Too Busy to Breathe
My husband and I are looking at moving back to Canada soon. If moving across the city is stressful, an international move is made more-so by all the extra decisions and details involved. Packing is complicated by having to sort through accumulated belongings and trying to decide what to give away, what to pack, what to ship, what to sell, and what to do with what we can’t sell or give away – all within a very tight time frame.
There is a struggle for peace in this, but as I have examined the cause of my stress I realize that a good portion of it lies in dealing with my possessions.
It has occurred to me more than once how quickly our possessions can become a burden to the freedom of our heart. We can value them too highly and cling to them too tightly.
Our belongings are not the only thing that can clutter our hearts.
Our activities can clutter our hearts.
I was always a big “To-Do” list kind of a person. So many things that wanted or needed doing! And while we all have things that need to be done, I often had a good many things on my list that were priorities of my own making.
Searching for truth
Taking a critical step backward, I contemplate this question…
Have I have bought into a cultural lie? The lie that my busy activities define my personal value and worth. In North America, it is a badge of honor to respond, “Busy!” when asked, “How are you?” This answer is sufficient to let people know that my life has value because I am busy doing lots of things. Unfortunately, it also conveys boundaries. I have no extra room for you – there is hardly any room for me in here.
When I am busy embracing “busy” I struggle to find the peace of mind that enables me to sit quietly in silent communion with the Lord to hear his voice, or give the time to more deeply consider theological truth. My busy life may even be rewarding to me personally, but is it rewarding to me spiritually?
Perhaps you think I’m being harsh, but I don’t believe that the easy answer is always the right one. And if I am stepping on your toes, please know that mine are already bruised. I leave it up to you to examine how much truth this holds for you.
What are the motives of my busy heart?
As for me, I am rejecting the word “busy,” and I’m inviting the Holy Spirit to examine my heart because I know that what is in my heart motivates my actions.
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 NIV
Everything of “my flesh” fights me in this. Even writing this has been a battle! But I have a goal in mind, found in the words of the apostle Paul.
“Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.” (Philippians 3:8)
Jesus invites us to cast off the wearying, soul-deadening activities of the world, to take on the lighter, spirit-liberating freedoms of walking in the powerful flow of his Spirit. He invites us to earnestly – radically – passionately – seek after and learn the patterns of kingdom living (Matthew 11:28-30).
“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you have died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God…Be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” Colossians 3:2-3,10
Daily, the enemy of my soul seeks to grab my attention and distract me so that he can steal my peace, rob my joy, pacify me with false loves (or “likes”), thus keeping me busy with things to do, people to please, and places to be.
Daily, the Spirit of God calls me to create space to breathe, to love, to listen and to learn – and thus, to live.
…we find rest for our souls.