Busy-ness, Faith, Mothering, Time With God

Busy: The Surprising Result of Being Too Busy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Have you ever read a passage in the Bible and though something like, “That’s not me.” Only to have God check you on that?

I recently read Isaiah 32. In the NIV it says this:

“You women who are so complacent, rise up and listen to me; you daughters who feel secure, hear what I have to say!  . . . Tremble, you complacent women; shudder, you daughters who feel secure! Strip off your fine clothes and wrap yourselves in rags.”

~Isaiah 32:9,11

This passage struck me. I am not a complacent woman. I am busy about keeping my family running smoothly.

Getting the boys to sports and activities,

Spending time with friends.

I am doing what I can to train up our sons in integrity (with Hubs’ help, of course).

I manage the house.

Hold things up when Hubs has to travel.

The word B-O-R-E-D has no place in my vocabulary.

So why would this verse challenge me?

Perhaps God isn’t talking about complacency in living out our days. Most of us can claim the “Busy” title.

What if busy-ness is actually what causes complacency . . . in our relationship with God?

When I have a lot going on, my quiet time gets shortened. I read in God’s word, but sometimes my mind is already shifting toward the things that must be done in that day.

Sometimes (I hang my head), I read the Bible because I know I should rather than because it’s my very life-breath.

There are seasons where we are busy. But that’s what they should be: seasons—with a definite beginning and end.

Busy shouldn’t define our lifestyle.

When it becomes our lifestyle, we suffer, our families suffer, and our relationships suffer. Especially our relationship with God.

Here’s where I found my thoughts going as I contemplated this passage.

In my role of serving my family . . .

in learning to live out a calling to write . . .

it’s easy to get wrapped up in these things.

The busy days come. I have to flow with them. But God loves me. He always will. So that relationship is solid, right?

Even when I don’t spend time with Him? He’ll understand, because I’m busy serving and living for Him.

This kind of thinking is dangerous because it leads to complacency. Yes. God will always love us.

He tells us in Romans chapter 8 there is nothing that can separate us from His love.

First we are too busy to spend time with Him one day, and then another . . . and before we know it a month has passed with no one-on-one time with God.

This eventually becomes a lifestyle.

Busyness crowds out relationship.

And our relationship with God is our life-breath. Pretty soon we stop breathing spiritually.

We begin to depend on ourselves to accomplish our to-do lists, forgetting that God is the only One who can enable us to complete the things He gives us to do.

Spiritual complacency reflects in our lives. In the way we treat others. In our mindsets. In our health.

Spending time with God is not a requirement to get to heaven. It’s a gift God gives us.

It’s a little like spending time with our favorite author or celebrity, only about a million times better. God has all the time in the world to talk with us, listen to us, teach us. And He wants to do these things.

We may need to change our perspective about what it means to spend time with Him.

Instead of thinking about spending time in God’s word as a task, we need to guard time in our days so we can meet with Him as we would a friend for coffee.

We need to guard against the busy-ness mindset.

God honors those who honor Him. As we honor Him with our time . . .

as we make spending that time with Him a priority,

. . . He meets us at a heart-level.

He gives us what we need for that day.

And, He enables our spirits to thrive. Which will reflect onto those around us. And, we can avoid the label “Complacent.”

What about you? Where in your life have you battled complacency? How do you guard against busyness? 

Click to Tweet: Busyness crowds out relationship

Today I’m linking up with Chasing Community, Holley Gerth, and Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup

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20 thoughts on “Busy: The Surprising Result of Being Too Busy”

  1. Wonderfully deep post, Jeanne, and marvellous pictures.

    Busyness…I know it well, but somewhere along the line I realized that actions were only valuable in context. It made the world pale a bit, and certainly made me less-than-enthralling company when I would describe my work, avocations and pursuits in terms of the transcendent.

    The aeroplane-building, for instance…it’s only value is the mark it makes on my soul as I work. If the labour draws me closer to the Almighty, it’s a good thing, but if I become focused on the end product, and the frustratingly long time it will take (about 3000 hours of effort, and I doubt I shall live that long) then it does no good whatsoever.

    It’s both cliche and shibboleth to say that work becomes a prayer in itself; far more correct to say that work (both vocation and avocation) lay the groundwork for prayer; in their transcendental context they give prayer itself a personal context.

    Does that make sense?

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    1. Andrew, I always appreciate your words here. I so appreciated the perspective you added as you shared about working on your aeroplane. When the labor draws you closer to God, yes, that is a beautiful thing. When the labor becomes about the end product? That almost always leads to dissatisfaction and frustration. Your delineation between these two is important.

      I love your final paragraph. And yes, it makes perfect sense. Thank you, my friend.

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  2. Amen, Jeanne. I’ve been guilty of busyness, too. The Lord’s had me on a fast of sorts, a busyness-fast this summer. I’ve been taking a break from many things, and I’ve said no to many things. Trying to reset with His help. And, wow, does it ever make a difference. 🙂 I agree, relationship is the main thing. Thanks for sharing, Jeanne. Great to connect with you at #ChasingCommunity. ((hug))

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    1. Brenda, wow, a busy-ness fast. That must have been hard at first, but I suspect you’ve found freedom as you learn how to live beyond busy-ness! Resetting can only really happen with Jesus’ help, can’t it? Thanks for sharing part of your story, and for visiting!

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  3. “And our relationship with God is our life-breath. Pretty soon we stop breathing spiritually.” Love that. He is our life-breath. My summer season tends to be slower than the rest of the year, but in this slower time I can procrastinate more, ironically! I love how you also mention that spending that morning time with God ‘resets’ us and sets our day. Such true words!

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    1. Lynn, I’m learning that, sometimes, when I’m in a slower season, what I need most is to slow down, to rest my mind, my body, my schedule. To give myself a little freedom to not accomplish as much. It’s hard for this Type-A gal to come to terms with, but when I’ve given myself some down time, I come back refreshed. 🙂 Thank you so much for your words here. 🙂 Grateful for you, friend!

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  4. Beautifully written! I love the words, “And our relationship with God is our life-breath. Pretty soon we stop breathing spiritually.” I would never want to stop breathing spiritually. This is a wonderful phrase to meditate on, listening to my spiritual breath and asking God to strengthen me! Thank you for sharing these beautiful words!

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    1. Robin, I’m with you. I never want to stop breathing spiritually. God has had me listening to my spiritual breaths lately, and most of them are shallow intakes. I’m working to spend more time with Him, and breathing in His presence into the depths of who I am. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  5. Jeanne,
    My two months on the sofa, not able to walk, as I was going through Part I of my surgery recuperation taught me just how complacent I’d become. Because I literally couldn’t be busy doing other things, I spent more time with God and in His Word and you know what….the more I read His Word and spent time in prayer, the more I craved. It was like I couldn’t wait to see what He had for me at the beginning of each new day. It really rejuvenated my quiet time and took it from the “have to” column to the “want to”. Great reminder here today to keep at it even though I’m getting more mobile…I don’t want to slip into old patterns.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. I love your testimony here, Bev. Over the weekend, God showed me how depleted I’ve become with our crazy summer and not enough time connecting with Him. Even today, the final day before school begins, I was CRANKY by 11:00 this morning. It had been an early and stressful morning. I had to take time to just be with God in His word.

      I’m glad to hear you’re becoming more mobile. May your times with Jesus continue to be intimate and deep!

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  6. Jeanne, It’s amazing when verses I have read in the past pop out to me as if they are new! Those verses are powerful! I like what you did with them and how you point out the paradox of busyness. We think we surely can’t rise up anymore-we are filled to the brim! But-with what? It’s always about our connection to Jesus being first-even if it means giving up activities that we like or are “churchy.” Jesus said “Come to me and I will give you rest.” In order to receive it, we have to be willing to set down anything else that’s keeping up from following him where he is leading us.

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    1. Stephanie, it’a always interesting g to me when God reveals a personal application like He did with these verses. Sometimes I need that call back to intimacy with Him, you know?

      I’m guessing you’re discovering what I am: the necessity of saying no to the good so we can say yes to His best–fellowship with Him.

      Have a great weekend my friend!

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  7. Jeanne, I hear you loud and clear on this one. This summer, there have been a couple of weeks when I had a chance to get away from all the busyness that has to be my life right now. I’m so grateful for the breaks, but when I was in a different place on a different schedule, I let my early morning time of prayer and Bible reading go for several days. When I got home, it was so wonderful to get back into my regular routine … time in God’s presence truly does sustain us like nothing else, doesn’t it? Hope all is well in your world, my friend!

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    1. Lois, that getting away is refreshing, but isn’t it surprising how comforting it is to get back into the familiar routines? Now that my kids are back in school, I’m trying to re-establish a good quiet time each morning. I have missed it!

      Have a beautiful weekend my friend!

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  8. Fabulous post! Busyness is almost like an addiction for me. It is a vicious cycle that has no end on its own. The only way out is to be purposeful. Like you said, I do not ever want to stop breathing spiritually. What a scary thought. Than, you for sharing your wisdom at Purposful Faith!!!

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    1. Jessica, I have struggled with the busy-ness addiction for most of my adult life. As I grow older, I’m finally “getting it” that busy-ness isn’t as good as the world tells us. I’m with you, I do not want to stop breathing spiritually. May we both be intentional about spending regular time with God! Thank you so much for visiting my little place!

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  9. What a wonderful and powerful post! The busyness that so many of us strive for and even wear as badges is so often the very thing that is ruining so much of what is precious in our lives – at the very least, making relationships, our walk with Christ and our effectiveness for Him less than it could be (and should be!) I love your thought…spending time with Christ is not a requirement for Heaven but it is a gift!! I truly want to wake up every morning eager to receive and enjoy that gift!

    Thanks so much for your post! Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Jennifer, I think you’re right. We do tend to wear our busyness/schedules as a badge. We need to evaluate what is most precious to us and make those people/things our focus, don’t we? I’m with you. I want to awaken every morning eager to spend time with Jesus. I so appreciate you stopping by!

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  10. Yes! Yes, Jeanne! When you just can’t wait to meet with Him. When good things happen, and you can’t wait to get alone with God, in the bathroom, anywhere you can get alone, so you can jump up and down and praise Him … or cry your heart out to Him. Whatever is called for. ❤ It's a gift, yes.

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    1. I loved your visual, Shelli. Getting alone with Jesus to pour out ourselves before Him—whether it’s joyful exuberance or deep sorrow or something else, I love that He wants us to be real with Him, to be with Him. And when we listen to Him in our quiet times? That’s what deepens relationship, isn’t it?

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