Today’s world is busy and fast paced. To be considered successful we need to work harder and smarter to work our way up the professional ladder, make more money to buy more—bigger homes, better toys, nicer conveniences, increase our circle of friends and acquaintances so that we can be involved in more activities, and strive diligently to look better, thinner, and healthier so we can outlast those around us. Problem with being so busy is that our priorities get skewed and important things suffer. Unfortunately, one of the first things to suffer is our personal lives and the relationships that should be considered the most important to us.
Admittedly, I find myself at this point in my life yet again. (Yes, this is a recurring theme in my life.) I have let the “little” things stack up, consuming most my time, energy, and effort. I have allowed the “busy-ness” to creep into my life and interfere with my priorities. Regrettably, the first area to suffer has been my one-on-one time with the Lord. My prayers have gotten shorter and more hurried. My Bible reading has gotten briefer and meditating on His word has taken a back seat to multiple other tasks driving my days. As if by saving a few minutes in this area of my life it will give me more time to focus on the other areas. Take my word for it—it doesn’t work this way!
It is amazing to me how quickly my life can get out of sync. A minor cold beginning prior to Christmas that has hung on for weeks, culminating in a doctor’s visit and antibiotics, only to find out it is more likely allergies rather than a cold that is making me physically miserable. Throw in stomach upset from the antibiotic and exhaustion from constantly coughing and restful slumber is difficult at best. Adding insult to injury, a little puppy that is too little to go outside (we have bears and coyotes in our neighborhood) has taken up residence and must go outside to “potty” frequently unless I want to add extra cleaning duties to my already “busy” life. Sleeping has become a precious commodity that is taking up too much of my focus, whether restful or not, so sleeping late and taking naps have become habitual and are not productive ways to spend my time.
For starters, sleeping in is not conducive to quality alone time with my Savior. Alone time is just that—time alone. For others, alone time might be more flexible, but I have found that if I don’t find that solitude before everyone else is awake, I won’t find it the rest of the day. Once the hubby gets up, alone time goes out the window. The day has begun and so has our “busy-ness.” Breakfast, gym, errands, cell phones, work (we may be retired but we still do “work” at things), and various other activities interrupt our day. It is easy to get so busy that I feel motivated to do less and less.
We are both family oriented and taking time to be with family and friends is something we consistently strive to do. Although both children are married and out of the house, it is very important to us to stay involved in their lives. We have elderly parents that need assistance and back-up. We have several family members and friends who are battling serious illnesses that we want to comfort and encourage. We also belong to a church family that is loving and active which gives us the opportunity to respond to needs within the church and community as they come up. Providing meals during family crises, visiting the sick and hurting, helping with repairs around the house, yardwork, etc. With this we have the “normal” activities that continue: weekly worship services, prayer meetings, cell groups, and social activities surrounding these events.
As you can see, it is easy to stay busy. But if I am staying so busy that little is left over for the important things such as prayer and conversation with my Lord and Savior—then something is wrong. So, I realize my focus needs to change. In order to change my focus, I need to spend more time with the Lord. How else am I going to be able to prioritize my schedule if I don’t seek His input? I need to be doing the things that are important to Him, not keeping myself busy with things that make me feel or look important to others.
Has this happened to You? Have you been staying so busy that your quality time with the Lord has suffered? Are the things that are keeping you busy serving Him? Is your focus where it needs to be? What can we do about it?
Below are a few steps we can take to realign our focus and take control of our “busy-ness:”
- Seek forgiveness. I don’t know about you, but the first thing I have to do is seek His forgiveness for taking my eyes off Him and losing my perspective on what is important in God’s eyes. Fortunately, even as I come to Him dragging my feet, head hung in shame, embarrassed for messing up once again, I can rejoice in His promise that He will forgive me.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
Notice that He doesn’t say He will only forgive us once. He knows us. He created us. He knows we aren’t perfect and will make mistakes. So, he has allowed us to come to Him, again and again, seeking forgiveness when know we have missed the mark. How awesome is that?
- Start again. Dive in. Start praying. Start reading. Start studying. Pick up where you left off when you got off kilter. Put the past behind you and begin renewing your relationship with Him again.
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
Thankfully, God is faithful and just, and He has an unending supply of love. We can start again, fresh and with a clean slate, no guilt necessary.
- Seek His Will. Ask God to help you discern what is important. He will guide you. With all your “busy-ness”, it is easy to get overwhelmed and lose our motivation. We need to look at the activities that are keeping us so busy and possibly let some of the least important ones go. We probably need to re-prioritize those things that are important to ensure that they get done. In order to do this, we need God’s guidance.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 1 John 1:5
God is not going to keep what He wants you to do a secret. He wants to tell you. All you have to do is ask and follow Him in obedience.
Isn’t it great to know that even when we make mistakes, God can still use us? Even when we veer off the path, God can steer us back in the right direction. God is faithful, His mercies are endless, and the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases!
GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassion’s, they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Written by: Chris Rice • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc