Saturday, November 21, 2015

Don't Miss the Better Thing

Psalm 39:6-7, "We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you."

"How are you?"


Has this ever been your answer to the question, "How are you?" This has been my answer in the recent months. Between work and planning a wedding, I've certainly felt like "busy" is the word that describes me the most these days.

It's good not be lazy, but today I'd like to run a thought by you: Is being busy any better than being lazy?

They're both extreme.

On one side of this equation, you're wasting the life God's given you to live by not doing anything with it. However, on the other side of this equation, you're running here, there, and everywhere and convincing yourself you're living while you're really just watching life pass you by.

So, what are we to do?

Today, I'm going to share where I've been finding myself in this "busy" season of my life.

I recently started a new job where I've been working 8:30-5:30 Monday through Friday. If I have to work on Saturdays, I have Monday off, and on Sundays, we're closed. You seriously cannot beat those hours!

About two months after I got this job, I got engaged to the most incredible man I've ever known!

Just between these two life events, you can see how "busy" could be a word that fits the description of my life in this season.

My schedule lately has looked like this:

6:30 wake up
Time with God
7:30 Get cleaned up and ready for work
8:30 Go to work
12:30 Lunch
1:30 Back to work
5:30 Off
Evening: Time with Nathan, time with our families, date nights, and wedding planning
Bedtime: Who sleeps?

For the last three years I've been trying to fit a mold that I thought I needed to fit into. In my mind, I felt I wasn't doing enough since I didn't have a man and I wasn't working full time. I remember in that season feeling as if something were missing, and I wasn't measuring up to this idea I had in my mind about where I should be. So, I prayed for God to change all that. I looked for full time work but found none, and I remained in a part time position for years, all the while thinking I should be doing something more.

Then, last December, I was offered full time hours for that month at Big 5. I got a taste of what it'd be like to get what I thought I wanted all that time.

However, what I found last year in that season wasn't a full life. I was busy, but I missed so many things that I looked back on with regret. I had to work Christmas Eve, and my family actually celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve, so by the time I was off work, Christmas was over. I wrote a devotional about it actually (When God Gives You What You Think You Want) and shared that the life I thought that I wanted took away from the life that I love.

You'd think I'd have learned my lesson, but it's nearly December again, and as you can see my life has been quite "busy" lately.

God's been doing incredible things in my life, and I don't want to downplay that. He's blessed me with an absolutely amazing, godly man who I'm proud to say will be my husband in less than two months. He's provided a full time job for me with hours that you just can't beat. I've seen His hand move in my life this year in ways I never knew possible. And yet, in this season where you'd look at me and think, "She has it all." what I'm finding is that I'm missing it all by me being so wrapped up in the middle of it.

I got everything I thought I wanted, but I gave up some things that are truly important and precious in the process. Sadly, I'm the one who chose to give up those things. Nobody asked me to.

I gave up a ministry that I've been passionate about since I was twelve. I gave up friends, good friends, that before I started labeling myself as "busy" I would've given anything to have. I gave up family that has invested in me all my life and knows and loves me warts and all. And I've had to watch myself and be careful with the wedding planning because if I'm not, I give up precious moments with my dear fiancé fretting over wedding details or marriage details that seem to be so urgent when in all actuality don't matter much at the end of the day.

And today, just days before Thanksgiving and a little over a month before Christmas, I'm alarmed by the fact that if I continue on the path I've been on, I'll be reliving the same devotional I shared last year.

The mold of the person I always thought I needed to be turns out being the exact person I never wanted to be.

I never wanted to be the person who was "too busy" for family, "too busy" to help, "too busy" to serve, too "busy" to love... and yet that's exactly who I've chosen to be.

As God's been opening my eyes to the truth of this, I've began seeking His will as to what it is He wants me to do and what changes He'd like me to make. This morning, I read some devotionals and read about two very different women in the Bible. I read about Martha, and I read about the Proverbs 31 woman.

Both of these women were "busy", but one was busy in a good way and one was missing life due to her busyness.

What I noticed about the Proverbs 31 woman was her outreach and the impact she had on the people around her. She helped the poor, took care of her family, spoke wisely, and is someone people looked up to. Yes, she was busy, but it was more than being busy. It was being fruitful. Her life bore good, lasting fruit. She's a woman I'd like to model.

Then, we take a look at another busy lady. She was trying to keep up with the house chores which I find to be an admirable thing, but the problem was that when Jesus came around, Martha was so wrapped up in her busyness that she missed what was better... sitting at Jesus' feet. When Martha went to Jesus all upset that Mary wasn't helping around the house, Jesus said to her in Luke 10:42, "Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." NIV 

So, my question can be summed up with this one short sentence: Am I allowing my busyness to cause me to miss what is better?

Today if I take a good, honest look at my life, who do I most model? The Proverbs 31 woman or Martha? 

For many weeks, my life has resembled Martha. I've been doing a lot of busy rushing that ends in nothing. I've allowed my busyness to cause me to miss what is better. I've been wrapped up and out of balance.

So, after having my crazy schedule laid upon my heart as being out of balance and me considering what is better and praying about the situation, I chose to make some changes to my schedule.

I quit my job.

"Hold on, Taylor! Are you saying we need to all quit our jobs in order to pursue what is better?"

 No!!! Again... NO!!!

In this season of my life with getting married in just eight weeks and getting ready to move an hour away where I was quitting my job soon anyway, I chose to quit my job earlier than I was planning to in order to spend some time with my family for the holidays and before getting married and moving. So, for this season, that decision panned out. However, that wouldn't be a wise decision in many cases, so quitting jobs is not what I'm promoting here. What I am saying is that in a world that prides itself on rising up the corporate ladder and making a name for ourselves, perhaps we are getting out of balance and missing what's most important. Last year, I worked a lot more hours during Christmas time. I gave much more extravagant gifts than I had the years before. But, my family didn't have me last Christmas. They had stuff I gave to them, but they didn't have me.

I don't want to relive that.

I'm not going to relive that.

Our culture is busy all year long, but especially around November/December time. But at the end of it, is the busyness of your life producing good, lasting fruit, or is it causing you to miss the better thing?

In my case, I was missing the better thing. Whether you're struggling with the whole balance of this or you're doing fairly well with it, I encourage you with this: Don't be too busy for God's plan. Don't miss sitting at Jesus' feet, and don't miss the better thing.

Dear Heavenly Father,

It's a tough balance sometimes to know when we're being lazy and when we're being un-fruitfully busy. Please help me find the balance between the two and be a hard worker while still not missing the better thing. I pray that this holiday season will not be missed in all our rushing but that it will be a season that brings honor to You.

In Jesus' Name.