Lately, I’ve run into periods of extreme busyness. There have been times I’ve come back home to finally sit down and cook myself a decent meal—and truly couldn’t recall the last time I’d been able to do so. Being busy in American culture is sometimes made out to be a good thing. People are made to feel as if they are better, more productive members of society if they are busy. The endeavors that keep us occupied can all be worthwhile: volunteering to help pass out food to the needy, attending events at the parish, or trying to run 5Ks to raise money for good causes. Yet there is a point at which it can all become overwhelming and we lose track of our good motivations. Being too busy can be a distraction. Our full schedules can keep us from hearing God’s call and the needs of others in our lives.
When we’re running to and fro, we don’t have time to tend to the needs of others. When someone calls in a bind or wants to get together, we might even feel as if they’re an inconvenience and that we’re too busy for them. A person turns into simply another “thing” to check off our lists. When we’re constantly unavailable, we’re unable to focus on relationships. The times when I’ve been available to help someone and need to do so, it interestingly seems as if God multiplies my time! For example, today a friend was in dire need and, thankfully (for the first time in a long while), I had no plans for the day. I was able to minister to her when she felt as if she had no one else to turn to. Yet still I’ve had time to accomplish numerous things today and even to write this article! God blesses the times that we allow ourselves to rest. He also blesses the time that we use to serve others.
Time is a tremendous gift from God. It is easy to forget what a gift it is. After all, we are living the gift every moment! We pray about the big decisions in our lives. Do we pray about how God is asking us to use our time? We can fall into the trap of thinking that the more “good” things we do, the more we are serving God and others. Yet, did we consult God about all of the items filling up our schedule? There are times God asks us to choose between a good and a better. For example, if you are volunteering at multiple ministries and finding you are getting sick often, maybe God is calling you to step back. Or, maybe your work allows you to do something great for the world–but you’re working so much that you haven’t been able to give your spouse and children the love and attention that they need. God could be asking you to think about another job, or simply to work less hours and trust Him to do the rest. Life is a constant journey and God may be calling you to open a new chapter in the way you use your time.
By God’s grace, I am taming the “busy” monster. I am seeking more earnestly to determine the priorities that Christ is calling me to hold. If you’re feeling busy and overwhelmed, don’t feel like you have to stay there. There are seasons of life, and there are also times when you can allow yourself to step back and have open time on your calendar. You will benefit, as well as the people in your life that you love. When there is free space, you can more easily hear the voice of God and discern where He is calling you. Let yourself stop running. Ask God what He is asking of you. Leave open space for the Holy Spirit, and be amazed at how God will work.