“How have you been?”
This seems to be a common exchange among people of all ages lately. I don’t know when I began to take notice, but perhaps it was when I noticed myself saying it more and more. It seems to be a go-to answer, especially when you don’t have authentic relationship with the person asking. It nearly seems like a justification for having no time for relationship with the person you are talking with. Am I right?
Busyness can be a curse.
Busyness can certainly be, and is often, a curse, rather than a blessing. We are apt to say things like, “Oh, we are busy, but it is with all GOOD things!”, “Busy, but I like to keep moving!”, or “Busy, but too blessed to be stressed!”. We are pulled in many different directions, being stretched far too thin. I imagine a rubber band that is being slowly stretched. The center point, the breaking point, slowly thinning, at risk of snapping at any moment…yet, we continue to allow the stretch and pull, until we cannot withstand the pressure any longer.
I can only imagine the immense satisfaction that Satan feels when the followers of Jesus are busy and stressed.
In our busyness, we often miss our own brokenness, and brokenness is where grace shows up.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. -2 Corinthians 12:9
Remember when Jesus illustrated salvation with the picture of being born again (John 3)? Being born again suggests a new growth cycle. We are growing new; starting over, with the process of growing spiritually more mature, and changing with each stage of growth, just as we do in our physical growth process. We recognize our brokenness, then grace, by the name of Jesus, steps in and propels us to growth, beyond our broken nature. Furthermore, scripture tells us that we, as fellow Believers, are an integral part of each others’ growth process!
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. -Hebrews 10:24-25
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. -Proverbs 27:17
When we experience grace, we are then free to give it and show others the joy of walking in it.We receive. We give. We walk it out. It is part of our growth process.
So, then, what happens if we are too busy to meet together or encourage one another? What happens when we are too busy to share in our brokenness and walk out the gift of grace together? We can become apathetic and complacent, stagnant in our growth as a Believer.
In our busyness, we often miss authentic community, and community is where we walk in grace.
I don’t believe that the author of Hebrews was talking about meeting only on Sunday for Sunday School and a sermon.
In the book of Acts, the author wrote that the early church met together daily, in each others’ homes! Now, don’t run away just yet. I see you there, wide-eyed, at the mention of the word “daily”. Stay with me for a moment. Think about the concept for just a second. Opening your home. Others opening their homes. Building community, growing relationships, being vulnerable, and making time.
Our time is valuable.
It speaks more to me for someone to make the time, than for them to write a check, and I think we could all agree. For most people, money is more disposable than their time. So, if our time is of value, then what does it say to those around us when we don’t make the time for them? Does is speak to how we view the people around us? Do we view them as valuable and worthy of “spending” time on? Think about it.
Perhaps, we should evaluate our currency; our time, and how it is spent. We can DO a lot of GOOD things and still be missing out on the beautiful community that is all around us. When we busy ourselves to the point of exhaustion and leave no room for authentic relationships with people, we have busied ourselves right out of God’s design for us.
Now, this is a hard post to write, because I’ve been in the same boat. I’m stretched thin, just like the rubber band, and yet I often don’t know how to end the constant “stretch, pull, break, start again” cycle. I’m working on it, though. I don’t want to look back in 20 years and wonder where my time went and what sort of things I spent it on. I want my greatest currency, my time, to be spent on things of substance and value.
We can start small and grow, but the point is that we need to start.
Start with meeting a friend for lunch one day a week. Start with having the crockpot filled with food on Sunday so that you are free to invite another family over for lunch. Start with something. It will be worth it. Will you join me in building community, one block of time at a time?
*I’d love to hear from you! Comment and let me know how you plan to better spend your time, and build community into your life. Let’s encourage one another and share!