Busy is not a badge of honour. In fact, it has become a very real and dangerous cultural phenomenon that is setting up our little people to learn that without a busy life, we have not ‘arrived’. Rather the very opposite is true, busyness often robs us of meaning and fulfilment; we begin to lose sight of that which we truly value.
I don’t know about you, but when the schedule is full and the stress levels are up, I find it more challenging to be productive. My mind is drawn in numerous directions at a time, I find it hard to focus, I even begin to ‘tune out’ and lose connection with those around me; I find it hard to be present in the moment, to listen, to be still. Over recent years, I have learnt that it is at these times that I need to be more intentional with my time, and even more importantly, with my ‘free time’. I need to plan for stillness and silence.
When I read in the scriptures what life would have been like for Jesus; surrounded by others, in conversation frequently, managing crowds of ‘needy’ people, I can only imagine what his diary could have looked like if he let the ‘busy’ take over. I am sure that he too could have frequently reached 4pm and realised that he didn’t stop to eat that day. But he didn’t. Rather, we know that Jesus made time for rest; he withdrew, took time for the simple things, made time for others, and spent time connecting with God in prayer and devotion. (Luke 5:15-16)
In a recent analysis of the wellbeing issues that our students are frequently presenting with in school, Stress and Anxiety are at the top of the list. Many of our young people are struggling to cope with the pressures of life and are no doubt over-filling their schedules in the pursuit of ‘the busy life’. With school tasks, sports clubs, part-time work, social commitments and social media, our young people need to be taught (as do we) to make time for rest. Time to play. Time to be still. Time to pray. I know, through lived experience with my own 7-year-old, that when my child has forced ‘boredom’ time; without a screen to watch or something ‘to do’, she begins to find her true self; her creativity opens up, she plays without prompting and she is able to find joy in the simple things.
I have come to realise that when I intentionally make time for God, time to play and time for me, I become empowered to be my ‘best self’. I feel creative, engaged, connected and stress-free. So let me encourage you to try a little something in the coming weeks…
So what is your schedule looking like next week?
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)