We are just too busy!
My job back in the 1990’s took me to New York and Wall Street on a regular, almost weekly basis. The New York and Wall Street busyness was clearly evident and noticeable as it was a dramatic contrast from the daily lifestyle of those of us who lived in the Midwest.
Today, that New York busyness has invaded the North, South, East and West. It is normative in our workplace, our schools, our churches and our families. Everyone I meet is busy. Our computers, smart phones, the Internet and endless cable TV programs have created an environment where we believe we need to be busy every waking hour of the day.
Back before all this technology, I have to admit that I was rarely able to keep my workday to just eight hours. It wasn’t unusual for me to put in 10 hours in the office, as there were opportunities for those of us that were committed to putting in some casual overtime. A conscientious and hardworking employee often became a conscientious and hardworking manager, and I rose to the occasion.
With our smart phones and computers, we now work many more hours as our work will follow us home. Most of the people that I know spend not only a few hours on their computers at home on work-related tasks, but their smart phone will capture their attention long into the evening. People now get up and immediately look at their iPhone or Droid as emails are expected to be replied to within a day and often a business culture requires texts to be replied to within hours.
For those who are not preoccupied with their careers and employers’ demands, there have been plenty of other things that keep us busy. From playing League of Legends on the computer to FarmVille on Facebook, we are busy — and even hurried — through our day.
Being hurried through the day is in deep contrast to the example of Jesus, who never seemed to be in a hurry. Jesus not only refused to be hurried, but prayer and solitude was a regular part of his daily routine. Jesus told his disciples, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place” (Mark 6:31-32). This practice of solitude was a practice of many in the early church. Not only did monks and hermits practice solitude, but the Rules of St. Benedict of prayer, work, study, hospitality and renewal were embraced by both clergy and the common people.
By definition, to hurry is to act with haste, to perform in an unusually accelerated manner. One of the ways to understand what hurry does in our lives is that it makes us scattered, un-deliberate, and seemingly haphazard.
It’s time to slow down. I would actually recommend that we slow down and eliminated some worthless activities, and that we embrace the ancient, but important, discipline of contemplation and solitude.
A great way to start is to find thirty minutes to 60 minutes each day to be quiet. Let’s quiet our smart phone, our TV and computer and discover what it is like to be silent. Being silent and practicing the ever presence of God is a amazing way to begin to hear that inner voice. Being quiet and silent is also a way to reflect on what God is accomplishing or wants to accomplish in our lives. Being silent can be actually more productive in the long run as it builds self and helps us prioritize.
During our quiet time, let’s thank God and listen so that we may hear the answers to the many questions and prayers we have been asking.
Ken Behr is the executive director of Faith Dialogue, a faith-based nonprofit in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.