There is so much that I want to do with my life. I have so many goals and dreams. But sometimes I feel like it is too much. I feel as if there is so much I want to do and that I have been called to do, and I just can’t seem to get started. I want to focus on spending daily time with God, I want to be in full-time vocational ministry, I have aspirations of writing, not only on here but also of becoming an author of one or more books, I want to read as many books as I can, I am serving as a deacon at my church, and there is just so much more that I feel like I could do for God. The problem I seem to keep having is that I don’t know where to start. I have some free time right now, but there is so much that I want to do that I end up becoming paralyzed. I don’t know where to start. It’s almost as if I try to do it all at once. This thought has been gripping me over the last few days or weeks.
As you can see from above, even though I have some free time, I have a lot of things to keep me busy. This society preaches that busyness is a good thing. The more things we have to do, the better off we are. Well, I’m not so sure that this is sustainable or healthy. Having too much to do can be paralyzing. I know that first hand. Sometimes, you just don’t know where to start, so you just don’t do anything. We think because we are busy that we are doing something great, even something great for God. But the truth of the matter is, sometimes we get so busy that we aren’t really doing anything except making it look like we are busy.
Scripture points to a completely different thought process. Doing things just to appear busy or important is not what we, as Christ followers, are supposed to do. We are called to do everything for God’s glory. Scripture also shows us that we are to rest. Exodus 20:8-11 states, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” I know this is Old Testament, but I think Jesus shows that, while the concept of how to keep the Sabbath has changed, we are to be intentional about finding rest. Multiple times throughout the gospels, Jesus is shown going off into solitude to rest and spend time with God. Before his season of ministry actually began after his baptism, he goes to the desert and spends 40 days and nights fasting and praying. If Jesus needed rest and solitude, what makes us think that we can keep getting busier and busier without burning out or even becoming paralyzed?
This doesn’t mean that we try to not do anything. We have work to do. But it does mean that we are to be very cautious about getting so wrapped up in being busy that we lose sight of our true purpose; bringing glory to God with everything that we do. This reminds me of a book I have read twice (and plan to reread often). This book helped me develop my philosophy of ministry. The book is Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger. In this book, Rainer and Geiger discuss a growing trend in healthy churches around the country, and also a growing trend in unhealthy churches. These healthy churches that they describe are “Simple”, meaning that they don’t over program or become “busy”. The church calendar is small and not overfilled with events. But everything they do, they have a distinct and specific purpose for. And they do it with excellence.
The unhealthy churches are just the opposite. Their church calendars are full of mediocre events. They stay busy, but they don’t really go anywhere or do anything to bring others to Christ. I bought in to this philosophy for churches and how to do ministry a long time ago. I’m just now, sadly, learning that this is a great principle for our individual lives. Staying so busy that you can’t do anything with excellence isn’t something to be proud of. Hebrews 12 tells us to “throw off everything that hinders”. Well our busyness can hinder. I know there are things that have to be done. And we are all busy at times. But please realize with me that we have to take time to focus on our relationships with God and our families. There will always be more that we could do, but don’t let your busyness become paralyzing.