I feel the black hole behind me like a vacuum. Trying to suck me in. There is a reason why my life verse is, “Be still, and know that I AM GOD” (Psalm 46:10).
But like most humans, sometimes I am really good and it and sometimes the black hole of busyness starts sucking away. Sucking away time. Sucking away moments. Sucking away at what really matters in life.
The lists pile. I cross things out and re-place them somewhere else on the list. I started using a pencil so I could erase. A pen makes my craziness all more evident. All the crossing out and scribbling back in. A mess.
water bottle labels and posters
Make newsletter, send in to print by end-of-week
Start thinking about next month’s column
Dehydrate pears, make puree
Puree vegetables in ice cube trays
Chapter 15 Women’s Bible study
Organize Audrey’s room, make a pile for the attic and for donations
Snack for Tuesday night<
Make hummus, bread and soup
Laundry, dishes, clean the house
Three meals to deliver on Monday; 3:30 meeting at church
Make Yumm! Sauce
Decorate for fall
I go an go. In a rush. I can’t ever sit still when the list piles up. There is ALWAYS something to do. In a hurry, making busyness. I fear the, “what if something does not get done?” Nope. Can’t. Always get everything done – even if it is last minute. Even if I am sacrificing other things.
Sacrificing other things? Other moments? I feel the pang when I choose to get up from our family time on the couch after only being able to sit for five minutes. But there is an empty moment that needs filling. Wait. It wasn’t an empty moment – it was a full moment that I made empty. I filled it with the laundry that could have waited.
“Wherever you are, be all there.” -Elisabeth Elliot
I have told myself over and over that I am just a busy person. I like to be busy. But the truth is, do I know any different? Do I know what it is like to be not busy?
But then again, we are called “to be busy at home…” (Titus 2:5) So, which is it?
After devouring the pages of Ann Voskamp’s, One Thousand Gifts, where she, an exemplary Christian woman (and very busy!), reminds me to relish in the moment; be thankful for all things, slow down – I then open the pages of A Woman After God’s Own Heart by another profound Christian woman, Elizabeth George,to have her try to ignite me to keep moving. Keep being busy. Get off the couch! My head is spinning.
“…she works with eager hands…She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family…She set about her work vigorously” (Prov. 31:13;15;17)
It is what I am choosing to be busy with. God has put us mothers, wives and women on assignment to be busy – but we are to be busy in Him and our family first, then as a servant.
I loved what I found when I looked up “busy” in the dictionary. In order it read:
busy adjective \ˈbi-zē\
1a : engaged in action
b : being in use
4: full of distracting detail
The first two – engaged, in use, active – the last two, foolish, distracting detail
That’s it: what am I doing that is worth while for my how-ever many days are left on earth and what am I doing that is just distraction from life? A foolish past-time?
None of us really know when we are going to leave this life, therefore we should live not passing the time with foolish busyness but with servant busyness. Busyness that leaves a legacy; not busyness that leaves stuff.
“You’re the one in dire need of time, that thing we can’t buy, what we sell of ourselves to get more of what we think we want, what we sacrifice to seemingly gain. They say time is money, but that’s not true. Time is life. And if I want the fullest life, I need to find the fullest time…I know you, the busyness of your life leaving little room for the source of your life…God gives us time. And who has time for God?” – Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts (p.64)
Who has time for God? Well, I have worked to put God into my schedule. Don’t I get a gold star? Hmph. Why do I work at putting God into my schedule? I am His servant. This is His life, living in me and working through me; therefore, everything should be God-breathed. Everything I do should be for Him. I should be full of activity and engaged in Him- BUSY IN HIM.
Not busy with foolish, detracting details of life.
Busyness is a human disease. I sometimes wonder if I were to count how much time I spend fixing the flowers in my center vase so they look fluffy and perfect. How much time wasted doing that? How much time to I spend re-doing things; re-decorating things? My eyes sit on an empty moment, searching my house for something that can be made anew, different, change. Why? To stay busy. My ears hear, “Mommy can you help please? Mommy, help please…mommy…mommy.” “Just a minute, Audrey. Just a minute.”
I knew it was a bad sign when Audrey started saying, “Minute mommy. Minute.”
Is it really a minute? Am I really filling my precious time with some foolish busyness while my daughter is just requesting some attention, some time – a moment. A full moment.
“We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.” (Psalm 39:6)
Ends in nothing? And never ends. I always think there is some finish line: “If I just finish this and this, I can relax.” “If I just get this completed, I will spend the rest of the afternoon reading to Audrey…” It always is going – a constant circle with never an end point because somewhere in my head I will not let there be an end point.
People who experience a close-to-death moment or have a terminal illness, while in their tough circumstance, most often are blessed with the wisdom of time. They forget watching show after show on television and just play with their kids (without thinking of what they could or should be getting done). If they show up late to something, they aren’t huffing and puffing like their life is on a roller-coaster and you’re lucky they made it at all. They aren’t making list after list of tasks and having to pencil in, “Family Time.”
Some people know what is important and they EMBRACE IT. They hold onto it. They live FULLY IN THE MOMENT.
You can’t do two things at once. And I am the first person that would jump and say, “Oh, yes you can! You should watch me drive!”
You can’t do two things, with all your love and attention, at once. So, it isn’t fair that during my devotion sometimes or Bible study, I drift thinking of things that need to be done. Any still moment, I start itching.
These still moments became more clear to me when last Sunday my husband and I began to argue about just – life. After a day of not really knowing what we were discussing or upset about, my husband said that is honestly just hurt him that on our way to church I can’t just sit. The minute I get in the car I am doing something, moving around, thinking of something, making a list, texting people. I like to USE my empty time. But, wait…again, was it empty time? I filled it with empty things which could have been a full, engaging and active moment for God. A moment where my husband and I could have nice conversation.
I think of empty calories. How often we want to eat doughnuts or something sugary and carbohydrate loaded, when we are satisfied only shortly, it does nothing for us. They are empty calories, just filling us with fat. And then quickly, we are hungry again. Then at the end of the day, we are worn down – tired and bitter. However, when we eat something healthy, packed with good vitamins – our body is full, content and can survive for much longer.
I don’t want to fill my body with the empty calories of life. Fattening moments instead of God-serving healthy ones. I want the ones that will make me live longer, leave a legacy and be vigorous to work with eager hands. To be FULLY in the moment and still get everything that needs to get done, done. And God will give us that time.
“A question once asked of a pastor haunts through the rows of headstones and I hear it sure again. What was the pastor’s most profound regret in life? They carry the wooden box across the graveyard. It’s the weight of regrets that weighs a coffin down. And I hear the answer of the pastor ring. Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing…Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.” -Voskamp (p.65,66)
It is the black hole. The garbage can of time. We swim in it. “Haste makes waste.” Haste: a quick action; to hurry. In those moments I hear, “Be still….be still.”
“Hurry always empties a soul.” -Voskamp (p.67) And I want to fill mine – not with empty time, “but FULL, meaningful, time.
She said it wonderful again:
“I don’t really want more time; I just want enough time. Time to breathe deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give You glory and rest deep and sing joy and just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven, or wild to get it all done – yesterday.” (p.67)
“I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment.” (p.68)
God gives me those moments in choices. I can choose. We have one life – I need to start choosing the right ones – the ones that mean something. And then, relish in it. I can be busy as long as I am choosing the good, meaningful things to be busy with – and then, wherever I am, BE ALL THERE.