the wrong kind of busy

Posted: December 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

The “alarm” went off in me this morning first thing, as I sat up in bed to do my reading for my 40-day journey, noted that I am 3/4 of the way through the journey, and felt relief that it is almost over.  That is for sure a “wait, what?” kind of moment.  Since when do I look forward to the ending of a spiritual adventure?  Hearing the sound of those thoughts run through me, I knew it was time to stop and do a gut check.

This had already kind of been on my mind – awhile back I watched myself write words about not generally spending 40 consecutive minutes daily in focused prayer outside of this project, and I was kind of horrified as I read those words.  How did I get to this place?

I mean, it’s not that I don’t pray – my life is kind of a running conversation with God.

It’s not that I don’t spend time soaking up scripture and listening for God’s voice amidst it – G and I have our morning devotional time after all.

It’s not that my life is run off the rails and I’m far away from God.

But here’s the thing:  I can look back at a time when I was more intentional, more fierce in my faith.  When I was working with teens, I started about half of my mornings with big, long stretches of prayer and meditation.  I was up and at my church way before sunrise, pacing the sanctuary in the dark with the music turned up loud, on my face at the altar, or folded up quietly on a pew with my Bible.  These sessions made my current 40-minute blocks look like “quickies.”

Was I less busy then?  No way.  I was living on about six hours of sleep per night and working multiple jobs.

Martin Luther is credited with saying, “I have so much to do that I will spend the first three hours in prayer.”  It sounds like backward logic, but I was living and breathing it, back at that time.  I walked in the understanding that my only hope of accomplishing what I was given to do was to throw myself wholeheartedly into Him.

I’m more self-sufficient these days, and that is not a good thing.  I’m still ridiculously busy, if less so than the time of which I’ve been speaking.  The problem is, these days I’m busy in a way that makes me relieved to be almost done with my commitment to daily 40-minute blocks in prayer and mediation.  These days, when I read scriptures about how important it is to spend much time in scripture, my heart answers in protest about how I can find that time.

That’s the wrong kind of busy.

As I meditated on that this morning, I didn’t have easy answers – or ANY answers – about how to reorder my life to fix this.  It did occur to me that THIS is probably why God has chosen the word “rest” for me, for 2016.

I think I’m going to get my ideas about what rest is taken away from me, broken all to pieces, and handed back as something better than what I currently know.

I made a commitment to my boss for 2015 that I was going to take one day quarterly for prayer, meditation, and reflection.  This is an altogether appropriate goal and commitment to make and is very relevant to the workplace, not just personal life.  I failed to keep this commitment even one time in 2015.  I have recommitted to it for 2016.  This morning, I’m making my plan for the first of these days.  I suspect it will be in that giant space of quiet and withdrawal from the busyness of life that I will begin to understand about the reordering that is needed.

It’s a good place to stop and dwell, while passing from one year to the next.


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