Busy, busy, busy.
That’s what my life feels like right now.
“Well, what’s new?” you say. “I’m just as busy as the next person.”
True. But here’s the question, what are you busy for? What are the things filling your schedule? And why have they been filling your schedule?
Oh, you know, you might say. Good things; work, school, meeting with people, that club/association I’m a part of. Church, leading, my family. The list is endless.
But what happens when things start falling away? Work becomes your least favorite place on earth, church becomes a chore. Meeting with people becomes a tiresome burden. You start becoming restless. I want more.
These past three weeks I’ve seen myself slowly turn down that road. I progressively started to lose focus. Skipping classes became an option because I was so overwhelmed with activities filling my schedule. Sleep became a luxury. I barely had enough time to eat or breathe because I was busy trying to save every minute of the day doing something. I was being “productive.”
Understandably, this is probably the peak time for most college students. (Hence, spring break.) While our timetables are filled with necessary and good things, workload begins to pile on us. We become physically, spiritually and mentally weary, although we often do not see it.
Talking to a friend a few nights ago made me aware of this. She made a statement that was true: oftentimes when we get busy the first thing out the door is our time with God. Everything else falls away shortly after.
As I reflect back I realize how true that statement is. When I stopped giving God a part of my day, everything else begins to weigh me down. That didn’t mean that I wasn’t praying to Him constantly throughout my day, it meant that I wasn’t setting aside time to be with my King. The Lord was still faithful and gave me the strength to keep on going through the day, but my battery was running low on power. I was beginning to run on reserve.
I believe that this is so crucial in our lives. So often we don’t realize how tired we are or how far we are from being rested until we bend and break. We fail to keep ourselves in check that by the time we actually do realize it, we find ourselves pretty long down the pit. So before we find ourselves in that state, how about doing some reality check right now?
Here are some things that have helped me to keep me in check with where I’m at:
- Mentally examine your life.
- Take 10 minutes of your day – be it at the bus stop, waiting for a friend, or at a traffic light – to reflect your past few days, or so. Where is your heart at right now? Are you constantly on a chase for time? Or are you approaching each task calmly?
- When you do a quick run through of your day, how does it feel like? Do you feel overwhelmed or are there parts of your day where you know you’ll be able to rest? A good sign that your plate is full is when you feel like drowning just looking through your schedule. It may not be as drastic, but a good evaluation might help you see where you’re at.
- To realign: Talk to your Creator, your Counselor. Bring what’s inward, outward. Shift your thoughts and focus from the objects that have consumed your heart and instead fix your eyes on the maker of your soul.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)
- To surrender: Lift your heart to Him. Tell Him what’s on your plate. Offer it up as a sacrifice to Him. Even if your day seems light, surrendering and giving Him your day is a good habit to build. Don Moen sings this song “I Offer My Life.” This is a good prayer for us to have, even when things are going well:
All that I am, all that I have
I lay them down before you, oh Lord
All my regrets, all my acclaims
The joy and the pain, I’m making them yours
Lord, I offer my life to you
Everything I’ve been through
Use it for your glory
Lord I offer my days to you
Lifting my praise to you
As a pleasing sacrifice
Lord I offer you my life
- To renew: Perhaps you’re like me and you do feel burdened with the amount of things you have to do. Stop. Relax. Close your eyes and look toward heaven. Your prayer can be as simple as, “God, help me.” Being in the posture of worship allows to see that we are weak and He is strong. After all, He is God.
3. Talk to a friend
- To evaluate: It may be a small group you’re a part of, or a roommate or an older mentor. It may even be all three at the same time, but talking to someone else who is outside of the situation helps. Share your thoughts on the matter. Ask them to help you to see where your life looks like right now.
- To confess: Talking to someone else not only helps to relieve your burden, but it is part of a reflection process. You might not notice little details but talking it out might help you be aware of them. Perhaps the issue is that you’ve been avoiding someone or something but in the midst of the busyness it was buried. This might be a time bring that to light.
- To encourage: Have them walk with you through it. You may have a tough week ahead. Ask them to walk with you through it, perhaps send a daily reminder to be in God’s word or an encouraging text to let you know that they’re praying for you.
4. Look at your schedule
- To shift: Are there things that need to be shifted around? Perhaps you need more time to study for that exam this week or perhaps you feel the Holy Spirit saying that you should spend more time with someone you’re ministering too. What needs to go in order for you to make time for that? (eg: TV, Facebook)
- To subtract: Maybe instead of adding to things, what you need in your life right now is to subtract. What things do you need to take away to make room for rest? The more time we spend adding, the less time we have on other things. This leads to us being able to give our best to each individual item on our plate. Perhaps what you need to do is lessen the items to be able to give fully to each one of them.
- To plan: Write it out. Pray and talk to God about it. Reflect on it, ask Him what He thinks of your schedule. The Lord will grant you the wisdom to see and know what’s best for you.
These are some things that could help us keep in check of where we are at. I myself have failed multiple times in doing this but by God’s grace He often provides help along the way to remind me.
These suggestions are also that – suggestions. Perhaps you have other ways you use to prevent yourself from falling out. I would love to hear your thoughts on it. What are some things that have helped to keep you in check?