The Hidden Bondage in BUSYness

It feels good to feel needed, doesn’t it?

To have commitments to help, to serve, to assist, and to do for your friends, your family, your church, and everyone under the sun.

When these appointments are divine and ordained by God they can be a great source of joy, refueling for your Spirit, and tools for your growth and promotion in the Kingdom.

But often we get so caught up in wanting to be there for other people, do things, and be a part of that we join onto and sign up for appointments that God has not advised us to accept.

And the result?

The result is the silent, subtle growth of fatigue, of feeling burdened, unfulfilled and just plain old tired.

Most of the time we commit  because we truly just want to help.  Sometimes we do it to keep our minds off of ourselves, our situations, or our loneliness.  And still other times we let other folks enlist us because we haven’t the courage to say no.

Can you relate?

It’s like staying in a relationship too long.  You knew days or weeks or even months ago that it was time to peace out, but you stayed.  And now, the site of him/her stokes nothing but disdain, bitterness and exhaustion in you.

Or it’s like that extra project you accepted at work thinking it would get you ahead.  Sure, you had good intentions, you had a plan.  But not too far in you realize that you’re in over your head and the golden ring you thought awaited you on the other side now just taunts you as you deal with waves of regret, self-anger and desperation.

Or perhaps the emptiness of your house compels you to join the ladies or the fellas at the club, at the bar, or wherever, because then you don’t have to think about the spouse and kids you don’t have.  Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with hanging out with friends, but if you join the gang just to avoid yourself (or God), beware!

But it all happens! It can be so easy to allow good intentions to draw us into commitments we should not enter in to.

And when we spend any amount of our time, energy, spirit or resources on a project that God hasn’t ordained for us, the result is our own depletion — plain and simple.

And then, those things that kept us BUSY end up keeping us in bondage: to covenants, promises and commitments that we should have never undertaken.

Don’t feel bad.  It happens to us all.

We turn around one day wondering how in the heck we got signed up for this or how we got here.

But the truth is that there are ways to avoid the bondage of busyness.

The first is a basic practice we should all remember: pray about everything.

If we take all of our decisions – big or small – to God, He is just and faithful to guide us and give us peace about the decisions (Phil 4:6-7).  In fact, the Word says in Jeremiah 29:11 that He knows the plans He has for us.  Why not run that new opportunity past the Plan-Maker before diving in head first?

By the same token (presenting all of our concerns/questions to God), we should routinely take an activity inventory.  Set aside time to list all of your commitments inside and outside of the home.  Include your 9-to-5 and your volunteer opportunities; your plans to make groceries and your plan to shop for new shoes.  List it all out and then ask God to show you what should stay and what should go.  Why? Because of Proverbs 16:9:  In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

Next, we should similarly do a people inventory from time to time.  The fact is that God’s children are lights.  And all things crave light – some for good reasons, some for not so good reasons.  Make sure you take to the Lord in prayer all of the people to whom you’ve committed time or energy or emotion.  Having hangers-on and folks dragging you back to your past won’t help you fulfill the purpose God has for you.

Finally, we should weigh all extra commitments against our home ministries.  Home is paramount folks.  Whether home means you and your dog, you and your spouse, or you and your kids or parents, THAT is always our first priority.  Family is sacred to God.  And no activity that God wants/wills for you to participate in will ever harm your home ministry.  If home is suffering, you may be diverting your energies to activities elsewhere.

Look, the reality is that busyness is dangerous.  Busyness can lead us to sin and repeated sin can harden our hearts and ears to hearing the voice of God.  Once that happens we can easily become enslaved to the very thing or very activity or very habit we’re trying to disavow.

Being busy can also separate us from God.  Like Peter, distraction can cause us to go from walking on the water to drowning in the blink of an eye because when we focus on other things, it can be difficult to keep our eyes on God.  And the Word tells us to both seek God first (Matt 6:33) AND to be careful not to give the devil a foothold (Eph 4:27).  Busyness can give the enemy a foothold — and what ground the enemy takes, he fights like hell to keep.

So are you feeling overwhelmed?  Tired?  Over-committed? Like you’re burning the candle at both ends and no amount of sleep is helping?  That sounds like soul fatigue — and the cure is getting back to basics: God-appointed commitments, peace and quiet.

Just this week the Lord told me I’m doing too much.  That I need to rest.  That the burden I’m carrying I must give over to Him.  And when you’re believing God for big things, as I am, you risk delaying them or jeopardizing them altogether if you’re too busy for God to move and use you.

So, perhaps you’re still unsure about whether you’re bound by your busyness.  I would challenge you to think about Psalm 46:10a:  Be STILL and know that I am God.

Would a God who urges stillness, quiet and peace ever lead you to a place of confusion, being overwhelmed and overburdened?

The answer is a resounding no!

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