Well friends, I am just about done with my first semester of grad school! I survived! (Though the online group project just about killed me…)
I have my last assignment due next Tuesday and then I get a three-week break until summer courses start! Those three weeks are going to be so amazing, I am already feeling less stressed now that most of my assignments are done!
I have to say, this is the busiest I have ever been in my life – I keep thinking at some point in my life the level of busy-ness will taper out, but so far that has not been my experience. When I was in college, I thought I was busy – and I couldn’t wait to graduate so I could be less busy.
While post-college life had less assignments and homework (until now), it did not prove to be less busy. Once I started teaching, I had never felt so busy or worked as hard! My first year teaching 2nd grade, I would spend hours and hours at home grading papers, I was tired all the time, I could never keep up!
Fast forward a few years to having a baby – I didn’t work during the first year of Calvin’s life, but I can assure you I felt like this would surely be the busiest and tiredest I would ever feel! Well… I was wrong yet again.
Here I am, working full-time, taking 6 graduate hours, and balancing life with a husband and almost-two year old… and despite being wrong in the past, I have convinced myself that surely THIS will be the busiest I will ever be in my life!
Is anyone else’s life panning out this way? Do you find yourself just waiting and looking forward to the times when you aren’t busy? Do you ever wish the next few weeks or months were already over? Do you try to catch your breath in the few unplanned hours or minutes of each week before plowing full steam ahead into the next one?
We recently had a reunion with our Re-Engage group- we hosted dinner at our house. (See my previous post about our Re-Engage experience.) We decided to go around and have every couple share how things were going in their marriage, post-Re-Engage. Almost every single person talked about how busy things were, and for some of us, we really noticed a negative effect on our marriages. I know for me, being so busy with school and work, I have certainly felt like I can’t find the time to do the things that were so strengthening to our marriage – things that we did while participating in Re-Engage. It’s hard to sincerely devote yourself to very many things, and as typically happens, sometimes we forsake important things (marriage, family, health) for urgent things (work, deadlines, homework.)
At that dinner we also discussed the concept of Sabbath – we discussed how hard it is these days to even take a few hours off to relax, and devoting an entire day to rest seemed practically impossible! It really got me thinking thought about why God required his people to take a Sabbath. I think sometimes we convince ourselves that the concept of a Sabbath is old and outdated, and that back then people didn’t have so many demands on their time like we do … but I think that is a myth. I think it’s a cop-out to not feel guilty for our busy-ness and to justify it by saying that’s just how our culture is.
I think God knows that being too busy hurts us – it hurts our relationships, our marriages, our families, our health even! Stress from being too busy can sometimes consume us – it makes us less patient, less Christ-like. We focus on the urgent and forget to take care of what’s most important – we get distracted. When I feel overwhelmed with busy-ness, I definitely don’t take care of myself the way I should – I don’t meditate, I don’t exercise, I don’t take time to pray or be with God.
I recognize all this, yet I feel so conflicted about how I could be less busy. I don’t want to give up my hobbies or time with friends – I don’t want to stop working or quit on grad school – I don’t want to give up being involved at my church when I feel called to do so. So what can I do to be less busy? What is God calling me to give up in my life so I can nurture the things in my life that are really important?
Today after work, I decided to try to find a few verses in the bible about busy-ness and here’s a few that stuck out to me:
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 13:22 (Jesus explaining the parable of the Sower) – The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
I also found a great article online titled, “Busyness Is Not a Spiritual Gift.” It is a great read and really articulated some of the things I had been thinking about nicely.
I think the next steps for me will be to really sort out my priorities and decide what is most important – then take a good look at my actions to see if they align with those priorities. As the article mentions, God might want me to get rid of some of the things that I really love, and even some things that are good, which is why this is so hard. But I think it comes down to having faith that God knows what is best, and that seeking Him first really will let the other things in my life fall into place.
There’s so much more I could say about this, but I will leave it at that for now. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this if you want to share.