We book ourselves too tight. Ask anyone how they’re doing and they’ll probably say one of two things: “Good, but busy” or just “Busy.” The only thing that keeps our frequent references to the fast pace of our modern lifestyle from being a tired cliché is the undeniable truth these references carry.
As Christians, we have all experienced what it’s like to get so caught up in the fast pace of life that our relationship with God shifts to the backburner.
Is it even possible to maintain a strong relationship with God in the midst of a busy schedule? I think it is. In this post and the next two, I want to share three simple insights that have helped me to think through this issue, which is something that I am constantly wrestling with.
One of the worst side effects of a busy lifestyle is the constant feeling that you’re letting people down. I often try to hide my stress and maintain my schedule without letting my busyness bother anyone else. But it’s only a matter of time until I start letting people down. I’m not spending enough time with my family. I’m not keeping up on my to do list. I’m not answering enough emails or returning enough phone calls. Worst of all, I’m not keeping up on my devotional life. In all of these areas I feel tremendous pressure—and often pain.
The feeling of letting people down is horrible. At one such low moment, my boss and friend (and Eternity’s president) Joshua Walker put everything in perspective for me. His advice has been priceless in helping me through the overwhelming times that have kept coming since our conversation.
Joshua told me to remember that God is the only one who knows everything I have on my plate. The people who aren’t getting an email response from me have no idea how much I have going, so they’re annoyed that I’m procrastinating. But God knows. Not only does He know every item on my schedule and to do list, He also knows what I’m capable of. I don’t even know what I’m capable of, but God does. And He knows all of the effort I’m putting into every area of my life.
My schedule does not belong in a separate sphere of life from my relationship with God. He knows everything that is listed there, and He knows what He intends for me to be and to do today. My schedule may be set up all wrong. God knows how He wants to use me, and if that means that I’ll be falling short on some goals, dropping some balls, and cutting corners on some of my relationships, I need to trust Him to work in that situation and cry out to Him to help me move forward in each of those areas in a way that glorifies Him. (It also probably means that I need to loosen up my schedule in the future, but more on that in part 3.)
Ultimately, God is the only one I need to please. I need to be faithful to everything He places before me, but He is the one who decides if I’m doing well or not. If I get a bad review at work, submit a less than perfect project, or receive a sarcastic comment about me not caring about people, it’s okay. I want to do well in each of those areas (more on that in part 2), but if I can only please one person, it has to be God. I can safely leave the stress behind, work hard and do the best I can, and trust Him to work in and through me in the ways that He knows are best.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)