“Things are sooo busy right now.”
If I had a penny for every time I heard that phrase and for every time that phrase came out of MY mouth over the years, I’d be able to afford every pretty piece from Nordstrom… for life.
Let’s talk about busy for a second. What is…busy? And who in the world ISN’T busy? *crickets*
We’re all busy. But unfortunately, the word, “busy” has become part of the basic vocabulary set that just so happens to be at the tail end of every sidewalk conversation “It’s great to see you! Yeah, things have just been so busy!”
In many ways, we have used the word “busy,” as the universal accepted word for when we need an excuse for not being someone or being somewhere. When people hear it, they nod in understanding as if to say “SAME HERE.”
“Aw, I wish I could! Things are just busy right now!”
“Yeah, I’d love to get together, but I’m really busy.”
“I almost forgot! I’ll do that once it’s not so busy!”
I’m literally cringing inwardly as write this because I know all too well the guilt that rests behind those phrase and those conversations. That feeling of “OH MY GOSH, I *should* be getting together with that person. I *should* be tackling that project. Who knows, maybe guilt isn’t at all attached, and you’re just being honest that things are crazy – but yet it’s part of your everyday vocabulary. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be saying “I’m busy” in every conversation until the day I die, LOL! But also, I’m not trying to imply that busy is a bad word. If anything, I’m trying to uncover the possible reasons as to why we use it so frequently, and what we might imply about what we believe when we use it.
So maybe I’m not trying to change my life (aka – not being busy), but I’m simply asking the Lord to help change my perspective of my life; my view of it all.
Maybe instead of busy, my days are full and focused, and I’m doing exactly what God has called me to do – something I should not apologize for. And when I say “yes” to what He wants, it makes it easy to say “no” to everything else that doesn’t fall in line with my callings. Sure, some seasons are more full than others. And sometimes WAY FULL. But I firmly believe that every season should be focused and lived with intention.
For example, in EVERY season of my life as a follower of Jesus – I am called to these things:
- Love God
- Live out the Gospel
- Make disciples
- Love my family
- Love others.
Specifically in THIS season of my life as a follower of Jesus – I am called to these things:
- Be the best Special Education Teacher I can be for my students, families, community, and school.
- Hustle in my classes and graduate with my Masters Degree, and be the best student I can be.
- Plan, pray, and prepare for our church plant, Oasis Church that we are launching next fall.
I am certain of every point listed above in both lists. If you have been saved by God’s grace and are deciding to follow Him with your whole life, then our first list should look the same. If it doesn’t, then adjustments might need to be made and that could be your first step towards becoming more focused.
I don’t know what your second list looks like. I’m sure it’s very different from mine. (but if it’s the same, please tell me because we totally need each other RN 😉 )
The truth is, those two lists make my days extremely full and extremely focused. They are in separate lists for the sake of a blog post, but they are actually intertwined in every way. In short, I say “no” to many things and people (including many good things and many good people), and over time, I’ve learned to not only be okay with that – but become confident in it. Because this is the race that God has called me to for this season, and I want to run it well — even if I went into the second list kicking and screaming at first (because, infertility). I’m not busy. I’m focused, living in surrender to the life the Lord has given me. I can fight it, or I can embrace it – trusting His ways are better.
So what does this practically look like for me?
- Loving God: Do I serve my church, listen to messages, read my Bible to learn about Him because that’s what I’m supposed to do – or is it because I genuinely want to know God and love Him, and have a deep relationship with Him? Unfortunately, I can be “busy” doing the things of God without actually knowing God. The first is a scary place to be. I want to make sure I am living fully in order to know Him. Maybe I am unable to do a 2 hour Bible Study each day. But maybe I can listen to his Word on the way to work, and posture my heart to receive what He has for me each day and seek Him throughout my day.
- Living out the Gospel: Do I live in such a way that makes other’s think that I am where I am because of myself? Or do I embrace my brokenness and weaknesses, allowing God’s glory to be manifested in my life?
- Making disciples: Who am I leading right now? Who am I spending my precious time with and empowering them to be who God has called them to be while loving them and pointing them to truth as they become more like Christ? In a previous season, that may have been 10 people. Now, it’s about 2. Seasons, seasons, seasons.
- Loving my family: Do I put my husband’s needs above my own? Right now, on a very specific note – this means that when he is town, I drop everything to make sure we have that time together. This means saying no to many things. Because our marriage matters. And when we’re “good,” everything else can be “good” too.
- Loving others: Am I loving the unlovable? Am I going out of my way to desperately seek out those that everyone else has forgotten about? To those who have hurt me, am I keeping thick skin and a tender heart? And am I loving out of a place from being loved by Jesus? It’s hard to love like He does when I’m not in a constant place of receiving love from Him. As soon as those things begin to feel like a chore, it’s an indicator something is off.
- Being the best Special Education Teacher I can be: Do my words bring life to my students and my instructional assistants? Do I lead in such a way that is clear and empowering to others? Do I love them like Jesus does – with dignity and respect, and focus on who they are as individuals, or do I focus through the lens of a disability? Do I spend hours creating the best lesson plans and specific curriculum because I know it’s how they will learn the best? Do I advocate for my students and speak up and fight for what is right? I can be a teacher. Or I can say “yes” to being the best teacher that God has called me to be, because this is where He has me right now, even if it’s not a lifelong calling (who knows, maybe it is). But for right now, this means saying “no” to many, many things, people, and opportunities because my students and my team are worth it, and they deserve my all. No shortcuts.
- Being the best grad student I can be: Out of everything I’ve shared, this is the one I try not to roll my eyes over. I never wanted to go back to school. To be blunt, it makes my life hard when my job is already hard, and I’d rather be rocking the baby I thought we’d have by now instead of writing a paper and completing research. It takes from my time, energy, and resources. And will I ever love school? Probably not. But it does mean that for the time being, I will be the best student I can be and learn all I can, desperately asking the Lord to grace me for this season. Because God is in this, and I don’t want to miss out on what He’s doing right now.
- Preparing for Oasis Church. A recent shift has taken place. We have shifted our efforts, time, and resources towards serving the city of Richmond and starting and sustaining the church that will be launching soon. This includes building a launch team, fundraising, living life in the city, and surrounding ourselves with people who share this same vision and want to partner with us to be a part of what God is doing.
Why in the world am I sharing all of this? Because I want to help paint a picture of the framework in which I make my every day decisions. This is why I’m not busy. This is why my days are full and focused.
What does your “specific” list look like? Maybe you need to write them down or just take a moment of reflection. Here’s a few final things to encourage you along:
- What changes need to be made, if any? Prior to teaching and grad school, a lot of my time was spent with too many people to count. Now, because my days are more full, I’m more selective with who I spend my time with. Does that mean everyone I say “no,” to are bad people? Absolutely not!
- What are you called to that you are giving less than your best? Essentially, what is the grad school in your life (LOL)? Wherever you are, be all there – even if you know it’s not forever. Anyone can ride out a season. Choose to surrender and give 110% to what’s in front of your right now for however long God has called you to it.
- Accept what is not your season. Is there anything that you are contributing a good chunk of your time and resources and energy that are taking away from what you should be giving it to? For me, it’s blogging. I am not called to be a full time blogger right now. Because of this, I will not be pushing out content continuously, spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on photo shoots, advertising, and countless hours of creating and writing and social media. If that’s you – I’ll be the first one to cheer you on! But that’s not me right now, so my days should reflect that.
- Prepare for the unexpected. Life is messy. Choosing to teach last minute and getting hit with infertility rocked my world, that I didn’t even know how to put one foot in front of the other. Live focused, but remember Who guides your steps. Adjustments will definitely need to be made along the way. Let the Holy Spirit lead you in that, and embrace it!
- Remember who you are trying to please. Living days that are full and focused with the callings God has on your life will most definitely offend and will most likely rattle others. That’s okay. Love them graciously, talk about it if necessary, but them move forward knowing that God is with you.
- Bring others along in the journey. We aren’t meant to walk our seasons alone. Community is necessary; and while it may vary from season to season, surround yourself with people in similar seasons as you who believe in you, challenge you, and love you. It’s worth fighting for. Who can you bring along?
- Saying yes always means saying no to something or someone else. Are you trying to say yes to everything? It won’t work out (*I’ve tried*).
- Maybe you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing but you’re so exhausted. Ask God to help you. Is He using this as an indicator to prepare you for a different season that’s coming soon? Is He using this as a way to show you that it can be done a little differently? Do you need Him to give you a new passion in what you’ve been faithful to for a while? Whatever it is, we must choose to believe that He will equip those He has called, and that He is faithful.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” – Colossians 3:23
“He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:37
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Matthew 28:19
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” – Luke 16:10
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthian 13:1-7
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” – Ephesians 2:8