Overcome empty busyness

white rabbit

The White Rabbit of Alice in Wonderland is nervous and always in a hurry. He scurry’s past Alice in their first encounter as he rushes to his job with the Duchess for which he is late. It seems to be his common denominator in life; always late and in a hurry. A Salvation Army bell ringer outside a Walmart witnesses the same sense of hurriedness as he stands beside the kettle ringing his bell while people scurry in and out every day in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Christmas is serious business and most people are serious about getting their shopping completed on time. There are lights and decorations to buy and put up. Treats must be made and all festivities attended. Special gifts for special people require careful investigation and comparison to similar items before being purchased.  “I’m late. I’m late.” So many white rabbits at Christmas!

Busyness may be highlighted at Christmas, but it is certainly not unique to the season. People often describe themselves with this character trait and bemoan its degradation on their life while feeling powerless to change how they live.

Sadly, what we do is confused with who we are. Our culture celebrates activity with the rarely stated value that busyness equals importance.   The more people see us as tired, exhausted, and over-stretched, the more they must think we must somehow be indispensable; that we matter.

Who does not desire to be appreciated and showered with affection? Who does not want to feel they are important to others and have others to show affection to? And so we try to earn their respect, their affection, and their friendship. It can’t be done you say? Yet, each day finds us redoubling our effort to try. “I’m late. I’m late.” We scurry from the first tones of the morning alarm to final click of the bedside lamp.

Over commitment fuels busyness as it damages our relationships with others and the Lord. Past experience teaches that busier does not necessarily mean more fruitful. Unless occupied by tasks that accomplish the business we deem meaningful, necessary, and valuable all our activity translates into busyness rather than the accomplishment of business.

Busyness also keeps us from participating in God’s will. When the time to accomplish the required preparations for work or school each morning do not include time to hear God’s voice through prayer and Scripture, participating much less accomplishing God’s will is left largely up to chance.

Unless we are occupied with the tasks He has for us, our efforts will have no lasting value. After working our fingers to the bone, we could arrive in heaven only to discover that we’ve lost rewards because our time and energy were wasted on worthless activities (1 Cor. 3:10-15).

How Do I Get Off This Treadmill? Through the guidance of the Bible and the still small voice of the Holy Spirit the day’s activities should be planned to accomplish what is important as much as possible rather than being directed and driven by the urgent, by the phone, texts, or endless requests for a moment of time. Each moment adds up to minutes that often keep us from accomplishing the best.

Do the next right thing! What is more important; presents or presence, showing up or sharing life? It is not possible to give well without someone to receive well. Everyone should have the opportunity to stand on both sides of this blessing.

The best reason for giving is to bless without regard to reciprocation. Do not expect every gift of time or item to be appreciated or fawned over. That will eliminate the inevitable grief that comes when disappointment follows gift giving.

A life of business or busyness is largely a choice we each have the ability to make.


The Most Important Pursuit by Chs Stanley may be helpful:

  • What is the most important pursuit in life (Jer. 9:23-24)?
  • How did Jesus stay connected with His Father while He was on earth (Mark 1:35; Matt. 14:23)?
  • Who determined His schedule of activities for each day (John 5:19-20, 30; 8:28-29)?
  • Read Luke 10:38-42. Are you more like Mary or Martha?
  • What did Jesus recommend as a remedy for weariness (Matt. 11:28-30)?
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