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How to Banish Busy and Settle Your Soul

How to Banish Busy and Settle Your Soul

I have a confession to make. 

I am an addict. A serious addict. And I know many others who share my awful obsession. No, it is not to a substance. It isn’t to trashy TV or racy romance novels.

I am addicted to busyness.

My addiction habit began forming long ago when I was just a girl in junior high school. To numb the emotional pain I was feeling from the fallout of a major life change in my home situation, I soon discovered busyness. Yep, sign me up for cheerleading, school newspaper, Spanish Club, National Honor Society, softball, the local youth group, volunteer work and a part–time job to boot! By the time I graduated high school I was involved in more activities than a set of triplets should be. Unfortunately, I carried this trend into my adult life.

In my defense, today we dwell in a society that not only encourages the busy lifestyle, it even applauds and rewards it! And what gal in her right mind doesn’t want an “’atta girl” now and then? Why, our society goes as far as to paint those who live life at a slower pace as freeloaders or slackers. “Why can’t so-and-so help a little with this fundraiser? She doesn’t do nearly half as much as I do!”

If left unchecked, our busyness can crowd out the most important things in life—God and our families. 

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I have had to learn the hard way that in order to be an effective Christian, wife, and mother, I need to not only slow down, regularly scraping commitments off of my too full plate, but sometimes I need to stop altogether.

Just. Stop. Doing. Already.

As I sit writing this, I am outside at a lovely {although dorm-like} church denominational retreat center on a hill overlooking its grape arbor and pear and apple orchards. My take-life-slow husband strongly suggested I come here occasionally to get alone with God; to read; ponder; write and reflect. I walk the pine and perennial-laced grounds in solitude. There are no television sets or computers or ringing phones; only unfamiliar, but blessed, quiet. {And you can stay for three nights for about the price of one night in a hotel!}

I will be honest and say it has taken me YEARS to get used to this ceasing of activity for occasional 24-48 hour periods of time each year. I fret and fuss as I am packing. “What about the kids? Will they be okay without me? Oh, maybe I should just stay home. I could get so caught up around here with that big chunk of time!”

But Christ beckons me. “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” (Mark 6:31)

Away. Alone. By myself and for myself. It is for my own good. It is necessary. And ultimately, it is better for my family to have a rested, focused and refreshed mom whose nerves have been calmed and whose soul has been settled. On retreat I can best hear from God whom I have discovered most often prefers not to scream over the top of our busyness but instead to whisper to us in quiet.

Yes, in the Christian life retreat is required. Running full steam ahead at lightening-fast speed is not only crazyness, it is downright dangerous to the soul. Even the Lord Jesus had regular times of rest and withdrawal. We need to follow His lead.

I have come to realize the truth of the saying, “If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” And dear ones, both states render us useless and ineffective in our physical and spiritual lives. Decide today that very soon you too will cease, retreat and refuel; that you will pull away from the hectic pace of life long enough to allow God to settle your soul.

You won’t regret it.

Karen

For more encouragement, check out our new devotional for women, Settle My Soul: 100 Quiet Moments to Meet with Jesus, co-authored by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk.

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