Rushed mornings and raised voices getting kids ready and out the door. Hurry home, quickly get ready and tend to an infant. Back to the car. Copy papers, read to classes, attend Bible study, prep rooms for Sunday school and visit with friends. Drive home again, exhausted. Grab kids from school, feed them snacks, help with homework, play, then start the evening rush while kids melt down. Quick meals, sports practices, baths, and bed. Kids asleep. Momma’s drained. Turn on the television, scroll Facebook, and superficially chat with husband all while checking out for the night. Fall asleep – but not for a full night. Kids wake up throughout the night. Alarm clock sounds. Get up and repeat the cycle.
This was my life. Maybe you can relate? Chaos ruled. Some days it still reigns.
Ask any number of women how they are, and “busy” will be the answer, or at least part of it. We are all busy, bogged down with crazy schedules and commitments.
So, does it really matter? I believe so. Here are three reasons why:
1) Busyness = Exhaustion
The busiest season of my life, described above, completely drained me: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. All of the things I did during the day were good, but I found no time for true rest. I took matters into my own hands and sought relaxation by watching television or scrolling through social media. I had no mental capacity to truly engage with my husband at the end of the day. I did spend some time with God, but it was only in order to check a box off my list. I certainly didn’t want to show up to Bible study empty handed! I would rush through my homework and prayers, doing the minimum necessary in order to move on to the next task.
Jesus Christ is called the Prince of Peace. He alone is the true source of peace. Rest. He beckons us in Matthew 11:28 to draw near to Him and hand over our burdens in exchange for rest. But who has time for that?! When I allowed the world to dictate my calendar, I certainly didn’t. I pushed God aside, knowing He would never abandon me, in order to complete tasks that I deemed more important. I told God in another season, when I’m not so busy, I will spend more time with You. My actions shouted, “No, God, I don’t have time to pray today. No, God, I don’t have time to read my Bible. No, God, I don’t have time to write. I’m just too busy right now.”
He made sure I slowed down, and taught me a major lesson in the process.
True rest is only found through Christ.
2) Our calendar reveals our heart.
Someone shared a graphic recently on Instagram of a quote by Zig Ziglar: “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24-hour days.” It is so true. I wouldn’t have believed it in the middle of my busy season. I believed I was doing good things. I loved Jesus, but I couldn’t meet with Him every day. My heart was in the right place!
A few months after we moved to Ohio, I came across a verse that shocked me. We are told in Jeremiah 17:9 “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Wait – what?! I had to read it a few times. Surely not all hearts. It is true, though. I learned through Proverbs 4:23 that everything I do flows from my heart.
My schedule didn’t allow time for God. In fact, I kept myself so busy there were days I didn’t even open my Bible or whisper up a prayer to the Lord. I pushed Him aside in order to meet the demands written in pen on my planner. I believed all those boxes needed to be checked first, and in doing so, the true nature of my heart was revealed.
I meant well. I really did. I thought by attending Bible study, church, a life group, and volunteering at the church I was getting in enough “God time.” All of that is community-centered, though. Do not misunderstand me – community is essential for our spiritual walks. But nothing can replace the value of intimate, one-on-one time with God. Not even church.
My calendar revealed that I placed more importance on people than the Lord. I couldn’t meet with Him, but I could sign up for everything that came my way. I felt no real peace. It was a constant race; one I would never win.
Busy isn’t always bad. There are a lot of newly released books on the topic of managing busy lives. Busy becomes bad when people replace God. What I mean by this is if my life is too busy to sit quietly with Jesus, then my life is busier than God intended. He did not create us to perform at such a level that we needed to separate ourselves from Him.
I don’t know about you, but God speaks to me when it’s quiet. Let me correct that. God speaks to me all the time; I only hear Him when it’s quiet. Reflecting back on the times in my life where I heard Him clearly, there is one common factor: silence. In the coming months, I am going to be discussing a variety of ways to make room for Christ in your daily life. We need to chase Him through the chaos.
In her book What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, Lysa TerKeurst says “wherever we focus our attention the most, that will become the driving force in our lives.” In that crazy busy season, my attention was focused on gaining the approval of those around me. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by saying no or backing out of a commitment. I wanted others to acknowledge my efforts and I sought their praise.
Check your calendar, and you will see your heart.
3) Chaos is a tool of the enemy.
S. Lewis penned a book called The Screwtape Letters, a fictional book in which two workers for the enemy corresponded about their patients. Wormwood is an apprentice and is learning the skills necessary to keep the persons assigned to him away from God. It is a really interesting read! Screwtape is Wormwood’s boss. In one letter, Screwtape explains to Wormwood: “Whenever they [Christians] are attending to [God] we [the enemy’s army] are defeated, but there are ways of preventing them from doing so. The simplest is to turn their gaze away from Him toward themselves.”
The enemy wants us busy. When we are distracted from God, then we really aren’t doing Kingdom work. We need to be connected with God, meeting with Him daily and in constant conversation with Him, in order to follow His path. All those times I showed God through my actions that the world was more important than Him, the enemy cheered. Separating myself from Christ, my eyes became fixated on what I could accomplish on my own.
The good news, friends? Jesus has already achieved victory for us. We are victorious in Christ. Why, then, do we allow ourselves to push Him aside? God should be the single most important person we meet with every single day. God trumps my husband, my kids, my friends, and my acquaintances. It is so hard to wrap our hearts around that, though.
The enemy understands this, and so he tries to distract us from God. He’s done a pretty good job in my own life. I recognized this after I moved away and found myself uncomfortable in the silence. But through that discomfort God allowed me to feel, I found Him again. My prayer is by sharing my own experience, maybe God will reveal to you areas where He has become replaced.
Don’t let chaos push aside Christ…that is just want the enemy wants.
It’s a real battle we fight here on earth. God needs all His people equipped and ready for the fight, which requires us to be in close relationship with Him. Next month, I am going to be focusing my attention on the single greatest weapon we have: God’s Word.
In pursuit of Him,
P.S. I love Instagram and have been posting encouragement each day! Make sure we are connected and find more encouragement for Chasing Christ Through The Chaos!