Busyness and Idolatry (Rebelling Against Exhaustion, Part 2)
(to read part 1 in this series, click here)
I recently read a Washington Post interview with author Brené Brown. It was the title of the article that struck me - "Exhaustion Is Not a Status Symbol." My first thought was, "No, exhaustion IS a status symbol. But it SHOULDN'T be one."
Exhaustion becomes a status symbol when we equate being busy with being productive, and being productive with being significant. Sure, we pretend to hate being busy, and perhaps we genuinely do dislike all the demands on our schedule. It might be all from one source, such as a high-pressure job, or it could be from many different corners, such as the family calendar with every bit of white space covered with rehearsals, classes, events, meetings, appointments, etc. Whatever the reason, we are busy. And if we are not busy, something feels wrong.
Empty space in our day or week is unproductive time, and unproductive time is wasted time. That is the minset of a culture that values people as units of production. "What are you doing with your time? Time is money!"
Consequently, we feel the pressure to stay busy. And in doing so, we accept the judgment that our worth comes from what we do. And finding our worth and value outside of God is idolatry. In the Brené Brown interview mentioned above, she mentions the fear at the heart of this idolatry: "One of the biggest shame triggers at work for us is relevance. Our fear is that we’ll be perceived as not relevant or not necessary."
The Sabbath rest of God points us the other way. That is one reason that resting according to God's command is not just a practical concern, but a spiritual one. Sabbath rest is a confession of faith. In resting, we remind ourselves and others that we do not find our value in our output. We don't need to be relevant or even necessary to be cherished and loved. Our value is based on our adoption into God's family, which we receive by grace in Jesus Christ.
Take time to rest, as God calls us to. Force the white space onto your calendar. Let it remind you that Christ has done all that needs to be done to secure your worth.