Breaking Busy: A Merciful Death

I don’t know how not to be busy.

(Double negative, blatty, blatty blah.)

I manage all of my lists with a master list. I can’t watch 30 consecutive minutes of T.V. without a project on my lap. I’m uncomfortable unless I’m working on something. Even as I write this post, the World Series is playing in the background for noise. Noise is my oxygen.

Maybe you can identify?

notepad
(my favorite to-do list notepad as a little TMI)

 

But then 6 weeks ago, everything changed.

The busy life I knew and loved came to a screeching halt. God is graciously opening new doors of opportunity for my family and all is well (more on that later), but suffice to say, I went from 46 commitments to 3.

I should have been enthusiastic. Suddenly I could go to bed at a moderately intelligent hour and spend Saturday mornings making Mom’s famous blueberry coffee cake, and I could read just one more book to the kids every time they asked without that pesky voice whispering in my ear that I had a to-do list to complete. 

And not to sound sanctimonious (for a perfectionist I am not), but I was truly looking forward to lingering in my Bible reading. I had aspirations of tossing the daily reading checklist to the wind and studying to my heart’s content. I’ve stockpiled topics I want to better understand–chapters I need to memorize.

But then the strangest thing happened.

I opened my Bible on the first day without my robust to-do list, and I couldn’t read. Sure, I could see the words, but the sentences didn’t form connections in my head. I tried reading aloud, tried listening to the Bible on MP3, tried reading at night vs. reading in the morning, tried background music …

Nothing but silence.

wreath

I came to the frightening realization that in my busy pursuit of good things–lots of ’em over years–I had forgotten what it meant to rest … to be still and know that [He] is God (Psalm 46:10) … to bask in His goodness without bartering with my busyness for more of it.  

Over the past 6 weeks I have slowly but surely come to this conclusion–

Christ came to quiet my endless efforts, to put a halt to my self-justifying labor, and to introduce me to the storehouse of His grace. He did all of this and more–

“to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy” (Romans 9:23).

And while everything in me still cries “Do more! Be more!” God has instructed me to sit quietly and wait for Him. And so–to slow my stubborn ambition and to truly drink from the stream (over which I hear the Lion’s golden voice saying, “If you are thirsty, come and drink”)–I have started writing the Word.

Not re-writing the Word, don’t panic.

What it means to Write the Word.

For 15 minutes early every morning I painstakingly copy verses (starting in James, because, well, James). The process of writing out God’s Word causes me to stop and think about each syllable/phrase/sentence in a new way. When the 15 minutes are over, I talk to God in prayer and continue meditating on those verses–however many I was able to write–through the rest of the day. As time and opportunity allows, I sneak into my husband’s vast commentary collection to see what wise men have said about the verses.

The first day I was only able to write out 6 verses, but they sustained me.

I am using the left side of the notebook to record what God teaches me–the outworking of the right side of the book–as I learn to love Him more.

james

 

I invite you to join me if you, too, crave a slower pace.

All you need is a Bible, notebook, and pen.

I’m not going to win any races. The Bible Time Boosters will run circles around me with their planet-sized accomplishments. (Yes, siree!) And you know what? It’s ok. God’s sovereign choice for my life in this season is to diligently pursue less. (And the irony? In pursuing less of me, I may well pursue more of Him.)

Feel free to follow along (or not) as I fill my notebook with the riches of His grace. See you Tuesday.

Trisha Signature

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  • In the past 18 months I have started to read my Bible outloud. I used to read it silently, then started to read in a soft whisper. That whisper grew louder over time, now it’s read outloud. I’ve learned that by reading outloud, I actually drown out the noises around me as well as those in my head even though both sources weren’t that loud. I seem to be able to hear God speaking to me when I read His words outloud. Does this make sense to anyone else?

    • Thank you for the comment, Bobbie! I totally understand reading aloud to drown out the “noise.” I too easily sink into distracting thoughts when I read silently. Soon enough I’m rehearsing my grocery list or the details of a conversation and a chapter has flown by without leaving me convicted or changed. Great point. I will read out loud tomorrow. Maybe it’ll land on miniature ears in the room in the process. 🙂 Never returns void, right?

      –Trisha