Tag Archives: self-worth

What I Learned on “Staycation”: Busyness Prevents Becoming Beloved

Last week I took a “staycation” – a week off of work to go nowhere and do nothing. And it was glorious. I slept in nearly every morning. I took walks in the middle of the day and stopped to chat with people I met with no need to rush home. I scheduled play dates for my puppy. I had leisurely, unhurried conversation with dear friends. I cooked. I cleaned. I read. I watched trashy day time television (ok, not proud of that, but it’s true).

Now, I must admit that as a child didn’t understand this concept. Nearly everyone I knew only took vacation when they were going somewhere, my family included. Vacation did not mean “not working;” it meant “travel somewhere new and different.” A guy I worked with at the local grocery store and the school custodian were the only people I knew who took time off of work without going anywhere. I thought it was weird. To those two men, I apologize! I get it! I needed a “staycation” because frankly I was just plain exhausted – too exhausted to do anything but just stay home. The pace of my life and lack of self-care had caught up with me.

Life moves so fast. Everyone is busy. But why? Why do I pack my life so full that the content runs off the edges, leaving no margin, no room for error, and no room for reflection? I have to admit that I like to be busy. It is a beautiful distraction from my own thoughts and easily allows me to deny various areas where growth and change are needed. It’s also a way to feel important and valuable, albeit not a very effective one. I so easily begin to define myself by what I do instead of who I am. This makes it so hard to say no and so hard to slow down and so hard to rest. But as I’ve said before, busyness is not a badge of honor. Busyness is another enemy of true identity in Christ. The loudness of my busy life easily drowns out God’s voice – a voice that I’m often too afraid to listen to, fearful of what it might say.

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In my busyness, I so easily forget my true identity as God’s beloved daughter and need to find something to fill the void that is left by my forgetfulness. In the stillness and in the quiet I must face myself and my Maker. When I slow down, I must cope with the hurt and pain in my life – both caused by others and by my own sinfulness. But it is only in the stillness where I am able to hear God’s voice, claim my true identity, and receive His healing.

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Psalm 46:10a says, “Be still and know that I am God.” And when Elijah was discouraged, God showed up in a whisper (1 Kings 19). And that voice I feared would meet me with condemnation and scorn? Well, instead it meets me with gentle grace and unfathomable forgiveness. Yes, it’s a voice that convicts and disciplines, but it does so with unending love and mercy. God’s voice is tender, patient, kind, slow to anger, and quick to comfort. The whisper of God’s voice is worth slowing down to hear for it speaks truth and breathes life into the empty void created by busyness. Only God can provide the value and worth I try to create on my own through constant doing. Only slowing down to listen to God’s whisper can provide the peace, security, contentment, and rest I so desperately crave.

Do you need a “staycation”? Is God calling you to slow down and listen for the whisper of His voice? What keeps you from slowing down and doing less?

 

Busyness is not a Badge of Honor

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I’ve been working too hard and I’ve been too busy lately. In fact, I’ve been so overextended that I’ve fallen asleep on the couch after work the last two days in a row. Overextending ourselves is so easy to do. Saying no to people is difficult and saying yes feels so good. Busyness has got to be one of the biggest things hindering a healthy relationship with God. When I’m busy, my relationship with God is the first thing that suffers. I don’t “have time” for Him. Think about how ridiculous that is. In my busyness, I make the decision that my trivial responsibilities are more important than spending quality time with my Maker and my Creator, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! Friends and family are the second thing to suffer. And my personal health isn’t far behind.

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So if it is so bad for us, why is it so easy, so tempting, to become so busy? Because I don’t think I’m alone. I see it in the students I work with as well. I see students staying up until the wee hours of the morning because they’ve taken on too many hard classes that have too much assigned homework and they can’t bear the thought of earning less than an A. I’ve seen students refuse to give up any of the activities they are involved with even though they are pulled so hard in so many different directions that they are about to be torn to pieces. I’ve heard the rationale that if students aren’t earning all As and in all the activities they can handle then they won’t get into the college of their choosing. And I’ve heard that busyness is a good thing because it keeps students out of trouble. What lies! And yet these lies seem to have completely permeated our culture and so busyness has become the norm, a badge of honor even. Rest and relaxation seem to be viewed as lazy.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting that anyone should settle for mediocrity or that we should be lazy slobs. I’m suggesting that we are human beings not human doings. When God created the world He placed rhythms into the entirety of nature. Why would we be any different? Beyond that, God demonstrated the life He designed for us to live, one of both work and rest. First He worked, then He rested. He even included the  command to rest in the 10 commandments! When Moses was becoming overwhelmed at the requests of the people, God told Him that the amount of work was not good for him and that He needed to delegate some of the work to others. He told Moses to rest! Jesus modeled this for us as well. It is difficult to read the passages where Jesus tells people no, and we don’t often like to read them, but He did not heal everyone. He took time to pray. He took time to sleep.

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So why are we so obsessed with being busy? Maybe it really comes down to longing for the approval of others and fearing rejection or disappointment if we say no. Maybe we don’t know how to be bored anymore. Or maybe it’s an identity issue. If you’ve read my blog before you know I believe that most things are. Maybe we continue to try to define ourselves through what we DO instead of by who we ARE and most importantly by WHOSE we are. We forget who created us and who loves us. And we forget that God’s love for us is what gives us value and worth and identity, not the things that we do. Here’s the irony, remember those two nights I fell asleep after work? My plan for both evenings was to do more work! I guess God had different plans. “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.” And He did. And the world kept turning, and His love for me stayed steadfast, even though I rested instead of worked. May you also find a rhythm to life that includes resting in the arms of Jesus.

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I like my eggs scrambled.

Like most girls, I’m a sucker for a great romantic comedy and growing up, the king and queen of romantic comedies were Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. It all started with Pretty Woman but there were several pairings that followed. One of my favorites is Runaway Bride (1999). Julia Roberts plays Maggie, a woman who has left three men at the alter and is now engaged to her fourth. Gere plays Ike, an op-ed columnist from New York City who loses his job after writing about “the runaway bride” without checking his facts. Ike travels to the small town where Maggie lives in an effort to redeem himself by doing the research he ought to have done in the first place. th Here’s your spoiler alert. In rather predictable fashion, Maggie leaves fiancé number four at the alter and falls in love with Ike. Through his research, Ike had noticed something interesting about Maggie. With each fiancé, she had different interests, different styles, and even ordered different eggs at the local diner – the same eggs ordered by each fiancé. When Maggie leaves him at the alter, he confronts her with this fact and she realizes that he is right – she does not know who she is! She doesn’t even know what kind of eggs she prefers! She has been unable to complete the walk down the aisle not because of the person she was walking towards, but because of her lack of knowing herself! Maggie does her own “research” and returns to Ike’s apartment in New York. She looks at Ike and says, “Benedict”. He replies, “Arnold?” And she says, “No, I love Eggs Benedict. I hate every other kind. I hate big weddings with everybody staring. I’d like to get married on a weekday while everybody’s at work. And when I ride off into the sunset, I want my own horse.” You can probably guess what happens next!

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How often I’ve been just like Maggie! Instead of being true to myself, to the identity God has given me, so often I have tried to be whatever I believed others wanted me to be. Maybe I didn’t really know myself. Maybe I was afraid that I wouldn’t be accepted for being who I really am. Regardless of the reason, I know that I was unhappy. Living life trying to be what I believed others wanted me to be left me confused, uncertain, and sad. Maggie couldn’t go through with a wedding because she knew that the person she would be marrying didn’t really know her. And at some level, she knew that she didn’t know herself either. She was not truly known. And that is where God steps in and meets us. He longs more than anything else for us to know Him in the same way that He knows us. And He knows us well because He created us! And because He created us in His image, the more we know Him, the more we know ourselves. It’s an amazing thing!! Scripture says, “Be still and know that I am God.” In our busyness, we lose sight of God and we lose sight of ourselves. God longs for us to be still, to calm down, and to accept ourselves in the same deep way that He accepts us. Claiming the identity God has given us cuts through the confusion, insecurity, and sadness of trying to be someone else.