Let’s have a brief chat here, shall we?
You’re tired. I know you’ve done your make-up so those shadows under your eyes are camouflaged, but when I look deep into your eyes, I see the weariness. There was a moment, when the conversation swirled around someone else and you sorted of drifted off to another place. Not asleep, though that’s happened at times, too. A glaze separated us and you, just briefly.
I want us to be real enough friends that it’s okay to admit you’re tired. Like a group of girls I used to meet with every other week, let’s let it be okay to show up in sweats or even our pjs. We’re all pretty worn at times; let’s stop trying to hide it.
I spent some time with a mom of two young children recently and she was exhausted, but young ones need looking after, her lack of rest is not by choice.
But sometimes it is by choice, like my busy schedule this week. There are valid things that need or ought to be done, but I waste a little time on Facebook or play a couple more rounds of Temple Run 2. Or I might suddenly decide that the junk mail really needs to be sorted out, right now, and then I’m late to an appointment. I manage to reach one deadline successfully, only to realize that two more fell through the cracks.
Why do we run ourselves ragged? Why, when we are already stretched thin, do we spend valuable time on worthless activities, that neither help us cross off another item on the to-do list nor give us a moment of rest?
I’m not sure I know the answer to this one. If you have a theory, feel free to share it in the comments.
What I suggest we think about in this moment is not why we add things to our daily tasks, but what are we filling our days with. When you look at all the things you have to do and all the things that distract you, what do they center around?
Are they things that will make you look good in front of your colleagues, friends, or family?
Do you do them so you will be seen as successful or to get rewarded at the office?
Do you keep doing the same activities because it’s what you’ve always done?
Are they things you enjoy doing?
Does a never-ending to-do list make you feel like you are in control?
Are you worried what might happen if you didn’t have every minute of every day scheduled?
I just started reading Timothy Keller’s book, Counterfeit Gods, where he explores, as the subtitle says, the empty promises of money, sex, and power, and the only Hope that matters. He talks about idols in the book, which many would think refers to statues or replicas of something to bow down to and worship, but Keller refers to an idol as, “something that we look to for things that only God can give.”
I flipped ahead a little and found where Keller offers four ways to determine what our idols might be. He suggests considering what you spend your mind on what your mind go to when you find yourself alone, what themes repeat in your daydreams. Another way is to browse through your checkbook and see how/where you spend your money. Spending patterns will reveal our idols. A third test is to look at when you have unanswered prayers, frustrated dreams or unrealized hopes. When you don’t get something you really wanted and you lose it emotionally, whether by anger or despair, that points toward your functional savior. Yet another way is to review where you lose control of your emotions. Look at the moments when you experience strong anger, fear, despair or guilt.
So what do we do when we look at the busyness in our lives and realize it’s because we are functioning as if these things were our gods? Confess these things and try harder next time? Yes, and no. Repenting of putting money, sex or power before God and continuing to grow in grace are necessary but only part of the equation. We must learn to view Jesus as more beautiful, more worth striving for than these empty idols that will never satisfy. We must replace these counterfeit gods with the one True God.
Do this, and you can bet you will feel restful, even with a busy schedule.
Can you believe it’s Day 10 of the 31 Days already!?! Click the button to find links to every post in the series.
And I don’t say it often enough, but thank you for reading my posts day in and day out. I know a few of you are faithful readers, some who don’t comment often, but you’re still here and it means so much to know that you are. So thank you.