Image: David Flaherty

Sweet Friends,

Can you think of a time when you might have shared in conversation the busyness of your life?  I think we do that a lot almost every day.  One person shares that she feels overwhelmed with having to do A, B, C and we share that we have that and X, Y, Z to accomplish.  Most times, it is in a conversation where we are hoping to share a frustration of having too much to do but it might be construed as having a full plate, being too busy or just boasting.  Did I step on a pinky toe?

Our hearts don’t want to admit that we might be using our busyness as clout, sort of a mommy business card that outlines all of the many things we do in one day to keep our family alive, fed, clothed, chauffeured and healthy.  My friend, Kay, shared that it’s hard for her to not say “I was a Specialist Office Manager but now I’m a Specific Worker” because she found her identity and, sometimes self-worth, in her lofty position.  Nowadays, she realizes that when she catches herself saying that introduction to her customers, it is less of a heart issue than a bad habit.  But there was once a day, not too long ago, that it was a heart issue.  She found that her title gave her clout with her customers and her co-workers.  While clout isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is our attitude with it that becomes the big issue.

I know this lady, Mabel, who regularly shares of her busyness for all of the things she volunteers to do.  We often volunteer to do the same things at different times but I’ve noticed that when she shares her volunteer schedule, she boasts to anyone who will listen of how important she is to those people and places that call her to share her talents.  It was so hard to hear all of her busyness that I felt like I didn’t want to be around her.  I began to dislike her.  Others shared of how that one thing of boasting caused them to dislike her and not want to work with her.  My heart had become so hardened that I found myself getting angry and resentful whenever I saw her.

But, friends, God had a much bigger plan – which He always does.  The Holy Spirit stirred my heart to pray for her each time I saw Mabel in a leadership position that I had wanted or when she was performing a volunteer work.  He caused me to pray for her boasting but, more importantly, for my bad attitude towards her.  It took two years to get through to me. Then, as you might guess, God allowed us to work together in a place I never would have chosen for the purpose of us getting to know each other better.

I found out that she didn’t quite dislike me but that she didn’t care for me because I am a direct person who doesn’t sugar-coat my words. (Honestly, that is why many people don’t like me; I’m not their cup of strong tea.)  I had already guessed that she didn’t like me so that wasn’t quite a surprise.  I learned why I had judged her when she boasted of her works; she feels insecure about a few things.

Isn’t that true of all of us?  When we feel insecure, we blow up like a puffer fish to seem bigger than we really are so others will see our “importance”.  However, if we are naturally confident in our abilities and selves, we are more quietly humble with our talents and works.  We have nothing to prove to anyone.

I must say, these scripture verses struck me to my core on this very subject:“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.  Avoid such people.”   ~2 Timothy 3:1-5

There is so much meat in those verses.  The chewy parts that made me hit my knees was “people will be lovers of self…proud, arrogant….having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.”  I immediately thought of Mabel and myself.  Hadn’t I done exactly what she had done?  Hadn’t I given the run down of the five weekly Bible studies I was in to a young mom who had asked me how I fill my days?  I pooh-poohed it as having more time than she, but I was boasting of my own abilities while “appearing to be godly”.

OUCH!

“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.  But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you.”   ~2 Corinthians 10:12-14

I had compared myself to Mabel and had found her to be boastful, but not myself so.  UGH!  Big heart prick!  It doesn’t matter what she says or does, my heart matters to God when it comes to me.  I don’t get to continue to judge Mabel like I had been doing but I do get to pray for her….and myself.  Yes, I choose to volunteer in places that tend to be visible.  But I don’t have to announce my works to anyone to be important and get approval from others.  I must die to myself so that He may be greater.

“I must decrease so that He can increase.” ~John 3:30

Sweet friend, where do you find yourself sharing your busyness to others?  How can you minimize your chosen busyness for God’s glory and still share with a trusted friend when you feel overwhelmed?  The conviction I feel is great. Not condemnation, conviction.The Holy Spirit is guiding me to refocus my choices to reflect God’s glory.  It is ok to have a full calendar. That is how life unfolds many times. It is not Scripturally ok to boast of all the good works we do in the name of volunteering, helping others or serving at Church.  Puffer fish never make it through the doors without poking someone else in the neck.Let’s resolve, sweet friends, to deflate our egos so that God can be inflated, revered and glorified in our “busyness” of life.

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