Emma Brown

Leave busyness to the bees

By  Emma Brown, Youth Speak News
  • October 26, 2012

Do the laundry, finish research assignment, clean the kitchen, read chapters 10, 11 and 12, Skype Tessa, meet with my drama group, prep faith study and write my Youth Speak News column. This was my to-do list for one day.

I am chronically busy. If I ever lose my day planner, I don’t think I’ll be able to survive. Every hour of my day is accounted for by one commitment or another, and my situation is not unique.

Being busy seems like an inescapable part of being a young person today. I didn’t have to scroll very far down my Facebook news feed to find someone complaining about being “stressed.”

We’re a generation that “gets things done,” and society tells us that’s a good thing. Accomplish a lot. Keep moving. Don’t stop.

But what does God think?

While reading the Letter of James, I was struck by this verse: “In the midst of a busy life, they will wither away” (James 1:9).

Wither away? At first, I drew back from this verse. Maybe some other, weaker person might wither away, but not me. I have everything together. I may be busy, but I’m doing just fine.

I soon realized how wrong I was. While bussing home at 7 p.m. after a particularly busy day, my mind was filled with all the things I had to do that night. I was overwhelmed.

Then I felt the Lord gently prompting me to pray. He was asking me to set aside my list and spend an hour with Him first. He was saying to me what He had said to Martha when she was distracted by and frustrated with her hostess duties while her sister merely sat at the Lord’s feet: “You are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing” (Luke 10: 41).

So when I arrived home, although my “Martha duties” cried out for attention, I went to the Lord. In His arms, the burden of my many commitments didn’t seem so overwhelming. I was restored by His grace and love.

Chronic busyness is not His plan for me or for any of us. There’s a reason that old saying is “busy as a bee”; we, as humans, weren’t designed for that kind of life. He has something much better in store for us: a life of reliance on Him.

He showed me that I don’t need to accomplish more, I need to receive more; I don’t need to succeed more, I need to rely more.

This constant mindset of “get things done” is detrimental to our relationship with God. We often use our busyness as an excuse to shut Him out of our lives. Our other priorities, which are not bad in themselves, take precedence over Him. But He’s crying out for us.

The world tells us that we need to squeeze everything we can out of this life, but Jesus tells us that “only one thing” really matters: a relationship with Him. We need to rely on Jesus and let Him carry us.

In doing this, I have discovered the peace, joy and comfort of living a life in total reliance on God. Now, when I feel the weight of my responsibilities causing me to wither, I remind myself that God is with me and He’s ready to help.

So let’s approach the Lord in prayer and ask Him to help us live, not according to lists and calendars, but according to His Spirit within us.

(Brown, 19, is a second-year journalism student at Carleton University in Ottawa.)

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