By: Kyle French
Before reading further, you should go do something simple that relaxes you… take a deep breath, sit still and rest your mind for a moment, whatever helps. Why? Because you may be running around on a little to no sleep, you burned lunch again because your child needed your help getting their foot unstuck from the most unimaginable position, or the list of expectations from your employer is growing longer than a beard on Duck Dynasty. Perhaps, you could be having the best day you’ve had in weeks and are feeling completely satisfied and fulfilled. Or, you find yourself in the in-between and you simply don’t know what to feel or how to feel about it yet. Regardless, wherever you may fall, I imagine there is always something situating itself in the back of our minds. It can be hard to find and maintain a strong sense of peace and contentment.
It may come as no surprise that the American workforce is the global leader in the average amount of hours worked on a yearly basis, at 1,878 hours in a study from 2000.On top of which, it is unlikely that workers are even able to leave work at work. For those who are stay-at-home parents it goes without say how demanding life can be while trying to manage a household and keep your sanity.
Although it may seem like that technological advancements may make the work easierit certainly has not made it less. More so the opposite, accessibility offers more opportunity to go deeper than ever before, more data to crunch, more spreadsheets to prepare, more tests to run, etc. More opportunity also means more possibility for mistakes, and more stress on making the right decisions with said information.
First things first, what are you actively doing to strive towards integrating more peace into your life or finding out what brings you the most contentment? If your answer is x, y and z, then you are on the right track. For those of us (myself included) who are struggling to just have the mental capacity for what is already on their plate, this is an incredibly difficult task. However, there is good news on the horizon, but it may feel a little painful or daunting at first but it can be more rewarding then you imagined. Pastor, best-selling author, Ph.D. candidate, international speaker and daily blogger, Kevin DeYoung, has some words of wisdom to share in his book, Crazy Busy, by sharing three dangers that all Christian should be careful to avoid:
- Busyness can ruin our joy: “When our lives are frantic and frenzied, we are more prone to anxiety, resentment, impatience, and irritability.”
- Busyness can rob our hearts:“For most of us, it isn’t heresy or rank apostacy that will derail our profession of faith. It’s all the worries of life.”
- Busyness can cover up the rot in our hearts: “The presence of extreme busyness in our lives may point to deeper problems – a pervasive people-pleasing, a restless ambition, a malaise of meaninglessness…The greatest danger with busyness is that there may be greater dangers you never have time to consider.”
Understanding the danger that lies in waiting is essential in finding the solution to what is at risk. Take for instance this passage from Matthew 7:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
One of the conditions at play here, is that there is a level of deception as to how we are able to self-diagnose. Be it our pride or even through our own selfishness, there is a temptation to take full control and find our worth in everything but in the Lord. To be clear, assertiveness and decisiveness are praised qualities in Scripture, but when they are done with the wrong expectations and motivations, they can be damaging. Therefore, the underlying question when discussing the effects of busyness, is to ask, “can you truly ever feel content?” If the answer is no, then maybe your chasing after what is fleeting and ignoring the steadfast joy that is only found in a relationship with the Lord.
How ironic that the cross, the ultimate act of scandalous love, is rooted in passive obedience. It is no coincidence that Jesus is seen routinely in moments of intimate and intense prayer. So, the next time the pace seems so unbearable or the situation insurmountable, take a moment to relax, and offer your heart to the Lord, only he can truly replenish what you might have lost. Fulfilling and satisfying contentment can be had, there is joy to be found!
Swenson, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, 115.
DeYoung, Crazy Busy, 26.