“If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” I’ve nodded my head in agreement with this statement more times than I can count.
Yes, I know all too well the peril of a busy life, the kind that keeps you running at a breakneck pace and leaves you crabby and anxious. I have lived life with an abundant calendar and I can attest that it is but a shadow of the promised abundant life we have in Christ.
But even after a season of extreme busyness, a subsequent burnout, and a prayerful re-ordering of my life, I find I want to push back on this statement. I believe it is entirely possible to do busy well. After all, if Christ has redeemed all aspects of our lives, then it stands to reason he can redeem the seasons of busyness, too.
I don’t believe we need to avoid being busy, but we do need to be intentional in the midst of our work. By remembering some key principles and setting guideposts, we can handle busy, not as the world does, but in a Christ-like way.
1. Prioritize time with the Lord
When life gets busy, my Bible reading and prayer time with God is often the first thing to suffer. But I’ve learned through personal experience that disconnecting from the Lord is the worst thing I can do during a busy season.
One of my favorite quotes on busyness is by Martin Luther who stated, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” That may feel extreme, but what if we could imitate Luther’s insistence on time with God when life gets busy?
Jesus illustrates how vital our time with him is in John 15:5 when he states, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (ESV)
When we are already wishing for more hours in the day, the world will say we are foolish to “waste” time with God. But as followers of Christ, we know that abiding in the Vine is the very thing that ensures our productivity in him. Setting this guidepost reminds us that God is our source of life and strength. Apart from him, we can do nothing.
2. Leave margin for divine interruptions
I hate to admit this, but there were days during a recent “year of insanity” when I never looked a stranger in the eye. I know for certain I missed opportunities to love my neighbor well.
This is one of the most unfortunate consequences of poorly handling our busy seasons. If we are too busy to notice those around us, something needs to change. Leviticus 19:9-10 sets a spectacular guidepost for us:
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.” (ESV)
Granted, you may not have a vineyard but I’m betting you have a calendar. The Lord shows us here in Leviticus that he wants us to leave room in our lives to care for those in need. In our lives today, we might consider avoiding scheduling our lives right up to the edges, trying not to strip our energy reserves bare. We want to leave room for God’s divine appointments – those he brings to us who need encouragement and care.
This Levitical command reminds us that we are not seeking to build our own kingdom, but God’s. Our time and resources are not our own, but are gifts from the Lord to be used in his service. Here’s the hard part: we cannot be afraid to say no to a commitment if the Lord interrupts our plans. Which happens to lead us to the next guidepost…
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To read the third and fourth guidepost, hope on over to WomenEncouraged.ca, where this piece originally posted!