Surrendering Busy for Being Still by Kristin Ungerecht
I've always been a doer. I like to say that I have a Martha complex. I tend to be the woman moving about the room, serving and planning and making things come together. Sometimes it's done with the smooth precision that comes from walking in your gifts... and other times I'm running around frazzled as I seek to accomplish each to-do.
I've been this way for as long as I can recall. I remember a time in high school that a friend told me that they admired how much I was doing at my age. I was the student on honor roll and the girl in volunteer clubs. I made websites for fun and poured my time and energy into them. In college, I was the girl who did her work and did it well, without fail. As an adult, that's translated into being a woman who likes to be involved and can juggle quite a bit at one time.
This habit of mine to work hard wasn't something I saw as a problem. I have a good work ethic. I get things done. I enjoy serving in volunteer positions, missions and ministry. I love the work that I've been called to do. I like the sense of purpose in my days that often comes through the things I find myself doing. The natural bent in me to do wasn't – and isn't – the problem.
The problem comes when the doing becomes the basis of who I am.
The problem comes when the doing overtakes all else.
The problem comes when I don't stop doing.
The problem comes when my doing becomes busy.
You see, I tend to be a Martha.
As in, I'm not as easily a Mary, a woman who sits at the feet of Jesus – still and settled.
At least I wasn't until recently.
Over the last year, I've had to surrender my busy. The Lord began to strip away the things that were taking up my time, one by one. I found myself exhausted in that space where doing became habitual busy. My busy was full of good things, and I think that's what made it so hard for me to see past it to the heart of the issue – my heart.
When I began grieving several losses in my life last year, the Lord brought me to the realization that I was incapable of keeping up with the pace of my life. He showed me that the pace I was living out wasn't one He wanted for me; it was one I had set myself. I realized that I needed to slow down. And as Jesus gently held out His hand to me in an invitation to rest with Him, my heart had to bow down in surrender.
I had to leave behind several volunteer positions, places I was serving and doing good. I had to surrender places and people I loved in order to settle in more fully at the feet of Jesus. I had to surrender the pride of accomplishing and achieving in order to still my body and my spirit before Him. I had to surrender everything that made my doing into my busy in order to enter into a place of rest.
When I started to shed the excess, the weight of busy began to lighten. I started to see that when I take a good thing and don't let go of it at the right time, it blackens right in my hand. When I held it all in my hands – every piece of my life, my doing and my being - and stood palms-open, it was an offering. The release of my busy happened slowly, over several months. But when it was done, I experienced a deep sense of freedom that allowed me to sink down into the rest the Father so ardently desired to give to me.
I'm still a doer. I still have a good work ethic. I still love the work I'm called to do in this season of my life. I still get things done, and I still love missions and ministry. The difference is that now I have a greater understanding of the importance of rest at the feet of Jesus. It's become the standard by which I operate. I'm thankful for the faithfulness the Lord showed me during this season – for this dependency on Him and this deepening of my understanding of rest and work, of busyness and being still.
Through all of this, I learned that rest is a gift- one that is found only in Christ. It's a treasure you can't receive if your hands are already full and fisted tight. Busy creates noise that fills the ears and captures focus. It distracts. It seeks to define. It can destroy. Busy was never meant to be apart of our being. Our identity is found in Christ alone, and He has ordained our rest just as much as He has ordained our work.
So we surrender – every to-do, every title, every task – to the Lord.
And we sit, still and settled by His side to soak in His presence.
May all of our doing always come from a rested state of being.
KRISTIN UNGERECHT is a twenty-something lamb with a lion-heart. Writing with her heart on her sleeve and tea in her hand, she enjoys cheering others on in their lives through her encouragement email community and her cozy pocket of the web, And So We Are. She loves bold lipstick, mornings in the Word, missions trips to Ecuador, wide smiles and warm hugs. Connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.