A guest post by Joy Hunt
Our world puts much emphasis on doing.
I get it. I’m a “doer.”
We learn by doing.
Doing isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Actually, according to James 1:22 we’re supposed to be doers of the Word, and not just readers or knowers. But sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in my to-dos.
You too?! It’s not just me?
Sometimes, I even get so busy that I find myself avoiding Jesus by getting even busier. (I talked about it in this blog post not long ago). Let me tell you, that can steal your joy. That’s not supposed to happen to me…my name is Joy! Literally!
Sometimes our busyness is something we can control. In that case, we need to set good boundaries for ourselves and make sure to practice Sabbath as a spiritual discipline. But sometimes, the busy isn’t something we can control (or something we can get out of right away). If you find yourself overcommitted, you usually can’t just drop everything. And if the busy is a cycle of taking care of kids or trying to make ends meet…you can’t just make that go away.
Embracing Today’s Joy in the Midst of Busyness
The good news is that God’s Word is for our Real Life, and he has provided ways for us to stay on track even when life is beyond crazy. So here are 6 ways to find joy in the midst of busyness.
#1 Don’t go it Alone.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT
It is so important to surround yourself with strong relationships – both family and friends – that will walk the journey with you. I can tell you from personal experience…without those friendships, you can find yourself sinking into depression, losing perspective on life, and falling into sin seemingly out of nowhere because you are so lonely that it’s like your radar doesn’t work. Trust me. I have been there. Ask me about last year sometime. Friends will encourage you, pray for you, do some of the things with you…even step in and rescue you from your schedule every once in a while. Like Galatians 6:2 says, we need to share each other’s burdens. That means you have to find some “each others” to build relationships with first. It won’t come easy for some of us. You may have to knock on a few doors. If that’s you, I really recommend you start with a mentor or leader (I started with my Christian therapist) to help keep some perspective and have someone to talk to while you’re searching for those few friends. Friendships take time to build, but they are SO worth the investment. They will guard you against joy-stealers, for sure.
#2 Hit Pause.
Remember that thing about Sabbath? It was actually created for us (Mark 2:27), because we need it. Learn to practice Sabbath as a spiritual discipline. Learn to stop, even if you don’t think you can take a day off. Take a few hours off. It will be okay. Life won’t come to an end. You will come away from Sabbath re-anchored in your identity as God’s Kid and the mission he created you for. You’ll come away with a clearer mind so the lies of the enemy can’t sneak in behind all the “busy” thought clutter.
#3 Throw off Everything that Hinders
(even if it isn’t sin)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)
Did you notice that distinction there? We are supposed to “strip off every weight that slows us down,” especially sin. That means…there are things that slow us down that aren’t even sin. They are just too much for us…maybe too much for this season. This could be an activity on your schedule. It could be a habit, like TV or social media. Things that aren’t sin can still hinder us and make it hard to run with endurance and perseverance the race before us, because they are holding us back. Ever try running laps pulling a deadweight behind you (or dragging your toddler out of the car)? Not much joy there. You get focused on the deadweight instead of on the race, and it isn’t fun anymore. You lose sight of the prize.
What might be holding you back?
- Unhealthy relationships
- Social media
- Just too many activities
- Too much stuff
- What else?
#4 Let the Gospel Drive your Productivity
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23 (NLT)
This is a hard one sometimes…sometimes there is work that needs to be done that I just don’t want to do. But we were created to work, and our work glorifies God. Whether we are serving in ministry, working in a corporate office or on a manufacturing line, or wiping baby bottoms, our work is for God, not for people. We can find joy in the midst of busyness by remembering who we really work for.
The funny thing is, this will make us better at whatever work we do, and the better we get, the more we will enjoy it! There’s a great book by Matthew Perman called What’s Best Next (affiliate link) about this idea of “gospel-driven productivity.” Because of Jesus – who he is, who he created us to be, and what he has done for us – we want to look for the very best ways to do the work we do, and then work at it with all our heart. Knowing you are working hard AND smart for the best boss ever can help us find joy no matter what work we’re doing or how overwhelmed we feel at times.
#5 Celebrate the Small Things
Make a big deal about them. Be thankful to God for every little victory. I love the mini-celebrations they do on Air1 radio where people call in to celebrate “I folded ALL the laundry!” When we celebrate the small victories, we thank God and get excited about what “me + Jesus” are doing. And thankfulness is one of the quickest paths to joy that I have found. It totally flips your perspective around.
#6 Remember your Why.
(if you don’t have a good one, refer to #3)
If you’re in that busy season and things are crazy right now, on purpose, you need to remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. When you are working really hard to pay off debt like I am, put up reminders of why you are working like a crazy person (and how soon you will be done!). If you are staying home with the kids so they will get the best upbringing, even though money is tight, remind yourself why that relationship is so important. When you don’t have a good reason for why things are nuts right now, you probably need to get rid of some things. (see #3). Life should never be crazy for a prolonged period of time without a good reason, something worth fighting for. So figure out what that something is, and use it to stay clear and focused, to stay motivated and plugged into your joy. Without a “why,” it starts to feel like everything is meaningless, and that feeling is a joy THIEF!
What are some of the ways you hold onto joy in the midst of busyness?
You can embrace today’s joy by taking these few simple ways to follow God’s recipe to stay on track—even when life gets crazy busy!
Joy Hunt is a supply chain professional by day and a pastor and Bible school professor by night. Her mission is to get really nerdy about the Bible and then help YOU connect it to YOUR real life. You can check out her FREE 5-day challenge to Build a Life-Proof Bible Study Habit here. Joy blogs at https://www.realworldbiblestudy.com/