Redefining Busy

by Jennifer Acker

Busy: adjective (‘bi-zē) | engaged in action, full of activity; marked by much life

Synonyms: active, bustling, hopping, knee-deep, swamped, absorbed, engrossed, flourishing, immersed, overflowing, engaged, and thriving.

Forms of busy: Busily, busyness, busied, busying

The Children’s Ministry schedule was busier than usual in mid-January, REALLY busy. January 18-24 was exceptionally busy for Children’s Ministry. There was planned busyness and unexpected busyness (I’ll call that “bonus busyness”). I hear all the time (and I say) that we need to “slow down”, “unplug”, “quiet the busy”, and “disconnect” in order to connect with God, and then I look at the schedule and I wonder what happened to the quiet time!

Honestly, the plan was to “push through” the busyness of that week, to make sure everything went well and then take half a day off to rest. However, in reality, I felt more connected to God than I ever thought possible during those seven days.

Plans for day one were to finalize plans and set up. Instead, we witnessed God’s blessing of incredible teamwork with the Children’s Ministry staff.

Day two was to be a full day, including a Skype meeting with other Children’s Directors, and a parent meeting for Created by God (a human sexuality class for 5th/6th graders) that evening.

The Skype meeting was a blessing, presenting an opportunity to connect to others who serve in Children’s Ministry at other churches. It was a reminder of why we serve in Children’s Ministry and an inspirational jumping point for the week. “Bonus busyness” resulted in me co-leading the parent meeting for Created by God instead of just attending. We were surrounded by incredible parents who wanted their children to know and understand they were created by an amazing God who loves them.

Days three and four found me assisting with small groups for Created by God on Friday evening and all day Saturday. We were blessed by the presence of children who were very interested learning about their ever-changing bodies. We watched (and helped) as the children began to develop a fuller understanding of how they are created by God. Our contribution was to ensure the children heard about sexuality from a Christian perspective instead of only cultural and media influences about sexuality.

 Day five was full, morning at church, Family Ties class, and Mission Possible Kids. The morning at church was overflowing with smiling, eager faces who were excited to worship together and grow as disciples. The Family Ties class was exciting and all 35+ people, kids and adults, absorbed the information and practiced calming down, deep breathing, and connecting with God by laying on the floor of the Fellowship Hall with their “Belly Buddy” stuffed animals. Later, we witnessed the excitement of Mission Possible Kids as they flourished and packed 225 lunches to give to the day laborers (many of whom are homeless) at the Fort Worth Stock Show.

Day six, almost there, a full day ahead followed by an evening Children’s Ministry Team meeting. The Children’s Ministry Team was immersed in wonderful discussion and brainstorming with a level of excitement that has this ministry area thriving in the work we do to support the spiritual growth of our children and their families.

I made it! Day seven, the “day of rest and respite.” However, the day quickly shaped up to be just as busy as the others. Strangely, instead of exhaustion, I felt energized by the 80+ precious children at Day School Chapel. I was engrossed in the meetings and knee-deep in finalizing Lent plans…and I was invigorated! Several of us were engrossed in brainstorming ideas to help the children (and the entire congregation) go deeper, connect with God during Lent, and grow as disciples.

Reflecting on my “busy”, I didn’t just “push through” those seven days. I absorbed and savored every moment of them. I found no need to take that half-day to rest. I was energized and ready to move forward with the next thing. You see, we weren’t just “busy” those seven days; we were busy WITH GOD. We were busy doing the work that God has called us to do. We were busy encouraging children and their families to deepen their relationship with God, connect with people and purpose, and to grow as disciples.

So, I am redefining my “busy”. Adding “God” to the definition of “busy” and to the synonyms and related words listed above for “busy”, reflects a better picture of the ACTUAL “busyness” that we experienced that week.

We were “engaged in action” for God.
We were “full of activity” for God.
We had “much life in us” for God.
We were “active, bustling, hopping, and knee-deep” in God’s work.
We were “swamped, absorbed, and engrossed” in God’s work.
We were “flourishing” in God’s work.
We were “immersed, overflowing, engaged, and thriving” in God’s work.
We were busy with God’s work and God’s work was the very thing that kept us going.

Yes, we need quiet time to ourselves, quiet time with God, and yes, we need time to rest.

In that week, I needed busy time with God, with people, and with purpose. Yes, it was a long, hard week but I feel like I grew in my discipleship with God in the midst and as a result of it.

Therefore, I have set aside all of my quotes and prayers (for now) about being still and quiet to connect with God and this quote has become my mantra during this season:

“Be so busy loving God, loving others and loving your life that you have no time for regret, worry, fear, or drama.” –Adapted from Karen Salmansohn

 I hope you will consider how will you prepare for and reflect on your “busy” going forward.

I will continue to be watchful each day to be sure that my “busy” involves God.

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