I don’t like to sit still. I have always been a busy bee, often running from one activity to another. Many people around me are also busy. It is the mantra that many of us have come to live by. According to psychologist Tony Crabbe it is actually a form of laziness. We are addicted to running around and too lazy to make choices. When we say we are busy, we are actually saying to ourselves and others: ‘see how ambitious I am? I have all these appointments and activities, so I must be important’. It is also a good excuse not to do something of importance. Answering emails is easier than starting with a complex new project or getting rid of that bad habit you are struggling with. Crabbe: “being busy is something to be ashamed of.”
What can I do with these insights? Where does God fit into our busy lives? Years back I’ve heard a pastor say: “…it is one of the most effective strategies of the devil to keep us away from God: to keep us busy.” How difficult is it really to take some time during the day to pray, to read in His word, or to just ‘be still and know that I am God’ (Ps. 46:10)? Apparently this is a major issue these days, judging by all the books that have been written on the topic.
About two years ago I was forced to tune it down quite a bit: I got mono and was tied to my bed for about six weeks. After that I could continue my studies, but still I would tire easily. It was very hard at first to be at peace with not being able to do what I had to do (study!) or wanted to do. However, after some weeks, I started to enjoy the oceans of time I had at hand. I could finally read all those books I had been wanting to read. I had time to contemplate. I was able to pray and bring my requests, worries, and joys to God. When I had recovered enough to slowly get back to my regular pattern of life, I felt reluctant to do so!
Today I have only a few activities, compared to years before. Still, I feel terribly busy! Probably it is more like a state of mind than an objective statement that is measurable. I work three days a week, so according to many people I should have lots of spare time, right?! And yet I don’t. This can make me feel guilty at times. And then I tell myself I should not. This is a constant struggle. One thing I know is that I never got my former energy levels back after mono ran its course. Still, I want to be able to keep up with society’s pace (with all its demands and expectations). Rationally I know that we are not valuable to God because of what we do, but because of who we are. Still, I struggle with this. As a teenager I have come to believe in the lie (you are loved for what you do), and it is just terribly hard to believe (and truly feel it) in the truth (you are loved for who you are).
It always helps me calm my mind to go outdoors. Luckily, I live at a 10 minute walk from the forest edge. I have the luxury to be able to go there whenever I am off. I have experienced the calming, healing effects of nature. This is why I’ve started to consider the idea of coaching outside, whilst walking. Today I visited an open day for an education in this field.
“When the body moves, the mind grooves”. I love this saying! Walking and talking. Thinking and reflecting. Seeing and feeling. Loving and living. I am praying that God will show me whether this is the right path for me. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecc. 3:1). We just have to make sure we don’t do too much. That we first turn to God, and find peace in Him. From that place, we can walk out with confidence!