Have you ever been in a season where you are always busy but feeling like you are never getting anything productive done? This summer, I started to feel a lack of contentment as I overworked myself for senseless reasons. Through trials, I learned that my busyness was a reflection of a bad heart condition.
Your busyness may reflect the state of your heart
I had just finished another semester at my college and had to muster up all the energy left to help my sister before her wedding. Between helping my sister, catching up with my husband, making time for family and friends, while attempting to do everything I hadn’t been able to do during the semester, I was always on the go. If I wasn’t going back to work or school, I was going to attempt to complete the many goals I had for myself this summer.
I put this very high level of expectation on myself that required doing things around the house constantly and fulfilling personal goals that I had set. I believed I didn’t earn the right to relax because I didn’t have a 40 hr work week like my family and friends. What would people think of me if I didn’t keep myself busy? That I’m sitting on a couch watching Netflix all day? I needed to prove to people that I wasn’t lazy. I needed to prove to myself that there was a reason I wasn’t working. I was achieving goals before getting a job, a degree and a career. I was so devoted to being busy because I thought to do all these things made this season of my life purposeful and fulfilling.
Overworked and overwhelmed
As the summer weeks when by, I found myself at a point where I was slowing down physically. My mind was overworked and in turn, it weakened my body. I became tired all the time. I was not resting because of guilt. Forced to slow down and reflect on my current condition I have recognized my unhealthy habit of busyness. Since I was young, I would always attempt to do a million things at once, running from one thing to the next in order to please and achieve. There were very few days of rest and reflecting on the state of my life. Now, I found that at my age I could no longer keep up with my own way of doing things and became frustrated. I couldn’t deny that God was trying to get my attention with my external state. It went beyond the physical and dealt with Gods healing and restoration of the heart. Most of the time external symptoms like exhaustion and feeling depleted are the overflow of mind, body, and soul not properly cared for.
Jesus looks to heal the internal
In Mark 2, Jesus heals a paralytic man. Four of the friends of the paralytic man attempt to bring him to Jesus and so they go as far as making a hole in a roof of a packed house so that he would have a chance to be healed. Ironically, Jesus sees the faith of the men and chose to forgive the paralytic’s sins. After a group of religious leaders questioned Jesus, he also heals the man’s body. Why is this so crucial? because just as author Rebekah Lyons states,
We want the external; Jesus goes after the internal.
We want what is seen; Jesus goes after what is unseen.
Jesus sees beyond the external and made a way to heal what truly matters in eternity, the state of our hearts. The unstable ways of a person reflect through their physical actions. When our meaningless state of busyness causes confusion and exhaustion it can cause us to truly question ourselves and our motives. Once my body started to slow down physically, I realized that I could only focus on the important things in my life. Maybe I could only tend to a few relationships or goals at a time. I cannot do it all. If I were to be busy it couldn’t be for reasons of feeling approval and an identity. I have to trust that these slow seasons are busy with significant work. I just have to be brave enough to go there and allow God to do the work on my heart.
Reflect on your state of busy
Being busy is not a sin. It’s all about being occupied with the right things and constantly seeking a rhythm of balance. Rest is as important as work and we need to do our best with both. However, our busyness can sometimes be a denial of the obvious. At the root, overachieving and overworking ourselves is an issue of pride. Spending all our time pleasing people or proving to others of our abilities is not a productive use of our time. Other times, people become busy in order to run from the work God desire to do in us or not trusting in Him enough. If we want God to make His plans clear to us we have to do the work required to arrive at the destination. So let’s reflect on our busyness and examine if it lies in anything that conceals the issues of the heart. It may be feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, fear, pain, rejection, regret, bad memories, failures, insecurity, anxiety, depression, or imaginary walls we have made for ourselves. God will heal our hearts if we are willing to trust Him with the process. That requires time to pick up the shovel and uncover all that we were trying to hide. In this time I’ve had to ask God for forgiveness and learn to live forgiven. I realized that this process takes time as some parts of ourselves are harder to uncover than others. Once God deals with the heart, we are on track to run the race He has set out for us without the inference of the things that weighed us down. Thank you God for doing what is necessary for helping to us focus on what matters, the state of our sinful hearts.
If busyness is your heart issue
1) Fight for Quiet time – Whatever that may mean to you, always take the time to seek the Lord.
2) Focus on prayer and fasting- Take time to talk to God honestly and let Him and guide you.
3) Never skip meditating after prayer – Be still and allow God to speak to you.
4) Journal scripture and prayers- Take time to focus on the scriptures. Write your thoughts on bible verses that capture you.
5)Evaluate your life – What are you prioritizing in your life? What is hurting you? What is helping you? What do you need to do in the season to get back on track? Taking time to evaluate yourself and your physical, mental, spiritual health is crucial to healing and restoration.
6) Establish a few priorities to focus on – If you feel overwhelmed and exhausted, take one day and write all your goals, dreams, and priorities on paper. Pray and set aside a few commitments to focus on in this season.
This post was also inspired by a book I’m reading called Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung. It’s a great guideline on what healthy lifestyle of work and rest looks like as a Christian and is suggested for pastors, ministry leaders or anyone who might feel overwhelmed and overworked.
Let me know in the comments below if you have experienced something similar and what you realized about yourself.