I tell my eldest that this is her last soccer game of the season.
A loud “Hurray!!” is flung into the air and she spins wildly, sending shin guards flying.
Why so excited for the end? The answer lies in past conversations. Each time we pull out socks and shin guards, she pleads for more time to play. “Please can we go to the park instead?”
Already, at the tender age of four, she rebels against the busyness of life. She doesn’t want activities and events, she simply wants to play.
What is one of the biggest complaints from people all over the country? According to Arthur Boers, author of Living Into Focus ,it is that they are too busy, that they have no time for what really matters.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will. ~ Romans 12.2
How am I different from the world and culture around me?
I fill up our days with activities and chores, avoiding the stillness of unplanned time.
I don’t take the time to craft God into our days, don’t leave empty moments open for filling with His Word.
I am not different.
I have conformed and have not renewed. I stay busy and distracted, wondering why I feel so frantic with no time left over for those who really matter.
My family, my neighbors, Christ Himself, get left in the dust of my busy life.
I live the same sort of shriveled life that is favored by contemporary culture.
Would anyone in the world, harried and distracted and seeking peaceful stillness, look at my life and think that I am any different?
I don’t pose an inviting alternative. I don’t live out abundant life in a way that encourages others around me to take my Christian faith seriously. And why should they? I am living a life just as distracted and busy as everyone else.
How can I draw people to Jesus, how can I be the fragrance of Christ, if I am just as shriveled, just as focused inward as anyone else?
There is no beauty, no enticement, no intriguing mystery of a life that is different in the middle of this busyness.
I have divinely revealed reasons and divinely promised power to live differently. Will I use my imagination and my courage to do so?
For pushing my own self (and hopefully for you as well!) to take the time to use my imagination and courage to be transformed and stop conforming to our world, I will end with this quote from the president of Missions Resource Network, Dan Bouchelle:
Where does it come from, this endless need to be preoccupied with something? … What is so wrong with our lives that we can’t be still and just be?
Yet, we find God’s grace an embarrassment because to receive it we must admit our need of it. Therefore, we keep going out on the Sabbath gathering manna which grows mold and maggots overnight. We can’t be still because we cannot bear the unblinking eye of God not knowing it is the adoring gaze of a lover rather than the suspicious glare of a taskmaster. In our anxiety to prove our worth, we obsess over our productivity, seeking to earn the respect of everyone around us, including God. …
We don’t know how to be still and filled with God. We are unable to rest in the knowledge that he has declared us enough. We are loved. We are what he made us and is making us. … But, to accept his grace means letting go of our sense of self-sufficiently and, for many of us, that is just too expensive. It would end all comparison with others and banish boasting. We can’t have that.
So we now live in a world where taking Sabbath has become a sin. We cannot be still without feeling guilty. We cannot have an unproductive day unless it is filled with working hard at play or we can justify it as “well deserved” by working excessively long and hard before and after.
We think our busyness more essential than God’s. After all, God rested on the Sabbath, but we don’t.
God help us! Help us understand how small and non-essential we are so we can rest, truly rest, without guilt or anxiety, and just enjoy gazing upon your beauty and our blessedness as you gaze upon us with the adoration of a parent with a new baby.