The spirit of busyness i think is one of the enemy’s best tricks that he is successfully using on God’s people. We are living in a fast paced world where those who are always busy are highly admired. You know that feeling of telling everyone how busy you are and how you don’t even have a minute to yourself? Yeah that is what i mean. Busy people are respected in our society. They are given an audience because we feel we don’t have enough time with them. So we cherish the few seconds we have whenever we are with them.
This has created the need to be always busy in us. A mindset that is robbing us of the blessings that comes with enjoying the gifts God has given us. We are enslaved to work. The new “cool term” for it is hustling. Young people love saying they are hustlers as this gives an aura of being hardworking.
Being slaves to the Egyptians for around 400 years made the children of Israel used to the lifestyle of work, work, work. As slaves, they had no time for themselves. I’m sure initially they didn’t like it. However after being in it for so long, they got so used to this routined lifestyle that they forgot what freedom looked and felt like. They were used to being under harsh leadership that even when God delivered them miraculously from the hands of Pharaoh who was the ruler of the land of Egypt at the time, they complained and wished they were still in bondage when they experienced lack on their journey to the promised land. Shocking how a free man would prefer slavery over freedom. That is exactly what routine does to us.
In Exodus 16, we see an extraordinary story of how God miraculously provided manna and quail for the children of Israel.
21 After this the people gathered the food morning by morning, each family according to its need. And as the sun became hot, the flakes they had not picked up melted and disappeared. 22 On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much as usual—four quarts[e] for each person instead of two. Then all the leaders of the community came and asked Moses for an explanation. 23 He told them, “This is what the Lord commanded: Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath day set apart for the Lord. So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what is left for tomorrow.”
24 So they put some aside until morning, just as Moses had commanded. And in the morning the leftover food was wholesome and good, without maggots or odor. 25 Moses said, “Eat this food today, for today is a Sabbath day dedicated to the Lord. There will be no food on the ground today. 26 You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.”
27 Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food.
God gave them instructions on how to manage the blessing that He gave them. God never gives a blessing without a restriction tied to it. This He does to avoid that blessing from being abused. Anything God gives us is to be used for His glory. Boundaries helps us to achieve this. But what do we do sometimes, just like Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and the children of Israel in this passage? We overstep our boundaries.
The boundaries placed on the blessings at the garden of Eden was that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not to be eaten. Everything else was ok. But we know how that story ended. Just in case you don’t know, Adam and Eve ate the fruit. This action came with consequences. (See Genesis 2 and 3).
Deliverance that was given to Lot and his family from being destroyed in Sodom and Gomorrah came with a boundary as well. They were told not to look back. The story didn’t end well because Lot lost his wife as a result of her disobedience. (Genesis 19)
The provision of manna came with a boundary too. The boundary attached to this blessing was that it wasn’t to be collected on the sabbath day. However despite God speaking through Moses that there won’t be any manna on the sabbath day, some people still decided to go out and pick. And what they found is exactly something we all can relate with when we overstep our boundaries. They found no food.
They went out early to go pick food but there was nothing. Their labour was futile. Their work was in vain because God didn’t bless that particular one. The grace of God wasn’t available for that morning.
As you read this, i would like you to do something i have started doing since i realised that i have been doing things wrong. Take an inventory of your life. Have you overstepped your boundary in any way? This isn’t just in circular things but also in our ministries. There is a spiritual order God has put in place for us to be able to function effectively. And when this order is disrupted, we can’t fully enjoy the blessings assigned to that call.
Here is a quick checklist that might help you determine if you have overstepped your boundary in any way.
- When you no longer look forward to doing that thing you used to enjoy.
- When you are doing what you used to do and putting in more effort but no fruits to show for your hard labour.
- When you begin to lack inspiration for that thing.
- When it becomes more of a routine instead of a fulfilling thing.
- When it starts affecting your relationship with others negatively. When i mean others i mean the people who you know should really be in your life.
- When it begins to rob you of your peace.
- When you start having sleepless nights.
When you realise any of this sign, then it’s time to rethink.
My blogging routine is for me to upload a new post on mondays and thursdays normally. Sticking to this with a husband and 3 kids sometimes can be very challenging. I realised that i have put myself under undue pressure to hit my target. Hitting this target sometimes requires me to sacrifice every free minute i have to reading, studying and meditating to get inspiration on what to write about. Many times after praying, i have sat by my computer, forcing myself to write something and nothing comes into my head. I have struggled for hours and i couldn’t even come up with a sentence.
I realised that was God’s way of telling me that i was overstepping my boundary in this area. There was no grace covering that time. That time was for something else. There was a day my husband came back from work and i was so focused on writing that i didn’t welcome him properly. I was trying to write but there was no word coming into my head. I was focused. Not distracted but not yielding anything. Instantly the Holy Spirit told me to close my computer and go serve my husband. Ability/skill/gift to write is a blessing but it yielded no result when I overstepped my boundary.
When we remain within the boundaries God has provided, we harvest so much that we are able to enjoy peacefully. However, when we step out of it, we harvest nothing. I am sure you know or have heard about people who work extremely hard and they have nothing to show for it.
Not every free minute should be used up. Sometimes it’s ok to sit still and do nothing to allow your mind reboot and reset. Not every date in your calendar should be used up. It’s ok to have days when you stay on your pyjamas all day playing board games with your family. Not every free time should be spent running to church to do ministry. It’s ok to spend that time relaxing on the couch with your spouse. I am by no means saying you shouldn’t go to church or do ministry but know when you are getting worn out or when your family is starting to miss you because you are always away.
There is time for everything. Know when to stop. We will find rest when we stay and remain in order.