Plain and simple, we live in a busy world. 'Life' is painted as an endless appointment amongst endless coffee catch up's on top of what seems to be a never ending workload. Feeling nostalgic? I find myself more often than not tired and, well, just a little bit grumpy. Quickly, the day to day of life becomes burdensome. Perhaps simple tasks such as doing the washing or unpacking a dishwasher (albeit a tad boring...) tend to have a burdensome weight to it. Who designed life like this?
I can't help but think; am I the only one who feels this burden of life? I think not. I look around and almost every conversation I'm having is... "Yes, doing great thanks...but SO busy!" I'm defiantly a culprit.
I would go as far to say, this burden is plaguing our generation. You see, busyness has become a way of life in our society. As I watch and observe this busyness almost gives people an entitlement of importance. This busyness makes people feel worthy. Perhaps this busyness is all one has. The kind of busyness I'm talking about idolises workload and forgets what rest is.
I would describe myself as the above person. Characterised as someone who says' 'yes' rather than 'no', my life is often scheduled hour by hour. Even if I have a pocket of time – I find a task, a catch up; or something just to fill the time; something to fill the void of feeling useless and unproductive. This lifestyle is partly characterised by who I am however I have attached myself to the busyness of society. I want to keep up with the pace, the status quo; of course I want to feel important.
The flipside is this, living this kind of life I often find myself in several moments reflecting on the Sabbath and rest. To be honest, more often than not these moments are characterised by someone giving a scripture they feel is 'relevant' for my life; you know it, "Be still and know that I am God". While these moments can be significant and helpful, I still find myself burdened with the weight of life. I can't be still if I'm busy. It's this burden that makes me search a bit deeper.
You see the burden of life runs a lot deeper than simple boundary issues. Sometimes learning to say "no" is not enough to set us free from our burdens that are attached to our commitments, burdens attached to our busyness. For me, it's bigger than this.
Simply put, I believe our generation is working itself thin in order to make up for a Grace we want to 'deserve'. We work tirelessly to 'achieve' God's approving big thumbs up. In society we are constantly sold the message; 'work hard, play hard'. And then in church we are constantly bombarded with 'serve, serve, serve'. However, what we do for ourselves is this; we become consumed by busyness and more often than not, in the process we lose the why.
We get lost in the meaning, what is it all for. It becomes harder to depict if we are still enjoying what we are doing and then before you know it; our faith is works based and well, we forget who it's for. Is this ringing true?
I had a moment recently. A significant and 'life altering' moment. On the off chance that I had a free hour, instead of catching up on the latest Greys Anatomy episode (please hold your laughter...) I chose to go for a drive. I parked up at a nice view and just sat. I watched the clouds as the wind moved them, I watched as the waves rolled in, sitting and watching, in silence. I decided that this would be a good time to have some solitude (Confession, when else do I find time?). I put on a song. The song, beautiful and eloquent, was about rest. I began to get somewhat frustrated, almost 'quizzing' God – Why don't I feel rested? Why don't I really know what this rest is? When will it be my turn to experience this kind of rest? And at this moment of angst, I heard the songs poignant lyric...
"There's rest for my soul... when it remembers that it's free".
BANG. Loud and clear, there is rest – but I need to remember that I am free. The statements below followed as my tender and nurturing God spoke to my heavy soul.
I don't need to feel burdened; God doesn't ask me to live a burdened life.
I don't need to shape my life by doing for God to accept or love me.
And I do not need to be carrying a burden he has not asked me to carry.
Jesus Christ, he doesn't need my busyness.
These truths are accompanied by Jesus' teachings on Rest. He teaches us the importance of rest and more importantly how to. In our increasingly faced paced world, I believe this to be food for my soul. This truth is for all.
What scripture says
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with meâ€"watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep Company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." - Matthew 11 verse 28 (MSG)
I leave you with this challenge. Find rest. Sacrifice something for rest. And more importantly ask God to show you if you are burdened by something he has not asked you to carry. Your God does not ask you to busy yourself in order to make you feel important or worthy of his grace. You see, there is nothing more that you could do that would make the Lord love or nurture you more.
Some musings to close
I found this quote, written in the Sydney Morning Herald by Lee Glickstein.
He writes: "We live in a fast-paced society. Instead of letting timesaving devices, such a microwaves, computers, etc. provide us with more leisure time, we have allowed them to raise our expectations about how much we should be able to accomplish in one hour. So we rush about, trying to have it all and do it all, eating fast food, speed-reading books and communicating via curt voice mails. We operate on high-tech time. The rhythm of the natural world is different–think of the pace at which the ocean waves roll in and out and the time it takes the sun to set or a bud to become a flower. The natural world is never in a hurry. It has its own tempo, and nothing is so urgent that it can't follow its own, gentle, yet deliberate pace."
Take some time out, be radical, go against the status quo; Rest.
God doesn't need your busyness. He wants to see you free.
Chloe Pryor is a young adult living in Auckland New Zealand. Studying a Bachelor of Dance, in her spare time she teaches young children dance, ballet and jazz, whilst volunteering hours in the youth ministry of her local church. Chloe has a passion for God and serving the local church with a defined heart for women.