The Cool-ness of Busy-ness
By Karli Smith of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. -Matthew 4:1-2 NRSV
“What have you been up to?”
When I hear that question, I often feel pressure to respond with something exciting, to cite an activity that makes it sound as if I’m “progressing” in life. I’m moving up and on. I’m so busy (and so important)!
“Oh you know, work, motherhood, stuff around the house,” is my usual reply. What I really want to say is, “Well, this morning, as I was waiting for the kettle to boil, I noticed a new leaf uncurling on one of our house plants. It had a tiny drop of condensation delicately balancing on its tip, and I wondered how it came to be there!”
Can you imagine what that type of reply might be met with? How peculiar that this moment of simplicity would be something I want to share about my day. Imagine a radical rephrasing of how we greet each other:
“What have you noticed lately?”
In our western culture, being “busy” has reached such an incredible height of status that it demands to be complied with. Doing things. Being places. Working hard. Being busy is strangling the beauty of what is here and now. When busy-ness creeps in, it brings with it anxiety, stress, and inauthentic ways of being. It is a Kilimanjaro-sized obstacle to being present with the Present and receiving the gift of simple, pure connection.
When our daughter was born, I was forcefully projected into a new era. My number one task now is to compassionately respond to and nurture this life before me. This has been the most life-changing aspect of parenthood. Aren’t we all called to this? But what does it look like, practically?
For me it means emptying my days of plans, technology, and lists. I refuse to take on busy. I now drastically limit activity commitments-rejecting the cultural pressure to fill my time. Instead, I empty it to intentionally create space, to simply notice the space, and respond to the Spirit wherever it presents.
God, may my deep hope align with your deep vision. Release in me anything that keeps me from freely following your Spirit. Amen.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply as you enter a time of silence. Become gently attentive to what may be restricting you from faithfully responding to the divine invitation in your life. Are there priorities, attachments, tasks, or motivations competing for your response? What does freedom for God look or feel like in you this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.