October 17, 2011
Full Busy vs. Empty Busy
"We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies." 2 Thessalonians 3:11 (NIV)
I love empty calories. I confess. Chocolate brownies are my favorite.
Although I try to tell myself the eggs inside make them healthy, the truth is there is little in that fudgy goodness that brings value to my body. Besides the moment of pleasure in my mouth, brownies only fill my need for calories but offer little nutrition.
Being busy can have the same effect. We can fill our days with busy-work, then flop on the couch after dinner, exhausted and empty. And yet we look around our homes and wonder why a week's worth of mail is stacked on the desk, dirty clothes drape over the hamper and the kitchen floor is a sticky slip and slide...but we were so busy!
Much like the woman who spends $100 at the grocery store and has nothing for dinner, if we aren't wise about our busyness, we will find ourselves frustrated at how little gets done. Like the brownies and their empty calories, there is activity that keeps us "busy," but produces little benefit.
One area of temptation to empty busyness is my computer. The nature of my work requires that I spend a lot of my workday at the computer. If I sit down without a plan, two hours can pass and nothing is accomplished - except for watching videos of really cute puppies. However, when I've taken the time to set goals for my day, it's easier to stay focused.
The same is true for my housework. When I take a few minutes to identify my priorities for that day, the tasks that need to be accomplished usually get done. Otherwise, it's 7 p.m. and I'm wondering what's for dinner.
Today's key verse caught my attention recently. I realized we're no different from those early believers addressed in it. Only our idleness looks different—it looks like busyness. In fact, we often convince ourselves that it was necessary to get caught up on the news, visit a friend's blog or research next year's vacation. Important? Yes. A priority for today? Maybe not.
There is a time for brownies, getting caught up with friends and online research. There is a time for rest. After all, God ordained the Sabbath. There is a time for play. Even Jesus enjoyed a wedding reception with His friends. The key for productive busyness is to know what time it is.
Instead of trying to figure it out ourselves, a wise woman seeks God's direction for her work and rest. What has helped me avoid empty busyness is taking the time to pray about God's will for me each day. My quiet time always includes a to-do list. In addition to spending time just enjoying the Lord's presence, I also seek His guidance for my day.
I sit at my kitchen table, cup of coffee in one hand and pen in the other, and ask God to show me His priorities. He is always faithful to help me create a list of what needs to be done that day—not the next day or next week, but that day.
My challenge is to be a good steward of my time—both at work, play and rest. I've spent too much time on empty pursuits. Busy isn't always bad, only when it's empty. And brownies aren't bad either, at the right time.
Dear Lord, You are the Creator of time, and so often I neglect to seek Your will for my days. You have called me to a place of stewardship with my time and I need Your help. Please show me when and how to be productively busy—and when to set it all aside and rest or play. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer
The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized by Karen Ehman
Identify one small project you've been putting off tackling. Commit this week to completing that project.
What are some of my biggest time stealers?
What one thing can I do differently to make the most of the time I have?
Ecclesiastes 3:1, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:" (NIV)
Proverbs 20:4, "Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing." (NIV)
© 2011 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105