“How are you?”
Such a common phrase, often said more as a passing greeting than an actual question. Our responses typically don’t go too deep either:
“Fine.” Or “I’m good.” (Even if we’re not really either).
The one I seem to hear more and more lately: “Busy”
Or some combination of them “busy but good”.
Something struck me recently about how often I use that phrase when it doesn’t even really apply. It’s simply a socially acceptable way to respond when you don’t really know how to respond. While life is pretty good for me right now, I know there have been plenty of times when I share with my closest friends that I often don’t know how to respond to the casual “How are you?” greetings. When things aren’t going well, I find myself pulling out one of these side-truths. “Busy” sound so much better in our culture than simply admitting we’re having a bad day.
I’m sad at realizing what this often inadvertently communicates to people around me. Perhaps that “I’m too busy for you.”
I also hate what this communicates to my own soul. The hurry. The resistance to rest. The chicken-with-her-head cut off. Even in seasons of full schedule, “busy” is not who I am.
I am loved. I am valued. I am adored. I am powerful. I am Rebekah. I am being used by God. I am hopeful. I am sad sometimes. I am joyful. I am a kingdom worker. I’m a daughter, sister, aunt, teammate, teacher, encourager, missionary, friend.
And while those things don’t each individually make up my identity, I am so much more than “busy”.
So for today, and the rest of Lent, and prayerfully, the rest of my life, I give up “busy” being an acceptable response in my life to the “How are you?” question. I also give up busy as a state of my soul. Things will happen that will frazzle me. There will be plenty of times, especially in the coming months, where my schedule will be packed full. But I choose to not let busyness steal my soul.
I will rest. I will laugh. I will be honest about how I am doing in the middle of the full schedules. I will pay attention to my body and my heart and take care of myself. I will say no to some things in order to save my “yes” for the best things. And more than that, I will take time every day to sit at the feet of Jesus and let him remind me who I really am apart from any of the “busyness”.
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Lord, in the middle of what can seem like a busy life, remind me that I am so much more than “busy”. I confess my busyness and the way it impacts my heart and potentially the hearts of people around me. May I be fully present wherever I am. May I never get so busy for you that I neglect just being with you. Help me to slow down and remember my job is simply to abide in you as a branch abides in a Vine, to trust You will provide all I need that my life may bear fruit. I love you and thank you for loving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen!