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The Sin of Busyness

Vanessa Luu

Contributing Writer
Updated Aug 18, 2023
The Sin of Busyness

 I think we have often overlooked that God wasn't extending an invitation to rest after six days of work; he was commanding it because it's that important.

The pace at which we live our lives is insane. It's unbelievable how busy we keep ourselves, whether believers or not. It's one of the ways the world has influenced us. We have been convinced that busyness, for the kingdom's sake, is not only okay but required, which is false.

I've been guilty of this sin many times, and while God forgives me, practicing this sin doesn't help me to flourish in His love and truth.

God knows we need real rest and communion with Him. He created us! He knows everything we need. God knows how essential rest is and that without rest, we flail and eventually flop. 

When God delivered the ten commandments, He gave us a hefty amount of scripture regarding the Sabbath, the day of rest. God focused a lot on the importance of resting after six days of work. I think we have often overlooked that God wasn't extending an invitation to rest after six days of work; he was commanding it because it's that important.

Jesus gave us a new covenant, and now we aren't bound to the laws we find in the Old Testament, but those laws are good. These laws could never be outdated or irrelevant, but we are no longer bound to them because Christ fulfilled them! So what does that mean for us? 

When we abide in Christ, we will submit to these laws through the power of the Holy Spirit, including the submission to rest. If we don't abide in Christ, any laws we manage to keep are achieved only in our flesh and worth nothing. What I find funny is that to abide in Christ, we must obey the command to rest, but to obey faithfully, we must abide in Christ. They are inextricably linked.

Why is it so hard for us to rest if rest is necessary? It's because we are addicted to busyness, and like any addiction, it's hard to break even though it has little to no payout. 

We stay busy so that we don't have to think or feel. We stay busy to synthesize a sense of purpose. We wear busyness as a badge of honor, and we all are worn out from it, but we can't seem to get off the never-ending merry-go-round. I know because I am stuck on this merry-go-round too. We stay busy because we're afraid of what will happen if we don't.

When you break it down, busyness is the sin of worry; busyness is a lack of trust. I know it's painful to hear because it's painful for me to write it out. Don't be downhearted, though; this painful truth doesn't mean we don't trust God at all. It means we are still being sanctified (a work in progress). We are still learning and growing. We can praise God for that!

I know that Jesus wants me to rest, to practice a Sabbath, a day set apart to sit with Him, worship Him, and let Him restore me for the next week to come, but I can't seem to give up all my work. I think if I could sincerely keep a true Sabbath, I probably wouldn't be so tired during the week. What do you think?

The secret is we value productivity more than rest. Our bodies and minds can be screaming for rest, yet we'll try to squeeze out some accomplishment even when we have no steam left. For example, yesterday, I was wiped out. My body was so heavy with fatigue, and I wanted to lay down and do nothing, but that didn't sound very efficient, especially if I could eek something out on my computer while I sat for a minute. I didn't leave God out of it; I was praying, what should I do with this time, Lord? I heard, rest, and my response was, okay, I'll rest, but I should do this too, right?

I did move over to the couch and attempted to catch a twenty-minute nap because I couldn't deny that God was calling me to stop and take a break, but the nap was interrupted, and my sleep was broken. Does that happen to you? When it happens to me, I resolve that God probably didn't want me to nap, and now I just wasted time. But that sounds more like the enemy's work because God wants me to rest; it's written all over His Holy Word!

I also know from experience that God wants me to rest because when I faithfully abide with Him, He's shown me how fruitful it is.

It's also hard for us to quit our busyness and surrender to God's rest because, as Christians, we are made to feel guilty for being tired. Books I read and people of influence that I listen to deliver the subtle message that if we were really a child of God, we would never tire because the Holy Spirit lives inside us. I frequently wrestle with thoughts like these, but God always brings me the same outcome. You are to be Christ-like, but you are not Christ and never will be. 

We can not walk perfectly like Jesus and weren't meant to. Let's not forget Jesus took naps and often went away by Himself to pray and be restored! "But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray." -Luke 5:16 (NASB)

We are told that because of Jesus, we can do anything! "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:13 (NASB) But Paul means that we are equipped to do everything God calls us to do. This scripture is not a license to do everything we think we should do and believe that we'll have the strength to do it, and it doesn't mean we should work past the level of exhaustion. 

Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses, but we still require rest, just like following the rest of the laws would do our souls a world of good, so don't avoid it, demonize it, or discount it. Resting our bodies and resting in the Spirit is part of God's design and plan.

He has equipped us with everything we need to do the work He's placed on our hearts! We don't need to worry about being good enough to accomplish something. If God has called us to do it, we have everything to do it! And part of what we need is Him by our side, filling us up with every good thing from His Holy Spirit. It's pretty spectacular and empowering!

I encourage you to take all your desires to the Lord and lay them at His feet. Ask Him to show you what to say yes to and what to say no to. I know He will, and you can rest assured you have everything you need to accomplish these works, including His rest.

God never intended us to live at this speed and be consumed by busyness for the rest of our lives. He has excellent work planned out for us (Ephesians 2:8-10), and we will accomplish it when we trust Him with our schedules. 

I'll be the first to admit it feels impossible to cultivate a mindset of rest and trust in God's timing when we live in a world that refuses to slow down. Even thinking about slowing down provokes anxiety because we feel we'll drop behind everyone else, but I'm sure you'll realize that in that case, busyness isn't only an addiction; it's an idol. 

We put our status in the world above our obedience to God, and it doesn't even benefit us! So let's all pray that God will help us rebuke the sin of busyness, cultivate stillness and worship before God our Father and let Him truly direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/track5

Vanessa Luu is a wife, mother, and faith-based writer. She speaks and writes to believers to encourage them to live authentically with God.