. I have no time.”
If that’s you, then all the more you need to slow down.
Martin Luther once said this:
“I have so much to do today that I will spend the first three hours in prayer.”
My point is not that we have to spend three hours everyday in prayer. Some of you might need to do that. The point, however, is that the more things you have, the more you need to fuel your spiritual and emotional tank, and only God can fill that.
So, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, if you are so busy that you cannot have time for quiet time, then something has got to give.
Perhaps your time spent with technology should be replaced with bible reading. Perhaps your time spent on the TV. Whatever it is. You got to do something about this. Make this a priority this year.
“But Sandy, seriously, I don’t watch TV much, I don’t spend time with technology much, but I am still so so busy.”
Then perhaps you might identify with the third one: We are busy because we are insecure or prideful. We’ll look at it at the next post.
- Hi … I am busy …
- It’s not bad to be busy, is it?
- Busy is not respectable anymore
- Cultivating Deep Relationships in small groups
- I am busy … getting noticed