We book ourselves too tight. Ask anyone how they’re doing and they’ll probably say one of two things: “Good, but busy” or just “Busy.” The only thing that keeps our frequent references to the fast pace of our modern lifestyle from being a tired cliché is the undeniable truth these references carry.

As Christians, we have all experienced what it’s like to get so caught up in the fast pace of life that our relationship with God shifts to the backburner.

Is it even possible to maintain a strong relationship with God in the midst of a busy schedule? I think it is. In this post and the next two, I want to share three simple insights that have helped me to think through this issue, which is something that I am constantly wrestling with.

One of the worst side effects of a busy lifestyle is the constant feeling that you’re letting people down. I often try to hide my stress and maintain my schedule without letting my busyness bother anyone else. But it’s only a matter of time until I start letting people down. I’m not spending enough time with my family. I’m not keeping up on my to do list. I’m not answering enough emails or returning enough phone calls. Worst of all, I’m not keeping up on my devotional life. In all of these areas I feel tremendous pressure—and often pain.

The feeling of letting people down is horrible. At one such low moment, my boss and friend (and Eternity’s president) Joshua Walker put everything in perspective for me. His advice has been priceless in helping me through the overwhelming times that have kept coming since our conversation.

Joshua told me to remember that God is the only one who knows everything I have on my plate. The people who aren’t getting an email response from me have no idea how much I have going, so they’re annoyed that I’m procrastinating. But God knows. Not only does He know every item on my schedule and to do list, He also knows what I’m capable of. I don’t even know what I’m capable of, but God does. And He knows all of the effort I’m putting into every area of my life.

My schedule does not belong in a separate sphere of life from my relationship with God. He knows everything that is listed there, and He knows what He intends for me to be and to do today. My schedule may be set up all wrong. God knows how He wants to use me, and if that means that I’ll be falling short on some goals, dropping some balls, and cutting corners on some of my relationships, I need to trust Him to work in that situation and cry out to Him to help me move forward in each of those areas in a way that glorifies Him. (It also probably means that I need to loosen up my schedule in the future, but more on that in part 3.)

Ultimately, God is the only one I need to please. I need to be faithful to everything He places before me, but He is the one who decides if I’m doing well or not. If I get a bad review at work, submit a less than perfect project, or receive a sarcastic comment about me not caring about people, it’s okay. I want to do well in each of those areas (more on that in part 2), but if I can only please one person, it has to be God. I can safely leave the stress behind, work hard and do the best I can, and trust Him to work in and through me in the ways that He knows are best.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

 

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Mark Beuving

Mark Beuving currently serves as Associate Pastor at Creekside Church in Rocklin, CA. Prior to going back into pastoral ministry, Mark spent ten years on staff at Eternity Bible College as a Campus Pastor, Dean of Students, and then Associate Professor. Mark now teaches online adjunct for Eternity. He is passionate about building up the body of Christ, training future leaders for the Church, and writing. Though he is interested in many areas of theology and philosophy, Mark is most fascinated with practical theology and exploring the many ways in which the Bible can speak to and transform our world. He is the author of “Resonate: Enjoying God’s Gift of Music” and the co-author with Francis Chan of “Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples.” Mark lives in Rocklin with his wife and two daughters.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Good words, Mark. I’m looking forward to your next posts. One thing that is ubiquitous in this generation/culture is the idea that if we are busy about work or school then we don’t have “a life.” I have not quite figured out what “a life” is. I often find myself encouraging others that your life is where you are right now. As you know, right now I am in the midst of completing two Master’s programs, keeping up with my work at EBC, running my household, being a mom, a mentor, and a wife, involved in a church plant… This is my life, and God is intimately involved with every moment. It is a myth that somehow, somewhere, some time we will have a life that is separate from the one we actually live.