As I mentioned in my post the other day (you can find it HERE), life has been very busy lately. It’s kind of ironic since this year I really wanted to slow down and get off the whole busy train, but other people’s schedules and events have kind of taken over my life. That happens when your son is about ready to graduate and your husband is turning 50, all within a few weeks of each other. In fact, the things that have made life busy are good things and they are things that really can’t be taken off my list.
But, lately, I’ve been dragging through my days. My joy and energy has felt kind of sucked away, and I have found myself putting off lunches and get togethers with friends because I have one more thing to do, and the idea of stopping or slowing down makes my chest feel tight with anxiety – because how will I get ALL THE THINGS DONE?
As a result, my soul has felt a bit shriveled. As Anne Shirley would say, “I feel rather rumpled in spirit.” In fact, writing on here has been a struggle because usually I just write about what God is showing me and things have been a bit quiet. Ironically, the reason things have been quiet on God’s end is because I am having trouble being still and quiet to listen.
Or – true confessions here – when I get quiet, I fall asleep. I can’t tell you how many times lately I’ve closed my eyes to pray and woken with a start 30 minutes later, the time I’ve allotted for prayer completely gone and edging into my work hours.
Mostly, though, I find my mind refusing to focus when I pray or even when I’m reading my Bible. Instead, it races through all the things I need to get done and how I am going to fit them in and oh, I should write that down so I don’t forget and…. suddenly it’s past time I need to get to work.
So, yes, while I’m busy with good things, they have sort of invaded and taken over my spirit pushing aside the Spirit. The noise of my to dos drowning out God’s still small voice.
The result is that I feel empty. Without the fullness of God, that’s really not a surprise, but it’s so easy to get on the merry-go-round of busy and in the dizziness of doing forget how to get off once in a while.
Despite my lack of focus, God always has a way of getting my attention and it usually involves something I read. That was true in this case too.
In her post, “The One Thing,” on her blog Together for Good, Erin Kilmer wrote about how busy can become the focus rather than Jesus. I honestly felt like she was living my life. She’s busy too and with things she feels like she is called to do, but she writes that when her focus slips to the doing and off of Jesus, things kind of fall apart.
I asked God what is the one thing I am supposed to pursue? And He answered. One thing: I press on toward the goal. What is the goal? I think the answer is found in Hebrews 12.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith . . .
The goal is Jesus. We look at Him; we press on toward Him. He is the source of our endurance and our inspiration to keep on running.
And as I looked up the verses that Wiersbe quoted in his chapter, I found that really, this was the counsel of Scripture– that Jesus Himself is the One Thing I am supposed to pursue. ~ Erin Kilmer
And the truth is, I can’t do any of this without Jesus. I AM weak and it is only through HIS strength that I an accomplish anything at all. I’ve been trying to be the little engine that could only to find out I really can’t.
The second post was found over at Arabah Joy where guest poster, Meredith talked about this very subject – Intimacy with God in Seasons of Busyness.
But intimacy with God is different from surface actions. Intimacy with God comes from a relationship that is life defining and moment changing. It comes from what Jesus called in John 15, “abiding,” and with it comes a joy that He calls “full.” ~ Meredith from the Wicket Gate
It’s funny because for the last week or so, as I sling my legs over the side of my bed in the morning and my body and spirit resists the start of another day, my weariness has made me want to curl back up under the covers. I’ve spent more time in prayer saying, “I’m sorry, Lord; I don’t know what my problem is, but I’m just so tired,” all while my mind races to this, that and the other.
As usual, God has been faithful to meet me where I am at and to point me, gently, to an answer. “Come to me and abide.”
I currently have a number of plants hanging out on a table on my porch (no time to plant them, alas). While I am keeping them alive, these plants are not in anyway thriving. Why? Because they are not abiding in the soil. They can stay alive, but staying alive is far different than growing and blooming. Without the soil and the sun and the nutrients, those plants will be stunted and eventually wither no matter how much water I put on their roots.
Like those plants, I can survive but I can’t thrive unless I am planted in the presence of my Father. Unless I choose to abide there, I am merely surviving.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
~ Psalms 1:2-3