Why busy lives are ruining lives…mine included

It caught up with me.  Finally.  After living with multiple deadlines from multiple angles for four months, I hit the wall.

Last Sunday night, I began thinking about the workload of starting a new week of high school. On top of that I have editing deadlines with the book that will be published.  I am also in the throes of starting a non-profit.  It felt like the famous scene of Lucy at the chocolate factory.  It didn’t matter how hard I worked.  It was never fast enough.

And then…there was my Sunday School class.  It’s been a major commitment, a major joy, and the place where I taught the Landmarks for the first time.  But it had become another deadline.  I had just finished teaching the class that morning and was stewing over how to proceed for the next Sunday.  It literally sent me over the cliff.  I could feel the anxiety rising in me down low and moving up towards my throat.  The old lie that I need to perform before others to get affirmation had pounced on me.  And then the fear that I would stand up before the class and have nothing to say.  It was driving the anxiety.   I began to spout off to Heidi, half in anger, half in fear.  Tears of frustration came.  I was a mess.  She prayed for me as we went to bed.  I struggled to hang on to the truth as I fell asleep.

And the week went OK, even with all the busyness.

But the real insight came yesterday.  Saturday I enjoyed a quiet morning on the back porch, reading, praying, listening to God, enjoying the company of Jesus.  I felt solid, connected, centered.  There was nothing much scheduled on the calendar.  And then it hit me.  No deadlines.  None.  Not even this blog to write!

I believe that in our present age what fogs and gunks up any real connection to God is not so much sin or idols or rebellion.  It’s busyness.  We become too busy with life to think about our life.  We are too rushed just getting things done to think about the sadness of a life just getting things done. We are running quickly going nowhere quickly.

There is only one answer.  STOP.  It’s not a new idea.  Over 3000 years ago it was given this way.  Rest, once a week, on the Sabbath.

So…how is your busyness? How is your rest?

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About Coach D

I have been a teacher and a coach for many years. My real name is Bill Delvaux, but my students call me Coach D, hence the user name. This blog is about the journey into the unknown I am walking and the landmarks I am navigating along the way. The destination: becoming who I really am as a man. I invite you to join me by reading along every Monday and Thursday.
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15 Responses to Why busy lives are ruining lives…mine included

  1. Greg says:

    Business rules our lives … a great American idol. Starting with 5 year old soccer ending with companies believing getting more done with less is the ‘bottom line’ dream. So I watch the blur and temporarily bring a few things into focus to work on. That is a good day in my world.

    • Coach D says:

      You are so right, Greg. We have to push against this to stay centered in Jesus. It is a great American idol. I hope you struggle to find that rhythm of rest.

  2. Totally relate to your post!!!

    I think busyness isn’t so much the problem as the REASON we are busy. I am reading a fantastic book on prayer: A Praying Life (by Paul Miller, son of the guy who mentored Tim Keller). He points out how absolutely busy Jesus was. That if He were here today, His cell would be ringing off the hook with requests for healing… BUT, there were two things true about Jesus that often aren’t true about us. First, he TOOK the time to reconnect with His Father when necessary. Sometimes all night long (I can’t even imagine praying like that). Second, he was busy serving as the Father directed and for His glory – not for the reasons we are often busy.

    Many (all?) times, our busy-ness often springs from idolatry: “If I do ALL of these things, then God and/or men will accept me: I’ll have worth.” Like you said in the blog: “The old lie that I need to perform before others to get affirmation had pounced on me.” Sometimes our busy-ness is a way we numb ourselves, masking our pain instead of asking Jesus to bear the load or asking Him to help us understand the sin behind the pain. And even if we are engaged in God-ordained busyness (I currently feel called to blog daily, lead a women’s Bible study, and mentor a friend – plus my roles as working wife and mom), we can forget the power source and go off on our own, with increasing anxiety thinking we NEED to get it done this way or that way or in this time schedule (back to idolatry), rather than resting in His calling, trusting that He WILL win the battle.

    Congrats on the nonprofit and the book, by the way. Next time I’m out Nashville way, would love to meet.

    FYI, I blogged about that book on prayer here: http://holidaylonging.com/2012/04/25/day-116-become-a-child/

    • Coach D says:

      I actually worked with Jack Miller, Paul’s father and have met Paul who wrote the book on prayer. I used Paul’s curriculum to teach middle school kids the Bible. What a small world! Thanks for the comment. It is so hard to be simple with our technological sophistication. I hope you continue to learn the rhythm of rest and refuse drivenness. And look me up when you do come to Nashville.

      PS. I’ll keep upcoming news about the book on the blog.

      • Yes! It is a small world, especially in those PCA circles… At Duke, I was a Baptist though…!

      • Coach D says:

        OK…I am really missing something! Did you know me at Duke? I am sorry if I should know!

      • LOL. Yes. Was it IVCF? or did you live in Stonehenge? One or the other, but it was a Christian connection. I was in class of never mind – too long ago. You perhaps did not connect my blog persona (picture is a dog) with my Facebook persona (the real me), but if you have, perhaps you will remember.

      • Coach D says:

        What is your Facebook address? And when did you graduate from Duke?

      • If I told you, I’d have to kill you. I’ll message you from inside FB. I graduated the same year as you did.

  3. Sara Wall says:

    I struggle so much with this issue. And I’m the person to blame for being this way. I am the one who makes too many commitments, I’m the person who says yes too much. Then add my need to perform perfectly and you’ve got a messed-up old woman! Thanks for your reminder.

    • Coach D says:

      And I’m a messed up man! So we have something in common, Sara. I’m so thankful that Jesus loves to come close to messes like us! He gently reminds me to simply come and be with him. That’s what he really wants.

  4. Trey says:

    Well, my busyness is so bad I missed Saturday of the men’s retreat to go into work. My rest is currently good only because I was sick Saturday night and rested all day yesterday. Neither is approaching stellar!!!!!! I am sticking to Jesus’ promise that His burden is easy and His yoke is light so I can remind myself to stay on his agenda and schedule, but not very well. So this is a real area for growth and santification for me.

    Trey

    • Coach D says:

      It is also a place of growth for me. My times of silence in the early morning are necessary for my survival! I’m glad Jesus still uses us when we run off the trail so easily. It’s so easy for me to get busy and just forget who I am living for.

  5. Jared says:

    Currently, I am in a Sunday School class on the theology of work. One of the points we’ve discussed in detail is developed a healthy “rest ethic.”

    Our culture praises people with great “work ethic,” but the reverse isn’t always true, eventually leading to burnout.

    • Coach D says:

      Jared,
      You are so right. Just like in running, our true strength does not come from working but from resting. We need to work harder and resting. Paradoxical. But so true. Thank you for reading my blog. Let’s stay in touch!

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