Let’s face it, the world we live in is a busy place; all around us people and things grasp at us, pulling us into sphere after sphere of activity and noise and information and participation and responsibility. Daily I struggle with making wise choices that allow me to serve God and my family, while not exhausting myself and leading my heart to a place of disquiet. I want to be like John Wesley who said, “Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry, because I never undertake more work than I can go through with calmness of spirit.”
Gordon MacDonald shares this quote by Wesley in his classic, Ordering Your Private World, one of my very favorite books. In it MacDonald emphasizes over and over again the need to have a strong center, that is, an inner place we draw strength from, a place that we nurture, much like a garden. It’s the place where we meet with God, where God meets with us and speaks to our hearts, teaches our minds, and strengthens our souls for all that we will encounter “out in the world.” It’s what allows us to encounter the struggles of life with “not an ounce of panic; only a calm and deliberate series of actions.”
Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful place to be? But if we allow the busy-ness of life to overwhelm us, and if we make no time for fellowship with God, then we will have no reserve of faith or trust or strength to draw on in times of trial or suffering. We are instead a dry, barren wasteland. MacDonald feels that we make the mistake of actually glorifying busy-ness when we assume that the highly productive (i.e., busy) person, is the most “spiritual.” Isn’t it true that we tend to glorify busy people, viewing them as successful and important because of all that they accomplish?
As I grow older, I find myself admiring people with an obvious sense of peace and calm about them. They often seem to be the ones who have an active prayer life, who know and understand the deep things of God because they have spent time with him and with his word. They are the ones I admire, the ones I want to model my life after. How about you?