Thursday, September 1, 2022

Busyness - Martha Syndrome

Busy, Busy, Busy. Most people are busy and have no time. I was like that for a long time. I had a lot of things going on and was on the move. Then I came across a few things which made me slow down. First, I had a class on Spiritual Formation in my college. Then I read some books on Spiritual disciplines and ordering private life. It all gave me the encouragement to evaluate my lifestyle.

Last year I experienced something different. As I was battling through my sickness, everything came to a standstill. All of a sudden, I had nothing to do except undergoing treatment.  Not going to work, no emails to respond to, no deadlines to meet, no messages to preach, no ministry assignments, and no shopping or other tasks. It allowed me to evaluate and learn to enjoy being free and not busy.

There are many things to be said about this subject. Let me share a few essential issues. 

Too many options with no boundaries

One of our significant challenges is that we have too many options. We have access to shopping 24/7. Nowadays, we can do most things online anytime. This has created a scenario where we have no boundaries and fail to manage time. We also struggle to focus and can get distracted easily. Social media can keep us engaged for hours without realizing the time lost.  Our phones are also active 24/7 with no downtime. We wake with many messages waiting for our attention. Most of them have no significance, but we still go through all of them to ensure we are not missing out on something.

Nowadays, even little children have a full schedule planned. They are enrolled in every activity and sport possible and are taught busyness from a young age. Too much focus is on managing time without asking if all those activities are valuable and need to be managed. Technology advancements also made us do many things that others did in the past. To save twenty-five dollars, we may spend five hours searching many websites. We fail to realize that time is a precious resource that cannot be purchased by money. 

People also work long hours while productivity has decreased. Some people do not shut down their work laptops and are always available. They do not follow strict work hours because they want to enjoy flexibility. In most cases, the flexibility they desire comes with a hidden cost.        

Busy with Spiritual Activities that result in unordered private life

Another area where people can fall into a trap is when they get busy with activities that are spiritual in nature while they ignore the care for the soul. The classic question is - "Are you so busy for God that you do not have time for God?" Are you so busy with church, ministry, caring for others, evangelism, etc., that your heart is empty and anxious? Your devotional life is not in order, and you are restless deep inside you. This is a dangerous zone as it can make you crash anytime.

Martha Syndrome

I have heard many people criticize Martha, and I have felt bad for her since she was also doing things to serve others. It was not like she was cooking and eating herself. She had a houseful of people and had to ensure everything was taken care of. We read about it in Luke 10:38-42. One thing I noticed is that the core issue was her distraction (Luke 10:40). When she complained that she was doing all the work and her sister Mary was not helping, Jesus gave her a response.

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42, NLT)

There is no need to be worried about all details when there is only one thing worth being concerned about. Sitting at the feet of Jesus is more important than all the distractions and other details. I do not think Jesus asked Martha to ignore all work, but it should not be at the cost of missing out on something more substantial.

All our busyness and distractions will prevent us from discovering what is most important. We should not ignore our relationship with God to accomplish or achieve something in this world. It is not worth it. Let us evaluate what is keeping us busy. Are we wasting our time on unwanted things? In general, is your life in order, or are you dealing with distractions and busyness?

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