Thursday, March 1, 2012

Busyness vs. Handling Your Business

Sorry this is a day late. It has been incredibly busy lately. That is actually the topic of this blog!

Americans are addicted to busyness. We have it so ingrained in our culture that we don't even think about it anymore. When was the last time you said, "What have you been up to?" or "How are you doing?" We say these things instead of "Are you well" or even a simple "I have been thinking about you" or something to that effect. The point is, we assume that person has been doing something. It would be weird if they haven't. We stay in motion constantly. What if you asked someone what they have been up to and they replied "Absolutely nothing for the past week. I have done nothing, zip, zero, zilch." MOST of us would automatically say something like "oh, have you been ill?" In other words, it is just not normal to do nothing, you must be sick.

Why are we so addicted to being busy? I think, and this is just a theory, it is fear and worry (really the same thing). Fear of being behind or missing out on something. If we are idle, we don't get rewarded with material items. We may miss our opportunity to make more money which gives us more stuff. Stuff is really what its all about, right?  Just as a personal example, somewhere around 23 or 24 years old I looked around at my life. I was still in college (working on a master's degree), renting an apartment and had no kids. I was married to an awesome wife. I looked at some of my friends and they already had their "first big job", had already bought a home, already had cute kids. I found myself thinking I was "behind". I was too slow in getting my life started. Sounds absurd, right? I bet, if a lot of you are honest, you have had that same feeling at some point. The natural solution to this "problem", GET BUSY.

Thus it starts--finish school, get a job, have a kid or two, work the hours it takes to get promoted, buy a house, work on that house, work at your job more, hate your job, work for the weekend, work on the house on the weekend, work toward vacation, go on vacation and spend so much time running around and "doing stuff" you want to have a vacation from your vacation, work some more, etc, etc. It nver stops. We get so busy we forget to enjoy life.  Why? So we can get "ahead" in this race we have created for ourselves. Silly isn't it.

I had this discussion last night with a bunch of college age guys at church. I especially wanted them to hear it. We approached it from a few angles. One, you have understand YOU invented that race. It is not real. Two, God wants you to take care of your business but to not get so involved in BUSYNESS that you forget to pay attention to him. Psalm 46:10 says to be still and know that I am God. Its interesting because God is telling you to DO two things, 1) be still, 2) KNOW that I am God. I think that in order to do the second thing, you have to do the first thing--completely. You have to shut off all the garbage going through your head. You have to stop being BUSY in order to be in tune with your creator.

We looked at one other verse (out of context but I think it fits). Exodus 14:14. Moses is leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Pharoah is chasing them and they start to grumble. "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?" Moses tells them (this is the New Harmon Paraphrase Translation), "Look, God told me to bring you here. 'The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.'" Then God tells Moses how to handle his business, the sea is parted and the Israelites go to safety. You know the story. The key here is that the Israelites were afraid and worrying about something they could not control. If they would just still their minds, handle the business God put in front of them, God would take care of them--and he did--in spectacular fashion.

I don't foresee any of us running from Pharoah's army but I do know that sometimes I feel like I have that much pressure on me. I feel like I am pushed into a corner with all the work I "have to do" and the pressures of life. At times like this I need to still my mind, handle the business God has put in front of me and let Him take care of the rest. In other words (back tot he New Harmon Paraphrase Translation) Exodus 14:14--"Chill out, I got this" Your Friend, God.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Great message. I agree wholeheartedly.

I once suggested to a group of friends that a family should be able to stop doing busy work at home by 7pm--you know, laundry, dishes, etc. I was told that I was being ridiculous. Reality doesn't work like that. When I asked "WHY?!", all I got in response was, "I just isn't possible!"

It's not possible because, like you say, we make it impossible. We create the race for ourselves.

Sure, there are always going to be some things that will need attention later in the evenings. I'm not suggesting that we completely neglect all responsibilities after a certain time at night. All I'm saying is that there should be a time in the day in which families (or individuals) stop and rest--before their head hits the pillow, that is.

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