Slowing Down

At the tail-end of graduating from college and now entering a place of rest (thank God), I was struck by a devo I read the other day entitled, "How Is My Walk?" I read from the words of Melody Mead, just coming out of an intensely "busy" season of my life:

"I often try to picture Jesus on His way, talking, touching, teaching, and never hurried. His life would draw me in, calm me down, focus me, and set me on course. As I go my way and walk my journey, does my life do this for others? Or do they look at me and not want my life because it is too full, too fast, and too self-absorbed? Am I making the most of opportunities on which my journey takes me? Do others want to walk with me as I walk with Jesus?"

Immediately, I was convicted. I was filled with stinging regret. I looked back at this last semester of college and realized how "busy" I was. I recalled how many excuses I had made because I was "too busy." I had refused so many opportunities to just spend time with people because my head was always spinning with the next thing I had to do. Truly, my life was indeed "too full, too fast, and too self-absorbed." I knew why others could not walk with me -- I was walking too fast, not slowing down enough to walk at Jesus' pace.

I couldn't go to college Bible study events because of my sorority events. I couldn't go to sorority events because I had something with my church. I couldn't go to a chuch event because of work. I got shifts covered at work because of something with school. And school itself became less of a priority because of all the above.

In all of the darting around from one engagement to the next, the faces of precious people around me would become blurred, less focused. I am grateful for the sweet friendships I was able to cultivate and nurture, but I cannot help but think of the others I could have spent time with but was unable to because I had spread myself too thin. I found myself asking why I was involved in all of these things in the first place. Usually when you find yourself in that place, something is definitely wrong.

I used to envy those people who did 50-something things and looked so accomplished, so together. But I have learned something about busy-ness. For one thing, the more spread out you are with different commitments and such, the less you are able to give to those things. It only makes sense. For another thing, your identity is found in the things you do rather than the person you are: a child of God. You begin to place your sense of self-worth in the works you are able to accomplish.

But at the end of the day, you just end up really tired.

I am so thankful that God has given me the opportunity now to just rest. How good it has been. At first, I was miserable at the thought of not going to grad school or getting an internship or career-launching job. But the deeper God takes me into His rest, the more I realize that my value is found in Him and Him alone, that I need not do anything at all to be loved by Him, and that we are not meant for here. We seek a greater city, a greater existence, yet to come (Hebrews 13:14).

I urge you, brother or sister in Christ, please, do not make the same mistake I did. Don't miss out on opportunities to be God's love to people because you have found yourself caught in busyness. Slow down. Stop if you have to -- don't come to the point where God has to do it for you. Ask yourself, is the work I am doing fueled by a desire to serve God and His people, or is it just work? Am I giving God the glory through my pursuits, or pursuing things that will give myself glory?

If you are in the same place I am in and wish you could go back to redeem lost opportunities, I urge you as well to stop. The past is gone. But you have today. Forget the things behind you and pursue all that God has ahead (Philippians 2:13). Even today, now, in this very moment, lift your gaze upward where it belongs and ask God what He wants you to do in the now -- even if it is to simply rest.

Do not place your value on the things that you do. If you are called to only one job or commitment, be thankful, for you can give 100% to that one thing and do it well. If you are called to many things, make rest in God your priority, ask Him to give you wisdom on spending your time wisely and being interruptible for people.

Remember: God does not want us to do things for Him. He wants us to simply be in Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment