‘Busy’ was the response I got when I asked a ministry friend how things were going. It wasn’t a cry for help, but a battle cry. We are in the trenches of ministry and love to show off our scars. Being busy for Jesus is what makes you valuable right? There are different seasons in ministry, busy, very busy and burnout. Busy is not a virtue, it is not a badge of honor. I encourage you to take a moment to read Mark 6:30-32.
“People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.” BUSY. I’ve had days where I missed lunch because I was so consumed by the tasks at hand. Truth be told, I could probably benefit from missing a meal and I do love getting wrapped up in task or project. Being busy is a problem, but it’s a good problem to have. The day blazes by and there is rarely a dull moment. There is so much to do in building the kingdom of God and all work toward that end if valuable. Busy = Value.
Where is your value? Is it the number of people involved in your ministry, the percentage of teenagers that stick around after Confirmation, or the number of hats you wear at your church? We have value beyond our productivity. So often I find my worth in doing. It is part of our culture; we ask a person what they do for a living to find out about who they are. If you won the lottery today, would you quit your job tomorrow? I think most people would, but I think a case could be made that most in ministry would not. So there is value in what you do… it’s just not where YOUR value is found.
Your value is found in being, in who you are. A beloved child of God, a person worth dying for on a cross, that is who you are. You are more than your gift. You are more than your title. You are more than what your church asks you to be. You are as anointed and loved off the clock as you are on the clock. You are not a function.
But… you are also busy. Here are a few ways that can help break you out of the cycle of doing so that you can dwell in your value as being.
- Go away with Jesus. Mark 6: 31-32 is great. Jesus ask the disciples to come away with him to rest (31) and in the next verse they do exactly that. Make prayer central at the beginning of your day. When you sit down at your desk take 3 minutes before turning on your computer and offer God your day and ask him what the most important tasks are for you. Keep this spirit of prayer throughout the day and respond to the promptings of prayer throughout the day.
- Make it God’s ministry. Break the cycle of co-dependency with your ministry. Do not believe the lie that your value couldn’t exist without the ministry and the ministry couldn’t exist without you. Take some planned and prudent absences from your ministry to rest, retreat or be formed. Allow others to lead both in your presence and in your absence. This sends a clear message to others and most importantly toward you that the ministry is Christ-Centered, not you-centered.
- Build in a rhythm of Sabbath. Yes, we find that we often work on Sundays, but when is your Sabbath. I find that Monday works best for me, but I struggle to completely withdraw. My wife reminds me to leave my phone on silent and not check work email. My family is a blessing from God and fills me up when I am completely present to them. Find a Sabbath or you will be missing God.
- Learn to shift gears. Studies show that a bed time routine and a good morning ritual are valuable in a variety of ways. As you are leaving ministry mode, what are some things you can do to allow yourself to be fully present to your personal and family life? Do something that shifts gears. I have found that silence on the car ride home helps if it’s been a particularly difficult day. Changing clothes once I get home also puts me into a different mindset. Finally I put my phone on silent and leave it on the counter. Find something that works for you, but make sure that you have times where you are unavailable to the ministry so you can be completely available to your personal life. If something vital comes up at the ministry, know that God has a plan for it, just like He always has. When God invites us in to that plan, He does so in a way that blesses us, not in a way that burdens us.
We can only pour out what has been poured into us. Take time today to do something about ‘busy’ so you can make time to simply be God’s beloved. It’s who you are.
Share below the things you do to steer clear of the badge of honor we call being busy.