The Hurry-Free Life
This summer was a unique, but amazing, one for our family. Our church blessed my husband and me with a two-month sabbatical, which we enjoyed to the fullest. Instead of spending it in our hometown, we decided to take our seven, six, and two-year old on an epic adventure. We drove through 25 states and 3 Canadian provinces, stood in awe of 3 national parks, crossed two bridges so we could explore 2 different islands, and totaled over 6,000 miles on our family van. Needless to say, it was a busy summer. But, in the midst of all the activity, I noticed one small (but huge) difference:
I didn’t feel rushed.
Being a mom of three little ones on top of having a Type A personality, busyness is something of a norm for me. To be honest, I get bored quite easily, so I do not mind and actually thrive off activity.
However, last school year there was one trait that I allowed to creep into our family: a spirit of hurriedness.
Often, I found myself rushing from one activity to another. I picked my girls up from school and then rushed to ballet class. We went to ballet class and then rushed to church. We went to church and then rushed home to do homework, baths, a quick family devotional and then bedtime. Countless times I’ve instructed my children to “hurry up” when I thought they weren’t moving fast enough for my standards. When my husband wanted to linger in the car so we could catch up on the day’s events, my thoughts quickly turned to what was next.
As the year dragged on, I realized that I couldn’t fully enjoy the present because I was too busy rushing to the next event. But, this summer’s constant activity, without the feeling of being hurried, caused me to take a long look at my life and compare that to Jesus’ life.
Here are two things I’ve learned…
Busyness is not a sin, but being a “busybody” is sinful.
As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy having things to do. So, I was encouraged to discover that Scripture actually warns us against idleness and laziness (Prov. 19:15, 2 Thess. 3:6-12). However, Scripture also warns us about being “busybodies” (2 Thess. 3:11). A “busybody” is someone who hurries around from one activity to another. They do not finish a task before going on to the next one. A busybody is also characterized as one who meddles in others’ affairs. I don’t consider myself a “meddler.” But, I have been known to begin a task and not finish it. This only happens when I fill my life with too many things on my “to do” list, and there aren’t enough hours to complete it. Before I know it, I look up and my life is spinning out of control. I end up feeling rushed, cranky, and then lash out at the ones closest to me.
If we were honest, this describes most women in America. In my little circle of influence, I know moms who work all week, travel to sporting events all weekend, and then come home late Sunday evening just to begin the cycle all over again. I know college students who skip out on previous commitments because they have overbooked themselves. I know single women who work long hours and then wonder why they don’t have time for a relationship.
I propose to you that God never intended us to live this way. He made us for relationships, first with Him and then with others. Some of us need to stop being a busybody and actually learn to have activity with a purpose. And, that leads me to the second lesson:
Jesus’ life can be characterized as “busy,” but His activities were filled with a purpose.
Take a few moments and flip through the Gospels. It won’t take long to discover that Jesus constantly had people around Him. At one point, there were so many people pressing around Him that they began trampling on each other (Luke 12:1). However, in the midst of all the activity, He saw each individual, each need, and each situation.
After a long day of debriefing and teaching, Jesus took time to stop in at Mary and Martha’s house so He could encourage and teach the people gathered there (Luke 10:38-42). On the way to Jairus’ house to heal his daughter, Jesus noticed an unknown woman who had a bleeding issue. Jairus was a well-known synagogue ruler, and the woman was a “nobody.” (We don’t even know her name.) But, Jesus saw her, stopped what He was doing, and took time to heal this dear woman of her bleeding, restore her dignity, and give her back the life that was taken from her (Luke 8:40-48).
And finally, there’s the example of Jesus, while eating at Simon’s (a Pharisee) house, who allowed a sinful woman to anoint His feet with her tears as she dried them off with her hair. You can imagine the shock of those in attendance. Instead of casting her off, Jesus welcomed her, accepted her, forgave her, and then sent her away in peace (Luke 7:36-50). These are just three, of countless examples found in Scripture.
What about you (and me)? Are we running from one activity to another all the while missing the God moments ordained for us? Or, are we allowing God to orchestrate our moments in the midst of activity? There are so many hurting people who need us to see them. There are women struggling in their marriages and with their children, and they need a friend to come and walk beside them. Our children need us to stop, see them, and be willing to be completely present with them.
Let’s seek to be women who see people and not just an opportunity for activity.
This summer taught me that a life full of activity, yet not filled with frantic scurrying about, is actually possible. God has blessed my family with an amazing ministry to college students, my girls with an incredible school, and me, personally, with unique opportunities to minister to women. But, it is imperative that I allow Him to be in control of my moments and not get caught up in just being busy.