“Girl, I am so busy! I’m about to lose my mind!”
We make a joke, make light of the situation, while in reality we just went into the bathroom and cried. Have you noticed yet that we’ve become a society who wears busyness like a badge of honor? It’s as if the fuller our plate here on earth, the greater our reward one day will be. But to me that represents a merit based system the world has created rather than the grace we’ve been gifted. We end up building who we are on what we do, and I don’t think it’s supposed to be that way.
A man who goes to his job sun-up til sundown, 6-7 days a week is a “good provider.” To be a good mother we are convinced we must reach a certain plateau. Our children must be pristinely groomed in the latest fashion, ready for a photo op at a moment’s notice. You need the right brands, the right house, and the right vehicle. Success is equated with the size of your pocket book, and your Christianity is based on Sunday attendance or how many ways you donate. And while I’ll be the first to admit those things do have their importance, we’ve convoluted our thinking to assume they’re the most important.
Young moms are bringing their babies to Sunday service not because they crave the presence of Jesus and His worshipping church, but rather because it’s expected. They dress their tots in matching, monogrammed outfits not for their own pleasure, but rather to appear like their life is as presentable as their children’s wardrobes. We lose sight of the ragged appearance of the Gospel, like our piety holds precedence over the bloody scene on Calvary. Not to say we don’t need reverence, but when you place it above the cross you’ve elevated man before His Savior.
We become what we do. It’s all a show. There’s a parade of what a perfect life should be, and everyone is in line to put on their costume for the day. Every day becomes the same, a repetition of being who we think we need to be, not who we were meant to be. In other words, we’re allowing the world to direct our steps, and we’re pushing the will of God into the closet with the gift bags and tissue paper we hold on to for a rainy day. Do you really think the Lord is grading our performance?
God wants our love, and the world wants our distraction. If we get lost in becoming what we see on Instagram, we’ll miss who Jesus wants us to become. If we’re placing our importance on how many plates we can spin, we’ll forget who to cry out to when they fall. When our perfect world comes crashing down, we’ll be lost on how to pick up the pieces.
We worry, oh Lord, do we worry. We worry where our sustenance will come from. We place our trust in horses and chariots to win our wars, for its our savings account that saves us. It’s our insurance that ensures we’re taken care of. It’s our devotion to our clean homes, cleanly swept walkway, and community reputation that gives us our purpose. We shine our windows so the world can see the outward beauty we project, but the chimneys, those hidden, dark places are filthy with soot. Our hearts are corrupted, but our front yard is maintained. We can check the boxes of soccer mom and baseball dad, but meanwhile we’re sleeping in separate beds. We can throw the perfect holiday party, but our soul feels as dirty as the kitchen sink the day after. But at least our Christmas card looks professional.
We feed our satisfaction with shopping sprees and our worried mind with a bottle of wine, yet our souls are in torment; they are hungry. We’ve become a very anxious lot, and the craziest part is we assume that’s just how it’s supposed to be.
John 14:27 (NIV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
We’ve become a very anxious people, and the enemy will tell us that is to be celebrated, as if the fuller your plate, the fuller your cup, but the problem really becomes what that cup is overflowing. Is it Jesus? No! It’s bitterness, anger, and discontent. It’s worry, depression, and a sense of unfulfillment. We think the fastest rabbit wins the race, and that’s why you see people on their deathbed, at the finish line, weeping in regret. The fastest runner doesn’t win, but the one who can enjoy and learn from the journey. Who even remembers how to stop and smell the roses?
We make funny memes about how the Holiday Season has us freaking out, and we laugh and laugh. Meanwhile our hearts are hurting. We end up on the other side of January wondering where the joy went, why it can’t be like it was when we were a child.
Have you ever wondered why those MLM companies are so successful? It’s not just whatever product they’re pushing. It’s the dream they’re selling. A dream to not have to run so fast. A dream that you can slow down, off-load your daily to-do’s, and enjoy not having to worry about money! Money… that root of all evil, yet it’s only evil because of the focus we allow it. I’m guilty. We all just miss the fact that peace is here for the taking, but we have to lay down the things that don’t matter. What we’ve really become is a culture that places our importance on everything but the Kingdom of God right here, right now in our lives. Yes, Jesus come quick, I agree, but we forget that He is here right now, in our hearts, yet hidden by worldly distraction.
I wonder if we can change? I wonder if we can stop assuming a fast-paced anxiety is the best we’ll get this side of eternity, if we can understand that freedom has already been won when Jesus died for us? He didn’t give His life for us to be slaves to time, our workload, commitments, and routine. Indeed, He’s freed us from that sin that so easily entangles us.
Maybe we can step out in freedom by laying life down. Gain more by letting go of it all. Take an inventory of our full plate, and pick today to scrap off the pieces that aren’t giving us life. Jesus has given us life, but also an abundant life, a life free from anxiety. The Bible instructs us to “fear not” 365 times, one for every day of the year. We fear the things we cannot change, yet many of those same things we can change by letting them go. We can stop celebrating anxiety and instead cast it down.
Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.