Last month, I came across something that hit me like a ton of bricks as I was reading my bible. In this particular bible of mine, every few pages has some sort of supplemental quote that ties into what is being read. Well, this quote in particular held a very heavy conviction weight.
“Being busy is not a satisfactory substitute for being holy.” – Jo Ann Leavell
Ouch. Talk about a flood of guilt in your soul.
I’m someone who has always had a packed schedule and a lot going on, especially from the age I was able to begin playing sports competitively. Fall weekdays and Saturdays consisted of weights and volleyball. Winter weekdays consisted of weights and basketball. Spring weekdays consisted of weights and track. Sweet summertime consisted of weights, training for sports, camps, family trips, weekend basketball tournaments with a traveling team, two basketball games a week with the school team, and countless other activities. I was also a dancer and had studio time once a week after practices, as well as choir concerts, Singers contests, academic clubs, and youth group.
Now, my busyness looks a little bit different as an adult. Full time career, dinner, errands, cleaning, laundry, volunteering with high school youth, bible studies with friends and youth, time with friends and family, and marriage (because let’s be real, marriage is hard work).
So, let’s get to the culprit of this whole post and one of the biggest sources of my struggle: my dear, sweet, deceitful friend…the calendar.
We all have one, or two, or ten. On our phones, in a purse, on our watch, in a planner, on the fridge, on a wall, on our desk, on our computer. We plan, we schedule, we overbook. We also have our things that pop up unplanned that can make or break the schedule. And, if you’re anything like me, you get stressed and anxious when you have too much going on – or at least when it appears that way.
I love to be organized. Writing in my planner and on our fridge calendar each month is something I enjoy doing. Then, before I know it, I’ve focused more on what’s in my planner each day and on our calendar than focusing on the most important thing that should actually be on it – personal time with Jesus.
Let’s look at the quote again: “Being busy is not a satisfactory substitute for being holy.” What does that mean? Upon examining my own life after reading the quote, to me it means that being “too busy” for time with Jesus isn’t a real thing. Keeping busy in my daily routine does not measure up to the call as a Christ-follower to put holiness before the things of this world. Many days I convince myself that I just need to relax for a while after work before studying the Word, or lay down for bed when I’m already too tired to take a few minutes to pray.
I can sit here and give excuse after excuse, and you can do the same. But, in reality, I think these are a few of the true reasons why we devote our hearts and minds to our calendars and daily lives in this world more than quiet time with our Savior.
- We are ashamed of our sin and the way we are living. Approaching the God of the universe becomes much more “daunting” when you feel guilty about the way you have been living your life because you know it’s wrong. As human beings, we don’t usually like to know we’re wrong, so we tend to avoid the things and people that point out our faults.
- FOMO – the fear of missing out. We are afraid of missing the “fun times” with our friends. I’m the first to admit that it doesn’t feel great when you have to miss out on plans with friends, but I’m also the first to admit that I’m okay with denying plans, especially when it comes to prioritizing my faith. One of my favorite verses comes from Proverbs 23:17 and it says, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.” In other words, don’t be ashamed of your love for Christ, stand firm for what you believe, and don’t miss your old sin! I promise you, you are not “missing out” on the ways of the world.
- We believe the misconception that when we claim Christ as our Lord that it just stops there, that being a true believer and follower of Jesus doesn’t take extra work. Church on some Sunday mornings, telling people you’ll pray for them, and posting scriptures on social media does not a true Christ-follower make. Pursuing a truly intimate and personal relationship with Jesus takes time, discipline, and a thirst to know him more.
Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 16:24, “…Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” When you know more about Jesus, you begin to truly understand what it means to deny yourself daily to follow him. Selfishness is a human trait and a thing of this world, so to deny yourself means to put aside what you believe to be “priorities” and focus on the real priority of growing a relationship with Jesus. He should come before our spouses and significant others, family, friends, plans, jobs, and so much more.
Believe me when I tell you that this is probably my weakest area of my faith. I truly struggle with making time with Jesus in the Word part of my daily routine. You would think it would be easy for me because I love to read and write, but I allow my selfishness as a human being to convince me that I’m “not in the mood to read” and that I’m too tired for Jesus – and it breaks my heart to even be writing that right now. But, this is something I am working on in my prayer life and my study life.
Friends, we are never too anything for Jesus. He wasn’t too tired, too lost, too ashamed, or too busy to give his own life up for ours so that we could be given the opportunity to be with him when he returns. How absolutely incredible is that?
Making the time each day to spend a little while with Jesus in the quiet can change your life. It may not happen right away, it may be a month or it may be years. But be wise to remember that He makes all things beautiful in His time. God does not follow your desired timeline – He has His own for your life, & it is perfect. He already knows everything about you and yet he still wants to know you personally each day. He gave you the gift of life and breathe in your lungs today, and he is waiting for you to want to know more about him! Jesus loves you and wants nothing more than a true personal relationship with you, all you have to do is pursue him with a sincere heart and a thirst for the Truth. Put down your schedules and open a place in your heart, mind, and time for the only thing that truly matters.
your sister in Christ – kayley jean, a wife redeemed