Busy. A four letter word that seems to describe so many people. “Busy” seems to be the answer I hear most often when I ask, “How are you doing?” At the same time, I find myself using this word to describe my own life rhythm. While it’s true that we are all busy, there’s a danger that comes with our busyness. Busyness can lead us to think we are being productive and progressing forward when we may actually just be spinning our wheels and going nowhere! An abundance of activity does not mean we are actively accomplishing all that God has for us. Busyness and our schedules can actually become the “god” we place our trust in rather than Jesus.
So in the midst of my busyness, I recently came across this devotional thought, and I want to share it with you. The words were challenging but encouraging at the same time. It’s taken from “5 Days of Heartwork” produced by Heartwork.tv…
We all spend ourselves on something. Our time, our energy, and our money are resources that we spend, sometimes intentionally and sometimes without even thinking about it. Our hours, days, and weeks are typically structured around transactions of this sort. And, as in any transaction, something must be given, and something is taken. That’s what makes it a transaction – an exchange. We’re usually spending so that we can take. What do these transactions look like, exactly?
Maybe you spend 8 hours per day at school or work to get an education or a paycheck; maybe you spend your evenings crafting your athletic, culinary, or musical skills; maybe you spend most of your money on food or entertainment; and maybe you spend so that you can fill your hands with the latest looks or the newest technology. No matter our story, we are all spending ourselves somewhere every day.
Okay so none of these scenarios are bad, of course, many are good and necessary! But the reality is that we are made for more than just spending ourselves on ourselves. We’re made to be community people, servants, learners and leaders. And when we get into a habit of spending just for our own good, we are out of balance. If we only ever spend in order to take – filling our hands with this season’s clothing, the latest games, or our own success, we’ll only ever have one vantage point: what’s in our hands. What use can we be to God when we can’t see past the pile of materials, comforts, activities and achievements we’re holding onto so tightly?
Is it possible that in all of our consuming, we are actually being consumed? Our culture tricks us into believing that if our hands are full, we’re full. We’re on top! The more we have, the more we are! It’s high time that we stop buying into this mindset. When our hands are totally full, juggling all that we’ve accumulated, we simply are not available for the service of God and others. The more we consume, acquire, and collect, the more our money, time, and energy become tapped out in the process. God mercifully warned us of this from the start: we can even gain the whole world, but we lose our souls in the process (Matthew 16:26).
At Heartwork we always do some HEART and some WORK. One is incomplete without the other! So for your work today, grab a pen and paper and write out Isaiah 58:10. Underneath, start a list of things you regularly spend yourself on… Your time, your money, your energy and your thoughts. If you have trouble, just go through the past few hours or days, or the past week. What have you used your hands (or mind, or energy) for? Then, begin to ask God to ordain your days. Ask Him to do the work on your heart so that you are trusting Him and His purposes rather than simply living for the sake of your plans and activities. Ask for wisdom regarding how you can make changes to your busyness or adopt a different mindset as you go throughout your day.
Were your hands ever too full, or your heart too centered on building your own kingdom, to be of any service to God’s kingdom? This is NOT to cause any shame, but to take a moment to really assess, to see clearly how we can get swept up in the current of our culture and to make our decisions more intentionally from here on out!