While driving along, I can sense myself starting to inwardly hyperventilate as I mull over the calendar before me in my mind. 'Why do I let myself get into these predicaments?!" I shout to myself. After all, I am a planner by nature and consider myself to be a fairly organized individual overall. I organize and plan menus and meals, schooling schedules and lesson plans, extracurricular activities, family outings and vacations, chore charts, church activities, birthday parties and so on. And, most events go off without a hitch as planned. Yet here I sit feeling somewhat out of control and overwhelmed by the events on my plate. I'm wondering how I am going to make it through the next month without becoming stressed out!
I plead for assistance from His Spirit as I know I CANNOT make it through this evening relying on my own strength. Resentment is seeping in. Fatigue is creeping in. I will be a grump and a grumbler. Crying out to Him in repentance for my inability to adjust, for the poor attitude of my heart, for my whining and complaining, I asked for His strength to sustain me in my weakness, His Spirit to set me heart in a place that glorifies Him......
Did He hear? Yes. Did He answer? Yes! It was if He gave me a beautiful scoop of delicious ice cream for dessert to finish of the evening (and it was the kind that didn't stick to my hips)! As I drove home, I thanked Him for pulling me through yet another anxious situation. In His love and grace, He accommodated me. He answered all my prayers: a heart of love, physical stamina and spiritual strength in mind and spirit. And, it got me thinking....
'Busy' truly seems to be the 'buzz' word of the 21st century. You ask someone you haven't seen in a while "So, how are you?" And, they always reply "Good. Busy!" Modern technology has seemingly made life 'easier' and allowed us to cram more items on our 'to do' lists each day. Supposedly, all this busyness will make us more accomplished, productive, and successful.
Hmmm..... I think I beginning to catch on fully to this deception! I am determined to go counter culture, go back in time in a sense, and rebel against this popular trend and be relaxed, stress free, meditative, 'unbusy'. I want to be....'in the world but not of the world!' That doesn't just include the latest fashion craze, religious slant or trendy food. As a Christian who is professing to be not only a believer but also a follower of 'The Way', I should be living a way of life that looks very different from that of being 'busy.' Let's take a look in His Word:
Cease striving (be still) and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7
And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Mark 4:18-20
For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun? Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity. Ecclesiastes 2:22-23
Ah, ha! Satan deceives and distracts. He disguises himself and his temptations as good. ('You shall not surely die." he says to Eve in the Garden. We know how that story ended...) So, he whispers, "[insert your name here], do you want to feel and be more successful? Do you want to win friends and influence people? Well," Satan implies, "the more you have on your 'to do' list, the more popular and accomplished you will be in today's world. The more activities you have scheduled on your calendar, the more fulfilling your life will become giving you a sense of purpose. The more you volunteer and serve, the more favor you will find with God....?!"
In reality, Satan is a thief, a liar and a joy killer! He robs us of our precious gift of time as we run to and fro from home, to class, to event, to job, to activity. He tells us we will be living out our purpose as we cram our schedules full each day. He kills the joy in everyday living by filling it with stress and pressure to perform instead of providing opportunities for love and relationships. He convinces us that it is the right thing to do and we must do it to experience the fullness of life. He implies that, in order to receive love and favor from the Almighty, we must earn it by serving, serving, and more serving rather than following God's lead and accepting His love and grace. Unfortunately, the devil's most important deception is influencing us to busy ourselves and be distracted from spending time in God's Word and at His feet on a daily basis! Let us stop, look to Him, and listen....
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13
Okay, slight detour...back to my drive home. While mulling the evening's events over in my mind, I began to realize and remember all the little things that He had done for me that day to free up my calendar and give me more breathing room. Apparently, I was TOO BUSY being stressed on the way to my meeting to think of and remember the changes. Things for which I hadn't prayed but crowded my schedule causing anxiety. He moved appointments and dropped or postponed activities until a more convenient time. None of these changes were initiated by me. Suddenly, I felt a huge weight removed from my being. A weight that I had placed there myself. And yet, He saw fit, out of His mercy and goodness, to help me though I hadn't even asked....because He knows the end from the beginning. He is a God of details. He is love! That fabulous scoop of ice cream He gifted me with earlier now had whipped cream and sprinkles on top!
God is truly good ALL the time! Don't be deceived! Let go and give your schedule to God. Let Him have ALL of you. My prayer for you is that you let Him fill your cup each day in every way so that you find true fulfillment in Him as He accomplishes His purpose through and in YOU! And, maybe, just maybe, you'll get a cherry on top!