School is back in session, which means the fall activities are already in full swing! Which means that the level of “busyness” is on the upswing for many families. In addition to school and regular activities, there are extracurricular practices, games and performances. All of which take time and resources (I have yet to be involved in any “extra” activity which did not also require hidden costs, including finances!). And as time and money become stretched, even usually mild-mannered, calm people can become irritable and stressed.
So making time to listen to God ought to become a priority for us all. One of the fallacies that gets espoused as truth is that somehow we can curry favor with God by praying the “right” prayer, or following the “right” set of rules, or that we can somehow “buy God’s love” with the “right amount” of money or involvement (which is why many people turn away from church because church becomes just one more stressor in an already stress-filled life). I have yet to find those passages in the Bible which require us to do those “right things in order for God to care about us. Sure, the Scriptures encourage, even command, us to “love God, and to love our neighbor,” but that is in response to God’s steadfast love for us just as we are. Indeed, Scripture is full of stories that reveal it is God who chases after us, who will not let us go no matter how far we might have strayed, who seeks the lost, returns the exiled, who heals the sick, and who forgives the sinner. The point is that God is constantly seeking after us, saving us from ourselves and our own self-destructive life-styles. God is constantly trying to speak to us and to lead us in ways of peace and calm. Which ought to be good news in a busy world.
God’s love for us is not dependent on us! God’s love is a given! But when we find ourselves irritable, stretched beyond our means, wondering just how we are going to be able to accomplish all that is expected of us, then it is time to step back, assess our priorities, and listen for God’s loving guidance for our lives. Martin Luther, one of the busiest people of all time, once wrote words to this effect: “When I have more to accomplish in a day than there are hours in the day, I know I must pray twice as long in the morning in order to have any hope of getting everything done.” It was his way of saying we need to give enough time for God to speak and lead us, otherwise it is all hopeless!
So as the season gears up to be even busier than the last one, try taking more time with God instead of less time — in prayer, in reading the Bible, in worship with one of the communities of faith in our county, and in fellowship with other people of faith. Believe it or not, you just might find some rest and peace in your busy and stressed life and perhaps even more enjoyment in your “busyness.” Especially if you let God be God and if you let God’s love and grace lead you into your daily living.
The writer is the pastor at St. Jacob Lutheran Church, Anna.