I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NIV)
I shared in a previous blog about the busyness that can take over our lives leaving us exhausted and neglecting the things in life that we would say are priority (Living Busy vs. Living Best ). I encouraged readers to chart on a pie graph those activities which make up their schedules and ask some questions in order to assess where they were in life. In essence, does what we’re doing match what we say is most important in our lives? Are we living with intentionality and the perspective of eternal impact or are we running breathlessly on the hamster wheel of life, resigned to let busyness lead us?
After years of frenzied living, the pace finally caught up with me.
I had been busy doing “good” things — ministry things — but my physical, emotional, and spiritual health had been affected. I knew it was time for change so I chose to let go of several things in my life that were too much for me. I took the next eight months and rested — in prayer, in the Word, in everyday tasks around the house, and sometimes in just being quiet and knowing He was present. And in those months of disengaging from busyness, I realized I no longer wanted to do “good” things, I wanted the best thing. I no longer wanted to be tied up with my agenda; I wanted to be available for His agenda. I didn’t want to be busy, I wanted to be effective. So I prayed that God would reveal what He was calling my next steps to be. And true to His faithful character, in His timing and in His way, He showed me.
One of the dangers of a busy life is that the longer we run on the hamster wheel, the more difficult it is to slow down. Mentally, our thoughts are constantly racing. Priorities are clouded and healthy boundaries are ignored. Emotionally we may feel easily overwhelmed or even guilty if we have “down time” when there is work to be done. Relationally, we may neglect those closest to us. Spiritually, the thirst of our parched souls can become our everyday “normal,” lending us to insensitivity to the Holy Spirit and complacency.
God longs for us to slow down and seek Him consistently.
He longs for us to seek him so that we may enjoy His Presence, hear His voice, experience growth, be refueled and receive His love right where we are. In slowing down and seeking Him, our eyes are open when He reveals our purpose. He brings His perspective and clarity to our priorities in knowing what to take on and what to let go. Seeking Him brings much needed silence and peace to the chaos and noise of a busy world. It allows us to readjust our thoughts and hearts to His truth when we are daily pummeled with lies. Slowing down and seeking Him opens the door to discover and receive the faith adventures He calls us to, rather than continuing on the expected path set by the world, ourselves, and others.
Busyness is the cultural norm so it is easy to become busy with all the opportunities we are given. Realistically, we can’t do it all and the freeing truth is God hasn’t called us to do it all. Change begins with slowing down and seeking Him. It is through our relationship with Him where fruitful and effective things — not good things, but God-things — can happen.
How can you slow down and seek God consistently in your life? Looking back at the questions listed in Living Busy vs. Living Best, are there activities listed on your pie graph that perhaps you need to release in order to create a slower pace for healthy living and relationships?