“Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.”
With this short, often quoted phrase, Corrie Ten Boom places her finger on the pulse of a continual challenge that seems to have a life of its own. Many of us have been subtly trained by the culture to think of a busy life as a fulfilling life. More is better, faster is sooner…you catch my drift. There are times when these cliche’s are true, but like a merry-go-round spinning pell-mell on the playground, busyness accelerates quickly.
Bear with me for a quick definition of the word “barren” that will add dimension to my mental travels on this quote:
1. not producing or incapable of producing offspring; sterile: a barren woman
2. unproductive; unfruitful: barren land
3. without capacity to interest or attract: a barren period in American architecture
4. mentally unproductive; dull; stupid
5. not producing results; fruitless: a barren effort
Everything about this word is counter-productive to living a meaningful life.
How do we recognize the warning signs that our frantic activity has a taxing cost?
- When our busyness leaves us no time to rest, reflect, and rejuvenate….our vibrancy and energy become empty spaces in our being. We trudge and plod, just trying to make it through to the next item on the To-Do list.
- When our busyness keeps us running and doing to the extent that we have no time to pray or to mediate on God’s truth, we will quickly find ourselves spiritually barren and unprepared for the challenges that invade in our high-paced days.
- When our busyness tempts us to neglect our physical exercise or healthy eating, we can become physically or nutritionally barren.
- When our busyness causes us to sacrifice what is important for that which is urgent…again…and again…we are bombarded with the guilt and frustration that arrives with unfulfilled roles.
- When our busyness consumes our time and we have no time to spend with family or friends, we bear the loneliness of relational barrenness.
Have you noticed that barrenness in any of these areas can cause other loads to become heavier?
Our vision becomes near-sighted–we can only see as far as…
the next task
the next event
the next due date
the next day
the next hour…
Misplaced priorities, over-scheduling, and an under-valued power to say no have a way of sneaking up on us. Before we know it, we are caught in the clutches of busy life in a busy world, trying to build or maintain relationships with busy people. At the end of the day, this is no way to live.
Let me ask you this, if we are too busy to invest in quality time and focused attention on the things that matter in life, the things that keep us healthy and invigorated, what are we doing?
If we are too busy to pray, too busy to take care of ourselves, too busy for family and friends, too busy to grow and renew, too busy to learn, too busy to accomplish…what ARE we doing?
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
Make time to enjoy the things fill your life with the richness of joy.