PARTY PEOPLE, a new semester has officially begun for this senti college junior, and OH MAN what a whirlwind of emotions it has already been. I'm so excited to share my much-anticipated Word of the Year with y'all next week on the blog, but as for this week, I wanted to dive into an odd phenomenon that I have been wrestling with and studying in scripture...what to do with an ABSENCE of busy.
I could sit down and talk with you for hours about the dangers of being busy, and it would probably be nothing that you haven't heard before. After hearing many sermons and digging into God's word, I began to realize my busy schedule was not only breeding exclusivity but was also halting my ability to find true rest in Jesus. And while eliminating a hurried lifestyle often feels more complicated than it actually is, it feels as if, now more than ever, there is an exciting influx of open discussions on the topic in both churches and books (read RUTHLESS ELIMINATION OF HURRY if you haven't yet!). What I am searching for now, however, is the answer to my mind's current and most pressing question: I've cleared my schedule... now what?
I crafted my junior year with the intention of creating a slower lifestyle. I'm taking fewer classes this semester and I am committing myself to fewer (however, still probably too many) organizations and responsibilities. Don't get me wrong, my days normally have a hefty to-do list and my Google Calendar can still be a source of anxiety, but I was intentional in creating hour blocks of my most dreaded activity into each and every day- nothing.
And when those hours of "nothing" come around, I simply do not know what to do with myself. I have spent so many years building my identity around being busy that without its familiar feeling, I feel lost.
It's so funny because I almost feel like a failure without my busy life. Am I doing enough to feel like I belong? Am I needed enough to feel like I am loved? Do I have enough friends to feel like I am important? And YES, I know it's the first week of the semester, and life is bound to get crazy again in due time, but in studying the word this week I was struck deeply with what feels like it may be the answer to these questions.
Isaiah 10 speaks on God's judgment of Assyria, and the clearing out of the old to make way for the new: the reign of a Davidic King, ultimately the line of Jesus, in chapter 11. Chapter 10 completely paints the canvas white as God metaphorically "clears the thickets of the forest with an ax, and Lebanon with its majesty falls (vs10:34)". The old has been removed and it's time for something new to take its place. And God, being a God who is faithful to His promise, doesn't just leave the people wandering and wondering. He does something that completely changed the core of humanity's hope...something that can still be our hope today!!
A new root shoots up-and it's from the line of Jessie. This new branch is promised to bear fruit, to judge righteously, to be belted with faithfulness, and to fill the land with the knowledge of the Lord. JEHOVAH NISSI, the Lord is our banner! The coming of Jesus stands as a reminder of God's provision, goodness, and ultimate victory!
I was particularly struck with the second half of verse 10 which reads, "The nations will look to him for guidance, and his resting place will be glorious." Read that again, because I'm going to camp out here for the rest of this post.
This verse promises us TWO blessings associated with the coming of King Jesus: GUIDANCE and a GLORIOUS RESTING PLACE. So often I search the Lord more for guidance than a glorious place to rest. My headspace can easily fall into a "DO" mindset with God, trying in faith to seek his guidance, but forgetting that in Him there is also rest. Is this why busy feels comfortable for us? Does it, deep down, reveal a mistrust in our souls that we don't have to earn favor with God? If we increased our belief in a grace-based faith, I think we would be more prone to seek God for His glorious rest in coincidence with His guidance, knowing that He has already done the work for us.
To jump to the New Testament, let's look at Romans 8. The OT believers were waiting for the coming of their king just like we are now. "Creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God's son to be revealed (vs 19)". BUT, unlike the OT church, we have the benefit of seeing God's faithfulness already carried out through Jesus! "Now in this hope we are saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? Now if we hope for what we do not see, we EAGERLY wait for it with PATIENCE (vs 24-25)."
And this patience that Paul talks about is not a patience we can produce on our own, but a fruit of a life surrendered to the sanctifying work of the spirit. The next verse talks about the way the Spirit intercedes on our prayers because we don't even know what we should be praying for. Hallelujah that our God is not ABSENT! He intercedes for us, makes a way for us, and fulfills his promises! We have a great HOPE while we wait on the Lord and seek his guidance and glorious rest!
The clearing out of our busy weeds is exactly what God is calling us to do in order for fruit to be produced. But once they are cleared, let's step back and let HIM plant, expectant that He who was faithful will continue to be so. It would be super easy for me to notice my empty calendar and start planting things of my own- whether it be more organizations/tasks, or simply watering lies of doubt. Give God the shovel, friends, and be patient for the harvest. All things will work together for those who love Him.