We never think of independence as a bad thing, do we?
The United States has a Declaration of Independence. As my children get older and edge closer to moving out, I have a heightened awareness of my responsibility to train them to live independently. The building boom around me is all centered on “Independent Living for Senior Adults.”
Busyness is a sign of accomplishment and significance such that we blur the lines between being and doing. It seems like we DO more to HAVE more because we want to BE more.
This kind of busy-ness comes under the guise of our trying to be independent. Instead, it can turn out to be a cycle of senselessness. I think this is what the author of James was getting at when they wrote: “For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away” (James 1:11).
Busyness can be costly.
In the midst of a busy life, the parts of us that matter most can wither away. I know from personal experience. I have tried to DO more and HAVE more because I wanted to feel like I could BE more. Instead of becoming more, I became less. I replaced my true identity (a beloved child of God) with a cheap imitation identity (busy American mom).
Busyness and abundance are not the same thing.
It may be possible to live a life that is both busy and abundant, but I’ve learned they aren’t necessarily synonymous.
Jesus says he came to be our shepherd so that we could have an abundant life, or as it says in The Message paraphrase, “more and better life than [we] ever dreamed of.” Another translation says “a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10)
It seems counter-intuitive, but dependence can lead to abundance.
I’m learning that an abundant life is a lived in dependence rather than a life lived independently. The comfort of the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” only comes if I’m willing to live in dependence on my shepherd.
When I am with my shepherd, not distracted by my many tasks,
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
When I am with my shepherd, “my cup overflows” and “goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” If I am distracted by my many tasks, I risk missing out on this true abundance and, as James warns, I wither away.
Do you live a life of abundance? What’s your secret? Are you, like me, one who tends to be distracted by many tasks? Do green pastures and still waters sound as wonderful to you as they do to me? Tell me about it in the comments, in an e-mail, or on Facebook.