How Being Too Busy Keeps Us From God
Written by Phylicia Masonheimer | November 2, 2016
If you were to ask me what makes me happy, I’d probably answer, “Checking off a to-do list.” I love to be busy! There is something satisfying about having a list of achievements at the end of a productive day.
While busyness can be a blessing both to others and to ourselves, our culture views being “busy” as a sign of importance. The busier you are, the more status you’ve achieved. This creates an impulsive habit of constant busyness which, left unchecked, pulls us away from the Lord.
God equips us for the things to which we are called. But when we overcommit our time, we step beyond the things He’s called us to complete—and out from under His umbrella of strength. When you’re tempted to pack your schedule too full, keep in mind some important truths about being busy.
Busyness can be a crutch.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:2)
Busyness can be a crazy cycle. When we feel distant from God, we try to “prove ourselves” by doing more work. We try to be better Christians, daughters, sisters and friends. Rather than rest in God and let Him change us from the inside out, we try to change ourselves from the outside in.
Serving in church and reaching your community is wonderful, and I encourage every young woman to do these things. But if you are so busy serving God’s people that you don’t have time for God Himself, you will eventually burn out. Busyness can’t be your spiritual crutch. You need God’s strength to impact your community and group of friends with the truth of Jesus. He can multiply even the smallest amount of time for the greatest influence possible—no need do “more” on your own.
Busyness may be a mask.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! (Psalm 37:7)
My own busyness is often a mask. When my insecurities go unchecked, I start questioning my worth and identity. I feel “less than.” Rather than rehearsing my Christ-won identity to myself, I fill my schedule with more to-dos. My impulse is to do and be more to compensate for my insecurity.
When we try to mask spiritual problems with physical solutions, we treat the symptoms rather than the disease. My busyness might mask these insecurities for a time, but eventually I’ll burn out. We have to be honest about our capabilities and accept that it’s okay to have limitations. God equips those He calls. We are not called to fill our schedule beyond our equipment.
Rather than masking your insecurities or fears with an overcommitted life, deal with your insecurities in the name and power of Jesus. The confidence He grants us makes us far more effective for the long term.
Busyness keeps us from rest and relationship.
For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish. (Jeremiah 31:25)
At the end of the day, a checked-off to-do list is worth only as much as the heart behind it. God is not interested in how much we can do, but how closely we walked with Him. His motive is always a thriving relationship with us. When we put our work and schedule ahead of Him, we’re scorning the hand He offers.
God Himself will satisfy and refresh us, but we have to take off our masks, put away our crutches and step out in faith. Rest is not unproductive; to the contrary, rest is what empowers us to do God’s work. By resting in the Lord on a regular basis (being still before Him), we give priority to the One who gives us strength.