The irony is not lost on me that I’m feeling too busy to write this article on busyness. My days are filled with activity, and I fall into bed each night exhausted. Perhaps you feel the same way. Women are master multitaskers. We juggle jobs, school lunches, carpool, book club, soccer, service projects, and quality time with the people we love. Our lives are a constant balancing act of prioritizing our to-do lists against the hours we must work with.
As we consider the different activities we’re engaged in, we need to ask the question, “What kind of busy are we?”
I participate in several activities-all of which would be considered good- hospitality, discipleship, ministry, etc. I feel busy but in a good way. But one day my oldest son told me that he wished I were at home more because things run smoother when I’m there. I felt I’d failed my son. My boys are older and don’t require as much monitoring as they did when they were little, and I’d taken that freedom and filled it with other good tasks. I was the wrong kind of busy. I was losing at home with my own children.
As believers, we know that we were, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10).” The Gospels tell various accounts of the days of Jesus’ life on earth being filled with activity.
Feeling overloaded, I wondered if I had thought of busyness rightly. Busyness is having a lot to do, and being engaged in action. That sounds like a good thing, so why does it have such a negative connotation in my mind?
Sin Taints God-Glorifying Productivity
Sin taints everything, including our productivity and the way we think about it. Our flesh values ease and comfort. We want maximum output with little input. The enemy tempts us to think we shouldn’t have to work so hard, that we deserve more leisure. My days are filled with activity as I homeschool my four sons and work part-time for a nonprofit. As I’m working on this article right now, my flesh wants to be curled up in my bed with a good book-an escape for a while before bedtime. But this nighttime hour is the best time for me to labor over this topic, and it’s also more beneficial to me to work at my writing than escape in fiction.
As our days fill with more and more tasks, we are tempted to rely on ourselves. We believe our strength gets the job done, and our creativity solves our problems. It’s easy to give in to the Superwoman mentality. The busier our days get, the harder it becomes to make time for prayer. However, when Martin Luther considered his busy schedule, he said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”
As much as we can loathe our busy schedules, we can also take pride in them. Complaints to our friends about our overloaded schedules can be our heart’s boasting about our self-importance.
God Redeems Our Productivity
There will always be days where each activity on my agenda is necessary. When that happens, I go to my Father for help. Some days my oldest son needs to dropped off at work at the same time my youngest son has swim practice. God knows I can’t be in two places at once. When my kids’ school lessons take longer than expected and there’s no time to go to the grocery store before dinner, my Father is with me. He wants me to go to Him with my needs, big and small. I need His help, wisdom, and provision to get through the day.
My neediness drives me to my Father. In our need, He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).” In our busyness, we go to him as humble, dependent daughters. When my daily to-do list gets overwhelming, I go to my Father.
As we labor hard for the Lord, we can do so with a posture of gratitude. We’re thankful that He’s given us the opportunity to be kingdom workers. It’s a blessing to raise the next generation of disciple-makers. It’s a privilege to interact with lost people daily to share God’s good news with them. The days are long, and the tasks are many, but we should be grateful He desires to use us. We’re not just bringing our kids to football practice. We’re investing in them, dialoguing about their day and their worldview, giving them the opportunity to work hard together with others for a common goal, and teaching them to take care of their bodies. We also engage other parents from the sidelines.
Glorifying God in Our Busyness
Since we were created to work, and Jesus Himself filled His days engaged in action, why shouldn’t we? How can we, as women, be engaged in many tasks to the glory of God?
Jesus was about His father’s business (Luke 2:49). Are we? Does our busyness come from a place of gospel usefulness or from self-service? As tired as I feel some days, I love experiencing the joy of obedience. Bringing God glory invigorates me. He’s given me a job to do and the strength to do it. It’s true, I don’t have a lot of free time, but He gives me rest. While I enjoy the occasional girl’s night out, that is not what recharges me; God does.
Do we see our daily to-do lists as a way to bring God glory? You don’t have to be living in a jungle sharing the gospel with an unreached people group to be a kingdom worker. You don’t have to be leading a Bible Study to be gospel busy. You don’t even have to be a blogger. You bring God glory in your everyday tasks as you obey His good commands, serve in the strength He provides, and have your will aligned with His for each day.
We can proclaim the gospel in our everyday busyness. We do so when we interact with other moms, shut down office gossip in the break room, or discipline our tantrum-throwing two-year-old. It happens when you help a single mom on your street catch up on chores or invite your neighbors who look different than you do over for dinner.
Be Busy Well
It’s our joy to serve our king who rescued us from darkness and brought us into His kingdom (Col. 1:13). When we try to rely on ourselves, the gospel keeps us humble and dependent on Christ. It’s in his strength that we strive.
Let’s say yes to the pursuits which magnify Christ in us and no to empty activities which feed our flesh. In the same way that binging on junk food fills our bellies but offers little nourishment, participating in mind-numbing activities fills our time but does little to nourish our souls. Am I using my time well by watching several hours of TV each day, or am I escaping the work that needs to be done?
We can fill up our days with all sorts of activities. We can run ourselves ragged trying to keep up with the Facebook mom who appears to be winning all day every day. But my day isn’t as draining when I see the activities I’m engaged in as kingdom tasks. We must look beyond the obvious and see the eternal significance in our work. This perspective invigorates us.
We are all busy. But let’s be busy well. Let’s be busy for the glory of God. We were created for good works. Whether they take place inside our homes or outside or both, let’s work and work hard. Let’s fall into bed exhausted each night, thankful for our gospel labors and resting in the work Christ has already done for us.