Busy Never Stops
Since the beginning of November, I have been extremely overwhelmed, overbooked, oversensitive, overworked, and overstressed, to say the least. Following up my Fall 2018 semester with four months of Student Teaching (starting in January) that would lead to graduation, it was clear that my mental, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual life was (is) crumbling. From a serious acne breakout to stomach issues, depression, anxiety, and burnout, it was becoming clear to me that despite my wonderful boyfriend, dance team, supportive friends, and powerful God, that without taking time to rest, I would only further continue to widen and deepen my hole of despair.
Reading a Devotional one cool winter evening, as I snuggled deep into the comfort of my heated blanket, the warmth of more than just the sheet itself began to press itself upon my soul. Hearing the words come to life like narrators reading their smoked and softly primed movie scripts, I realized how long it had been since I’d taken a Sabbath, let alone one day without work, college, teaching, dancing, working out, or tending to my friends/families/pets/boyfriends needs. And to be honest, that scared me a whole lot more than the newest façade of a rollercoaster at Kings Island. It scared me because I started to realize how fast time was passing, and how easily I had bought into the lies of “busy” without adequately taking the time to nurture and care for myself. From working every summer straight through to college full-time, two to three jobs, leading a dance team, small group, two praise teams, and more, I was utterly spent, and it killed me to admit that.
As a twenty-three-year-old Christian, I would be dishonest to say that I never get tired of helping people. However, I would also be the first to tell you that serving, volunteering, and leading others are the three core vitamins of my life that I’ve adopted and lived out since I was just eight years old. Facing the conditions listed above with this passion has been quite a challenge. You just honestly don’t know what it is like to crave wanting to help others until you are sobbing on the bathroom floor because you are so tired, you don’t even have the energy to help yourself. And in that moment, that’s when I heard God say, “Busy Never Stops” and I realized that in order to gain that passion and strength back from years upon years of burnout, it would take more than continually surrendering it all to Him as I had been doing, but truly taking a day of rest to enjoy and care for myself the way that He intended for me to.
I started realizing that to give my all to these people, organizations, and things I care so deeply about, I needed to take at least one day off for me, and that that in and of itself was not a selfish thing. I’d heard for years that self-care was selfish, and placing others above yourself was the way to go, but even Jesus needed time alone with his Father and often turned down crowds because the demand He was given, couldn’t amount to the human energy He was spending, without taking the time to refill and recharge in the one who held His nourishment (Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12, ERV).
Currently, it’s a Monday morning, and I should be at school student teaching. Caught by a small snowstorm instead, however, I am left alone with my thoughts and the company of my humming laptop, barking dogs, and loving parents’ laughter in the kitchen. Minus the stomachache currently cramping my sides, I am trying my best to rest and will soon spend time with the Father in our daily Scripture reading time of the day. I am still uneasy with the silence, with the lack of busyness for this singular day. But in the back and carved out corners of my heart, I know that Christ calls me to take care of myself just as much as I long to again take care of everyone else, and someday, my burnout will cease so much so, that I’ll be full and overflowing with energy, compassion, love, and fervor again.
Busy Never Stops, in fact, like time, it is something that keeps on going. However, unlike time, it does allow you to have a say in its condition: In the hours you serve, in the events you plan, in the schedules you overbook, and in the limits to which you choose to over exceed yourself. And to the contrary of all the little voices whispering in your head, it is not weak, prideful, or foolish to take one day, one hour, one minute for you. In fact, it is holy; it is precious; it is longed for by the soul (Exodus 20:8-11, ERV). Perhaps that is why life is eventful, demanding, tiring, hard, hectic, and dare I say busy, because if it wasn’t, would we ever recognize our need and dependence for time spent in solitude and restoration with Him? Busy says “no,” and I’d have to agree.
Rest easy my friend, I know you need to.