"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Busy is a Choice

By Micky Wolf

It’s not a news flash to hear a person say “I’m so busy” these days, whether you are listening to someone in a ministry setting or in the midst of a quick exchange of greetings at the grocery store. And it’s not the first (nor will it likely be the last) occasion when this topic is fodder for this blog. And no, this is not about women only, albeit the graphic.

If you are just a little fed up or overwhelmed with all that is all your plate, there is an option—and there’s always a choice--if we are willing to pay attention to why we spend so much of the day scurrying about.

The desperation “I’m so busy”…

We know when being busy is draining us of our good energy, positive attitude, and overall sense of well-being. Yes, we do. The signs can be rather clear. We collapse into a chair or onto the sofa before or after dinner. We stare vacantly into the distance when a spouse or family member tries to get our attention. We shrug our shoulders as we glance at Caller ID and choose to ignore the person on the other end.

The desperation “I’m so busy” is not necessarily sinful, yet allowing ourselves to continue on, day in and day out in this state, can wear and tear at us physically, emotionally and spiritually. We become depleted, dejected, and in some cases, totally discouraged. Life seems mostly like a rat race—and we’re just another of the creatures trying to hang on and get to the finish line, more or less in one piece and with at least a little bit of our sanity.

What is at the root of those caught in the throes of the desperation “I’m so busy”?

For starters, we have not learned how to discern the movements of our soul to make loving choices, the kind of choices that lead us to prioritize things according to God’s design and plan: God first, spouse second, then children, followed by everything and everyone else.

Oh, we how we have heard the mantra so many times—get your priorities straight. But how effective are we at choosing what we will do (or not do) in light of God’s wisdom, understanding and direction?

The desperation “I’m so busy” sounds and behaves, well, desperately. Our voice drops and mumbles. What did you say? we wonder. Or the tone raises and pierces the ears as we back away a step.

Observe closely—maybe begin with the face in the mirror: the tiredness around the eyes, the pursed lips, and the wrinkled-brow, the nervous twitch—the little ways our bodies are trying to get our attention. And in their way, beg for relief. Too much, too much, they whisper.

On the other hand, the peaceful “I’m so busy”…

There are those whose lives are full from dawn to dusk, yet their attitude, behavior and demeanor is evidence of a far different reality.

The person with a full and peaceful life is the one who spends time with the Lord to receive a sense of direction for the hour or the day. Whether this time occurs the night before or the morning of, these precious moments set the tone. And if it is necessary to pause for a few moments during the day and realign with the Divine, so be it.

The peaceful busy person, sounds and behaves, well, peacefully. The voice is clear and strong and volume and delivery (too low, too high or rapid-fire) is not an issue. We don’t have to struggle to understand what is being shared. And we certainly don’t feel compelled to run from the scene because we wonder if we are more of an interruption to their schedule than anything else.

Observe closely—maybe begin with the face in the mirror: the absence of lines at the corners of the mouth, the sparkle in the eyes, the relaxed shoulders—the little ways our bodies are indicative of our overall health and well-being. Thank you, they whisper.

If busy is a choice, what next?

It would difficult, as well as impractical, for most of us to wipe our calendars clean. On the other hand, taking time to pay attention to why you are busy doing what you are doing is an excellent place to begin in reordering your life. If we hope to truly be Christ-followers, we need to let go of the idea that to be effective we must be constantly running or moving from here to there and everywhere in between.

You can have a rewarding and productive life that is full—from dawn into the night—if you choose to put God first. Alone. On the Throne. And then get out of the way. But there will be a cost for living this way—you will have to decide if the plans God has for you are more important than the ones you have made. How will you know? Peace. Consistent peace, the kind that surpasses our understanding and that can only be known in the deepest parts of our hearts.

Yes, when you collapse into bed at the end of day you may be depleted. Yes, your mind, body, emotions and spirit will be ready for and in need of deep, restorative sleep and rest. But by the same token, you won’t roll over, bury your face from the red glow of the alarm clock, all the while trying to squelch the uneasy thoughts and subtle feelings of dread in anticipation of another dawn, another day of not so silent desperation.

Busy is a choice.

Living a life that is full is too.

Which one will you choose today?


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