When Life is Too Busy for God
Dena Johnson MartinDena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
- 2017 Jun 01
If I could sum up this season of my life in one word, I would probably choose busy.
Right now, I have three teenagers. They all have activities, are all headed in different directions. My oldest is entering his senior year of high school, a year that I have been told is incredibly busy. I have an amazing fiancé, and I love to spend time with him. But, it’s one more thing requiring proper time and attention to nurture the relationship. He also has two children of his own, including his special needs daughter who lives with him full-time. She demands a lot of time and attention of her own. There are other significant battles he is fighting, battles that I long to fight with him, to support him through.
Then, there’s my work commitments. I just took a new position within my company, a position that’s a blessing but it comes with an increased level of responsibility and stress (especially as I learn this new role). I find my mind returning to the challenges and questions throughout my day, even when I should be present with my family.
And, I have my blog, my writing and speaking ministry. You all are so precious to me, such an important part of my life. I am passionate about writing, about sharing the love of my Father. I long to shout His goodness and grace and faithfulness from the mountaintops. But, my writing also requires time and energy, something I seem to be very short of right now.
I look at all of the things and people clamoring for my attention, and it’s no wonder I sometimes feel as if I am slipping away, as if I am farther from my Heavenly Father than I have been in a long time.
I feel as if I am simply too busy for God.
Don’t get me wrong. I recognize this as sin, and I long to have God as the center of my life. He is the One who gives me strength to get through each day. He is my guide to teach me how to walk. He is the One who rescued me from the pit of despair and helped me find beauty through my brokenness.
But I find my mind going a million miles all the time, and I struggle to settle down and hear His voice. The cares of this world seem to be choking out His presence, and I am fighting to regain the peace that comes from an intimate walk with Him.
I would love to be able to walk away from all the pressures and chaos clamoring for my attention. I would love to sit in solitude, soaking in the love of the Father, waiting for His precious words to speak to my soul. I would love to escape the pressures of this life for the quietness of time with my Father.
But I can’t.
Every precious thing draining my time and energy is actually a gift from God. My children. My fiancé. My job. My blog. I see His hand providing each of these things to me. And yet, they are the very things robbing me of time with Him.
So what do I do? How do I enjoy the gifts God has given me without neglecting my Father? How do I find the quietness of time with Him in the midst of the chaos? How do I make Him the center of my life when I barely find time to breathe?
Give Him the morning. I have discovered that if I don’t start my day with God, I will push Him aside. I almost never come back to the Word during my crazy, hectic days if I don’t start my days with the Word.
Each day, I awake and open my Bible to my reading plan. I have started getting up even earlier than normal, hoping I can connect with God before I exercise and get out the door to work.
Sometimes, I hear God loud and clear. Sometimes, I’m too tired to even comprehend what I am reading. It’s the complete truth. I wish I could tell you that my quiet times with God are always exciting, always full of the sweet whispers of my Savior. I would be lying if I told you that. But, I make it a point to give God my mornings, to quiet my soul before Him each day.
Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3
Focus. I am learning so much about focus right now. My mind is scrambling, rushing from work responsibilities to my children and their needs to Roy and his burdens to planning a wedding and getting our home prepared for three more people. When I pray, my mind wanders to the many things clamoring for my attention. I find myself thinking about work, trying to solve the problems presented to me, even when I’m off for the weekend or a holiday.
And as soon as I realize my mind is wandering, I am trying to bring it back into focus. To talk to God, tell Him I want Him to be the center of my life. I ask Him to help me focus, to bring my mind into alignment with the things of God. I try to put work aside and focus on the things of utmost importance, to create boundaries in my mind that keep work in its proper place.
It’s tough, and I fail daily. But I am trying, trying to focus my time and attention on things that bring glory to God.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
Stay in constant communication. Throughout the day, I keep in contact with Roy through texting. We may talk in the morning and in the evening, but we text all day, every day.
That’s kind of how I see my relationship with God. I wake up in the morning and talk to Him. I talk to Him as I go to sleep at night. But throughout the day? I don’t have time to stop and spend 30 minutes in prayer, but I can certainly breathe a short word to Him here and there.
“Lord, I need wisdom.”
“Lord, I’m hurting.”
“Help me. I’m confused.”
“Take care of my children today.”
Short, simple prayers breathed throughout the day, lifted to the Father, allowing me to remain in constant communication with Him. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
Never stop praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Slow down. Perhaps the hardest by far is to find moments of solitude, to slow down and put aside all of my responsibilities.
I love going for long walks in the morning, soaking in the morning air and enjoying the sun as it rises in the East. I love the quiet, the solitude, the time to simply be alone with my thoughts and with my Father. My morning walks are the best time to pray, to tell Him everything on my mind and to listen to His voice. It’s a time to quiet my soul, to put aside the cares of this world.
Even Jesus escaped the cares of the world to enjoy quiet and solitude. Maybe it’s time to tell the kids you are escaping, you just need some time alone. Maybe you need to step away from the work that will still be waiting for you when you return. Maybe you need an afternoon of pampering, some time just for yourself. Maybe you just need to slow down.
Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46:10a
Lord Jesus, this world is so hard. We have so many responsibilities clamoring for our attention, and it’s so easy to allow this world to choke out your presence in our lives. Help us, Lord. Help us to give you our hearts, our best. Help us to stay in contact with you throughout our days. Help us to slow down and focus our hearts, our minds, on You, on Your word, on Your character. Honor our hearts that long to know you and walk in obedience. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.