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Cover image: “Jesus Christ-Gentle Touch” by Karen Foster.
Think about Jesus for a moment. Maybe you picture him as you’ve seen artists portray him on canvas. You could have an image in your mind of him healing the sick, teaching crowds on a hillside, or suffering in Gethsemane. Sometimes we imagine him inviting little children to come forward. Or turning as a woman touches his robe. Perhaps calling Peter to walk with him on Galilee. Many scenes come to mind.
But one that never does is the frantic busy-ness that seems to grip all of us in today’s high-pressured world. Jesus was not rushing about in near panic, multi-tasking and anxious. He filled his life with purpose and service, yes, but never hurrying and scurrying the way we do.
President Uchtdorf defined the regretful way our lives have become when he said, “we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life.” He said that dying men, in particular, “deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the [daily] treadmill of … work.” (Of Regrets and Resolutions)
And President Spencer W. Kimball once said, “None of us should become so busy in our formal Church assignments that there is no room left for quiet Christian service to our neighbors.”
Quiet Christian service. I love that concept. Unhurried, genuine caring. To our neighbors. People we are not assigned to help, just people we notice. People we can love in our neighborhoods, at work, really wherever we go.
And isn’t this what our new ministering program is about? Clearing our lives of the clutter and the worldly standards of accomplishment so that we can truly feel inspiration and then meet the needs of those brothers and sisters in our stewardship? In our families?
I’ve been guilty of busyness nearly all my life. Yes, I’ve taken time to focus on individuals and try to minister to them, but I’ve also felt the tug to check items off my list, get things done, meet those goals. That drive has made me productive in certain areas, but so what? Are they things of eternal importance? Things that matter more than my neighbors?
In a recent article I mentioned my fear of abandonment because of my mother’s reminders that she wished she could take me back to the adoption agency where they got me. Years later I recognized my behavior in an article about “Hurry Up Syndrome” and realized I was dashing through life trying to accomplish things so I wouldn’t be taken back.
Okay, that’s good to know from the standpoint of understanding where my busyness came from. But I’ve been an adult for many years now, and it’s time to move on, stop trying to earn my keep, time to set my own pace. Everyone who is overly busy needs to figure out why. Whose approval are we seeking? Are we competing with a sibling, a friend, a coworker? Are we trying to justify an area of weakness? There could be dozens of reasons for bustling through life without actually living the way the Savior did.
And that brings us back to Christ. We claim to be Christians. We love him so much we cannot always find words to describe it. We are grateful beyond measure for all he did for us, for his atoning sacrifice. And when he said, “Come, follow me,” we truly want to. So we need to rethink the world’s definition of success, and our own inner voices that tell us to pile on the tasks and busy-up our lives.
Let’s not be too busy for quiet Christian service. Let’s slow it down, inhale, exhale, and take a wide view. Let’s see others as our literal brothers and sisters. Let’s listen to them, serve them, cry with them, laugh with them, and simply be present. We will live a richer life, and even feel more nurtured by the Spirit. We will sense the rightness in our choices as we come closer to Christ’s way of doing things. Once again, His way is best, and leads to the joy and contentment we all want.
Hilton’s LDS novel, Golden, is available in paperback and on Kindle. All her books and YouTubeMom videos can be found on her website. She currently serves as an Interfaith Specialist for Public Affairs.