Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Busy, but not getting done

The title probably doesn't do justice to what I am trying to say. I was thinking about this as I lay in bed Monday morning. I needed to get up and go to the office, where I would have a busy day (and week)... but sometimes even though I am really, really busy, it appears that I don't ever get anything done. I mean, when you spend great amounts of time in prayer - it's often hard to see that it makes much difference (even though I know that it does). When you spend great amounts of time reading and studying about God and His Word - it's also hard to see that it makes much difference (even though I know that it does). When you spend great amounts of time trying to offer spiritual direction in people's lives - it's really hard to see that it makes much difference (even though I know that it does). So it can appear that I am not really doing anything, but I believe it's important that someone commit their life to these things: prayer, study, and spiritual direction. [By the way, I borrowed these from Eugene Peterson - I didn't come up with them. I believe, as he does, that these are the three essentials for a vocational pastor to be committed to.]

I suppose it's similar to a mother. Is there anyone busier than the mother of a young child? Absolutely not. But just as soon as they change a diaper, feed the baby, pick up this spill or that... then it's time to change another diaper, feed again, and clean something else up. And even when diaper season is done, then comes a scraped knee, and middle school crushes, and prom hair, wedding dresses, grandchildren... A mother is constantly busy, but her work is never done.

Anyway, I can't remember all that I was thinking about yesterday, but it did bring me some peace of mind. The world tempts us to feel the need to be busy doing lots and lots of things, and that we need to have something to show for our accomplishments. Even in the church, a lot of people talk about the need to show "fruit" from our labors. You know, I don't buy that. I don't think Jesus showed a lot of "fruit" in the sense that we think of. I think what he wants from us is a life committed to simplicity and faith. For a young mother, it's getting up each day and centering her world around her child. For me, it's getting up each day committed to a life of prayer, study, and spiritual direction. I feel fortunate to have that privilege. But it doesn't mean I am not busy. It just doesn't always look like I'm getting much done. I'd like to think that it mans something in the grand scheme of things though.