August 29, 2022

Stop Letting Busyness Control Your Life

“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17).

Do you ever get the feeling that if you could just get everything done, cross everything off of your “to do” list, return every phone call, make every meeting, and get everything done at home, that God would be very pleased with you?  Would you, then, expect Him to sit back and say, “Good job!” much like you do when your son brings home a report card with straight A’s on it?

The fact is, we transfer our “hurry up and get things done” mentality to our relationship with God, thinking that He is pleased when we attend more meetings, get to more places, and do more things.  In her book, High Call, High Privilege Gail MacDonald says that among Christians today, “there is a strange sort of logic that suggests that spiritual resource and renewal are found in constantly seeking new voices, attending more meetings, listening incessantly to music, and gathering to exchange half-thought-out opinions.”  Then she asked, “How often do we fall into the trap of believing that God is most pleased when we have maximized our information, our schedules, our relationships?”

Strangely enough, when Jesus was in the midst of the busiest time of his life, he withdrew for solitude, prayer, and contemplation.  Instead of believing that “more” was “better” Jesus believed that he could maximize his effectiveness by doing less–strange logic for us who are infected with pressure and stress today more than any other generation before us.  Today we are constantly bombarded by the media, the loud noises of traffic, the din and blare of radio and TV.  We are harassed by the pressure of mail, and the incessant demands made on our time.

Some 2700 years ago, Isaiah wrote, “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17).  Stop for a moment and ask yourself what that means in relation to your life.  Righteousness, as the term is used in scripture, means uprightness.  Integrity and character flow from it.  Righteousness speaks of the kind of relationship with God that brings peace to your heart.   The result of this, says Isaiah, is quietness and confidence.”

Some of the ancient church fathers used to commit themselves to the discipline of silence.  Some of them purposely lived in caves and deserts away from people and the distractions of life.  For most of us, this is not possible.  We have responsibilities, children, obligations, and demands, but carving out time for listening to God, for thinking through our priorities, and for coming to grips with who we are and what God wants is absolutely necessary for spiritual survival.

The solitude that we need rarely comes in chunks of undivided days when you can withdraw to a desert place or a mountain retreat somewhere, but it can be found in one-hour snatches when you refuse to answer the door, and silence the radio and TV.  It’s then that you can open your Bible and quietly meditate and listen to the voice of God saying, “This is the way, walk here.”

At some point, we have to walk away from the mentality that the more we do, the more God is pleased, and understand that what we are is far more important than what we do.  Only when we take time from our busy schedules to be in His presence will we learn to hear the still but strong voice of God.

Isaiah chided the people of his day, saying, “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15).

 

Resource reading:  Mark 6:30-32