I love to look at my calendar in all its OCD-glory and see the color coded events that fill every block.
I like knowing that people are counting on me to teach my fifth graders all day at school, lead a small group, plan events for the Singles Gathering, teach a sign language class, show up for sectional rehearsals, plan for a camp meeting, play the piano for church and choir rehearsals, teach piano lessons, and take part in the book study.
I also like knowing that I have plans with the people who love me most to go to dinner and a movie, have fun at Claymates, shop for baby clothes at consignment sales, go to soccer and little league games, and see every Shane and Shane concert in the Southeast.
I like busy. I like feeling needed. I like feeling part of something bigger.
This is not a bad thing….always.
I remember a time when my calendar was constantly full and it seemed that church “stuff” was doing most of the filling!
At this particular time I was working for two different churches – two different denominations even – as youth director. I spent every minute running back and forth between the two churches leading Bible studies, practicing with youth choirs, teaching and practicing skits, organizing and carrying out fundraisers, planning and going on youth trips, mentoring kids one-on-one, and generally enjoying my crazy busy life…
Until one day, I managed to be still enough to realize how empty I felt. I was so busy doing stuff for God, I forgot to invite Him along.
On paper, it looked like I was doing a great job of sharing about God and His love and His plan for these young people.
When I finally stopped to take a deep breath, I realized that I was so busy doing and talking about all of these wonderful things, I had stopped growing in my relationship with Him myself.
I was so busy doing stuff “for Him” that I forgot about getting to know Him even better. So I did something that was really hard for me.
The message behind this post is not really to be a quitter, but it took quitting all the things that I was busy doing in order to learn a very valuable lesson.
Once I finally took a step back from the busy pace of my life, I became very aware of how much I had linked my self-worth directly to my busy calendar.
I MUST be worth something if everyone needed me to do so many things all of the time, right?
I MUST be worth something because I am a daughter of the King.
There is no great New Testament story that proves this point to me any better than something that can be found in the first five pages of text in your Bible:
“So God made man like his Maker.
Like God did God make man;
Man and maid did he make them.
And God blessed them and told them, “Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it; you are masters of the fish and birds and all the animals. And look! I have given you the seed-bearing plants throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I’ve given all the grass and plants to the animals and birds for their food.” Then God looked over all that he had made, and it was excellent in every way. This ended the sixth day.”
Genesis 1:27-31 (The Living Bible)
My favorite part was when I read this one day, after having heard this story a million times, and realized that God made man and said that he was good.
“Excellent in every way.”
You know what Adam and Eve DID to get that seal of approval from God?
They didn’t lead a Bible study. They didn’t organize a car wash. They didn’t even witness to a neighbor. They were just created by the Master. And they were excellent in every way.
Because, you see, it really isn’t about what we do.
It’s about who we know.
I know that God calls us to do. But I also know that God wants us to do the things we do because of our relationship with Him and not in order to feel good about ourselves, or to feel like we have earned a place in heaven, or to prove that we have worth.
God made ME.
God loves ME.
What event or obligation can I write on my calendar that will cause me to have any greater feeling of self-esteem or self-worth?!
So, in doing all that you do, don’t forget the one who gives us purpose.
Don’t forget, in your busyness FOR Him, to bring Him along – you might even want to let Him lead!
Don’t forget how important it is to carve out time and space for the nurturing of your relationship with Him.
Don’t forget that God made YOU and that makes you “excellent in every way.”
Lori Gilbert lives in Whittier, NC and has taught for the last 15 years in near-by Sylva. Originally from Louisiana, she has been here long enough now to be a full-fledged Carolinian. She spends her time working at school, looking for new ways to be ultra-organized, playing piano for her church, and looking for reasons to get together with friends, especially when Shane and Shane or the Broadway musical Wicked can be involved! She loves to read and she loves to laugh. Laughing is her favorite.