Oh, how I like to be busy. I like to have my schedule chock full of fun things that I am doing. Between church and Special Olympics events for my daughter, we had something planned every night of the week followed by tournaments on Saturdays and church activities on Sundays.
And, it was killing us. Both of us.
We were too busy.
Until COVID-19 hit us all like a tsunami.
I’ve changed a lot of things in my life since the pandemic began. And, I’m grateful for the time it has allotted me to make much-needed shifts in our lives. I have learned to be still and breathe.
Well, I’m better at it anyway.
Today, I want to share with you the three things I’m focusing on to help me be still and not leap into the “busy trap.”
First off, Busy ≠ Important
Let’s get back to the novel coronavirus. I don’t see what’s so “novel” about it, but that’s for another day.
My daughter and I were at first devasted with the rest of our fellow Americans when everything was shut down. I already homeschooled her so that didn’t stop for us, but when our church had to close its doors and our sports activities came to a screeching halt, we did feel the initial impact of social distancing did to our world. But after a few days, when my child’s anxiety level decreased drastically, . Do you have this lie swimming around your head saying that the busier you are, the more important you are? Let that thing drown! Let we wash away like yesterday’s eyeliner. Being busy doesn’t equal anything but being busy. Does your busy take you away from reading a book to your kids? Does being busy take away from a romantic evening with your partner? Does being busy restrain you rather than propel you forward in your dream?
I urge you to take some time to look are your calendar today, and seriously ask yourself, “What can go?”
Good things happen when you’re still.
In Psalm 46:10, God tells us, ““Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” Being still is vital to being able to listen. Growing up, I yielded to society. I was always listening to music. I always had the TV on. I always had noise on to distract me.
But now, I mostly drive in silence, and the TV—in my part of the house anyway—is off unless I have something specifically that I’m going to sit down and enjoy. When I’m still and in the quiet, I can chat with God. The best part? I can listen without distraction for the next steps He has for me. I want to be able to hear everything God has to tell me.
One aspect of being still is something a lot of us don’t want to deal with—waiting. We want what we want right now. Most of us (including me) are conditioned that the longest we want to wait is for a few seconds for a download or for a few minutes for our food to appear in a drive-thru window.
But, powerful things happen in the “wait.”
Isaiah 40:31 say:
“but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.”
And, Psalm 27:14 says:
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Waiting and being still are powerful adversaries working for us to show us what God has for us. Be in the “wait” today and be still and see what happens.
Channel your inner “Phoebe”…kinda
For years, I’ve found myself teetering between and “Phoebe” and a “Monica.” Do you know what I mean? One moment I am elbow deep in cleaning the fridge; gloves on, bucket of water and baking soda. Later on, I’m elbow deep in to-go containers, shoving them to the side as I search for the last known packet of ketchup in the back of the fridge to put on my fries. Then I slam the refrigerator door shut for “another day.”
Where is my middle ground?
I know that neither one is the best option. I’m either all or nothing. I’m that person that can’t watch “Hoarders” without cleaning and tossing things in boxes to donate. And I can’t watch Monk for fear of being so “Monk.” I fight my own inner tendencies, but they all come down to one thing:
I am not in control.
And, you aren’t either. Does this scare you? It does me! I like control. I like everything in its place. I like to color-code my time map of each day so I know what I will be doing every second in the name of productivity. (It actually helps me, so if you’d like to know more about it, let me know. )
I am a Time-map junky. But, as hard as I try, there are always shifts in my day. My daughter needs me (She’s top priority.) Our dog needs to go outside. And, those inevitable trips to the bathroom in the most inopportune moments.
I am not in control.
So, I breathe. And, remind myself that God is. Proverbs 19:21 says. “The human mind may devise many plans, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.” (NRSV)
James 4:13-16 tells us:
13 “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’ 14 Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.’ 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.”
God is in control.
I need to lean more toward my inner “Phoebe” at times and just go with the flow. God has all my plans laid out anyway. There’s nothing that a day planner, a pen and an elaborate scheme of highlighters can change.
I pray these three things help you on your journey. I pray that you see what is above at the right hand of God, and I pray that He will be with you always.
I will leave you with this scripture today. Be blessed!
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”