I am a busy person. Undeniably so. Glancing at the penned-in reminders and notes in my daily planner from the months of February and March is enough to give anyone anxiety.
Typically, that’s my jam. The busy life is the only life I know, so I thrive in that environment. I find my heart and mind inexorably pulled in so many directions, and I find myself fascinated to an extent that I simply must say “yes” to everything! This approach to life has planted the seeds for many of the incredible experiences I’ve had, and the passions that fill me today.
As aforementioned, I’ve just emerged from one of the busiest seasons of my life--a season filled with spirituality, academia, theater, music, faith events, athletics, travel, conversation, public speaking, political activism, leadership, and much more. And to be honest, I feel unquestionably rejuvenated. It’s a testimony to passion itself for me to emerge from this season with newly made lifelong friends, a heightened and deepened understanding of God, and a smile on my face. For that I am grateful.
One of the most laughable ironies in my life is my longing for and fascination with the Hebrew Shabbat, or Sabbath. I would consider myself a “neo-Sabbatarian”--someone who values holy time of rest and retreat in life. However, rest is not so easily found in my life of busyness. In fact, I would say that my career aspiration of someday living “off the grid” on a small farm is probably (to a certain extent) a direct reaction to the efficient-focused mindset I have had for much of my life.
My desire for sabbath has led me into many conversations with friends, one of whom shared with me this thought-provoking tidbit of wisdom:
“The busy person cannot truly love their neighbor.”
My initial reaction to this bold statement was one of derision. After all, doesn’t a lifestyle of Christian love require constant perception, action, and conversation? However, as I continued to ponder, it dawned on me that this statement is less of an inherent criticism of industry, and more of an invitation to reshape one’s life in a Kingdom-centered way.
Simply put, sometimes we need to move from the breadth of love to the depth of love.
Friends, all I ask that you glean from this rambling testimony is one thing: there is nothing remotely holy about busyness itself. American culture will try to tell you otherwise, that our eyes, ears, and mouths should constantly be filled with experience, technology, convenience, and progress. Nonetheless, we can only love our neighbor so much from behind the screen of a smartphone, or from brief coffee dates every other month.
Be still, and know God. Grow where you’re planted. Remind yourself that maybe the only thing your neighbor asks of you is to be present. Unplug from the constant onslaught of noise in our world, and take a risk and plug into your neighbor. Know their life, their joy, and their pain. Say “no” every once in a while. Take an afternoon and just do nothing. Learn about yourself. What lifestyle is best for you to fully love your neighbor?
I’ll leave you all with some lyrics from a song written by my dear friend Adam:
I hope everybody’s got a sanctuary
Even if it’s just a little temporary
Hole inside the wall like a poor-lit broken door toilet stall
Yeah, I hope everybody’s got a sanctuary
Even it’s just a little temporary
Hole inside the wall or a restful quiet spot inside your heart
May you live so deep within your heart
God invites us to seek a life that goes deeper than the everyday hustle-bustle of surface-level relationships. How will you respond to that invitation?