I’m always busy, always overwhelmed with what I have to do. I can’t seem to sit still. I spent much of my life being busy, looking busy, feeling busy inside. I remember quite clearly that this stems from a father that you didn’t want to catch you not busy, in case he found something for you to do. Dad would come home in the evening and we would all scatter like leaves, spending much of our time outside or in our rooms.
Later when I got married at 17, at the insistence of my parents, to a man eight years older than I was the feeling didn’t go away. Three months after the wedding day I conceived and within the year I had my first child, within four I had my third. The struggle to please and look busy was replaced by necessity. Active in church to the point of feeling like a full-time job I added God to my list of men I had to be busy to please. Now, over 30 years and 6 children later, I find that it has become a horrible habit I can’t shake, sometimes to the point of exhaustion.
Sitting in church Sunday I hear this phrase and it rocks my world; We are saved, not by any works of our own, but by grace. So I’ve been spinning my wheels all this time, never feeling good enough, never “doing enough” and all this time the ride was paid for?
I sit there stunned. I know I knew this but I guess I never internalized it. Somehow I’d missed the implications of the gift. I had spent some of that busy time feeling obligation, guilt, frustration and loss, and believing that by my good works God would find me good enough to love, to bless, to invite into heaven. It frustrates me and I am a bit angry for having gave up my time and my life in that way.
Then I suddenly feel a kind of satisfaction as I contemplate the implications…there were also times that I spent my life being busy for the right reasons; the love of my family, the concern for a friend, the comfort of a pet. I know these were my gift to God and colleagues in this life because it was never expected. All I had to do was have faith.
I realize that all I have to do is not on my to-do list. It’s the decision I make, when I wake up in the morning each day, to believe.