I just started my last semester of school a few weeks ago. I think there was a small piece of me that thought it was going to be really chill, that I could sort of sit back, enjoy, and just let everything sort of happen while I cruise on closer to graduation.
This has been, by far, the busiest I have ever been during my entire college career.
When I left camp this summer, one of the things I prayed about was being able to make the most of my time. I hate laziness and I feel like it’s something that’s easy to fall into – especially when you’re in college and may find that you have a 5 hours break between classes or work or whatever it is that you have to do. I loved being busy at camp – literally every second of my day was filled – and so that’s what I asked God for. I wanted to be productive and be intentional with every moment.
Sometimes I wonder why I ask God for certain things.
If I have any free time at all, it is spent doing homework and studying for a class that literally requires all of my brain power in order to understand the material. When I’m not in class or doing homework, I am either at work, at CRU, in Bible study, meeting with people, or wedding planning.
Yes, that’s right. Wedding planning. A month ago today, actually, I got engaged to my best friend and – not going to lie – I’m pretty pumped about getting married 6 months from now. The fact that God has blessed me with a man whose desire is to glorify God with his life continuously blows me away. And then when I think about the fact that we get to spend our lives serving God together…I seriously can hardly contain my excitement. 🙂
And so with that engagement obviously comes a lot of planning and trying to figure out what’s going to happen next – where will we live? Where will I get a job? Where will the wedding be? (Yeah, still working on that one!) All these things, on top of everything else, is kind of a lot.
Needless to say, I’ve been busy. Preocuppied, even.
I’ve had a few conversations lately with some of my friends, and they are currently in similar situations in that they are just busy. Everything just seems to be on the fast track. There is always something that probably should have been done yesterday. There are always relationships that need to be invested in. There is always something.
I have been tempted in the midst of all this busyness to turn inward. I’ve had the thought process that I just have too much going on, that certain other things need to take a back seat. I have struggled with my time with God – when I sit down to have some time with Him, I find my mind wandering, or I end up jotting down To Do lists during the middle of my quiet time. I forget to ask about the lives of my friends and family around me. I forget to take all of my decisions to God in prayer. I forget to pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Because I’m busy. I have a lot on my plate right now. And that’s a pretty good excuse. Right?
I was reading in John 16 the other day, where Jesus is talking with His disciples during His last hours on earth. Just for some context, Jesus also spent chapters 14 and 15 talking to His disciples about how He was going to be leaving them. Jesus’ disciples didn’t understand the gravity of the things He was saying, but Jesus was basically equipping the disciples with the things they needed to know once Jesus was gone.
At the end of chapter 16, after Jesus has explained that He won’t be with the disciples much longer, Jesus says this:
“But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”
Jesus was talking about the fact that the disciples were going to leave Him. When everything was on the line, when Jesus was arrested and taken away to be crucified, His disciples would scatter. I was thinking about the fact that Jesus knew this was going to happen. He knew his closest friends were going to desert Him. He knew He was hours away from bearing God’s wrath – the wrath that we rightly deserved. He knew He was going to have to endure unimaginable pain.
If anyone had a reason or excuse to be preocuppied with Himself or His own problems, it was Jesus.
Understatement: He had a lot going on. There were so many things on His mind and heart. Can you imagine the burden He carried? Knowing that He would endure the wrath of God?
The next verse in chapter 16 says this:
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I think it is remarkable that even in the midst of a time when Jesus had such an incredible burden on His heart – when He had so much to be thinking about and doing – He was still concerned for His disciples. He wanted to give them peace, comfort them, and pour into them. He didn’t just spend three chapters doing that – He spent His entire ministry pouring into these guys. And His ministry didn’t just stop there, but He affected every person He came in contact with.
And then, even more amazingly, in chapter 17 of John Jesus spends time in communication with God. In His most “preocuppied” moments, He doesn’t push God to the side, but rather He takes His concerns to God. He prays for His situation, His disciples, and for the entire world.
I doubt there is anyone who would say that they have “too much free time,” or that they don’t have things on their mind, things that burden them. I think a trap that is easy to fall into – one that I have to continually be on my guard for – is thinking that we are too busy to be loving and serving our brothers and sisters in Christ, and sharing the Gospel with others. Christ never lost sight of His goal while He was here on earth – He finished in the most extravagant way.
My prayer is that I would never hide behind “busyness” or use it as an excuse for not spending myself for Jesus. Time is short. We’re in spiritual warfare. There is a sense of urgency. There are people who don’t know the love of Christ. I pray that we would never rest until our race is finished (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).