Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadDuration: 12:42
There’s real pain in busyness and stress. Naturally, we want to escape that pain as quickly as possible. But don’t be so eager to reduce stress that you miss the blessings God could have for you in the midst of your pain.
Although these times of stress aren’t caused by God, our sovereign God uses everything (even the results of our own sins) for our ultimate good – transforming us to be more like Christ.
So take some time to consider your busyness and your stress. What could God be trying to say to you in the midst of this storm?
Now Providing Transcripts
A few people have mentioned to me that it would be helpful to have outlines of the podcast or transcripts. I’ve provided a full transcript below, adding in subheadings for easier reading. Please let me know if this is a feature you like!
Feel free to add to the discussion below the transcript:
Photo Credit: jack_a_daniel (Creative Commons)
Welcome to the Life of a Steward Podcast. From Biblical instruction to systems and tips to motivation and inspiration, we look at time management from a Christian perspective. We want to make the most of our time, not to make much of us but to make much of him. Not to earn anything but because he’s already earned it. Join me as we seek together to live the Life of a Steward.
In this episode, we’ll look at how God could be blessing us in the middle of our busyness by using that stressful time to teach us and make us more like Christ.
Hello. This is Loren Pinilis again from Lifeofasteward.com and welcome to another episode of the Life of a Steward podcast.
A lot’s going on in my life right now. My wife just had some minor back surgery done – she had a herniated disc. The surgery went really well, she’s had a great recovery, but it’s just been difficult on us as a family in this time with two little toddlers running around and household chores needing to get done and my wife can’t lift anything for weeks. So a lot’s going on.
But the great thing is that God is really growing me in a lot of ways and giving me a glimpse of what it’s like to be a stay at home mother and the struggles and the issues that my wife faces and how that affects us as a couple.
So I’m thankful that God is teaching me in this time, and I hope equipping me to minister to others. I’m really thankful for that silver lining. And of course the other silver lining is that my wife is doing great. She’s eager to get back on her feet. She’s had a lot of back pain for a long while and she’s eager to be better.
Call For Questions
So for all the mothers, the fathers, the stay at home parents, the don’t stay at home parents – I’ve been really conscious lately about how there are so many struggles with time management in families and with parent and everything going on in the house.
So if you have any questions, send them on. You can email me at podcast [at] lifeofasteward.com or contact me on twitter at @lifeofasteward, facebook at Life of a Steward – or there’s a contact form on Life of a Steward.com.
I’ve already had a few questions and I’m really eager to answer those, I’ve just been contemplating the answer. Thinking through things so I can answer appropriately and that I answer well.
So if you have any questions at all, I’ll do my best. I’d love to explore this area further. So send your questions to podcast [at] lifeofasteward.com. I appreciate it, and let’s go ahead and dive in.
Pain Reduction Is the First Impulse
It seems that being overly busy is a huge problem in our society. Not only in terms of the number of people who are affected but in the severity and the depths of busyness that we face.
There are tons of books and articles and podcasts and programs talking about how to reduce busyness and stress. How to restore peace and tranquility into your life.
A lot of times we feel the pain of busyness and we just react. We want the pain to go away. So we’re seeking out all of these programs and books and materials to make the pain go away. Just get it over with. Make it stop.
Look for the Blessing
But here’s my question to you today: Could there be some benefit right now hidden in your busyness? Could there be a blessing from God in the midst of your stress?
Let me state right off the top, I’m not saying in this podcast that you should just suck it up and stay busy and stressed. I’m not saying that you should achieve as much as you can no matter the cost. I’m not saying that the blessing in busyness is increased achievement. I’m not saying that the blessing of stress is increased productivity.
That may be what a lot of people think I’m saying, but that’s not the blessing that I’m referring to.
The Nature of the Blessing
Instead, I believe the blessing is this: what could God be teaching you in the middle of this trial in your life? In the middle of this time of suffering?
Because trials and suffering don’t have to be cancer or death or job loss – it could just be a period of stress.
I believe that God is sovereign. Scripture clearly teaches – Romans 8:28 – that everything that happens in our life has a purpose – the purpose of teaching us, growing us, and transforming us to look more like Christ.
God can do that with cancer. He can do it with natural disasters. He can do it with our own sins. Even though God hates sin and he doesn’t cause us to sin, he can still use it for good in our lives.
So in the midst of pain – even pain caused by our own mistakes and our own sins – we can ask ourselves, what is God wanting me to learn? How can I grow in this time?
The Refiner’s Fire
In Isaiah 48:10, God speaks to the nation of Israel:
“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.”
God allows pain and suffering and trials in our life to refine us, so let’s ask the question today: what does God want us to learn?
Well, if you continue reading in that passage from Isaiah 48:
“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.”
Here we see the reason God refined Israel – to eliminate idols in their lives. “My glory I will not give to another.”
God Shows Us: Idolatry
Suffering can be God’s way of dealing with idols in our lives and in our hearts. So what does our busyness teach us about our idols? That’s what we have to ask ourselves.
Are you cramming your schedule full because you crave the praise of men and you want to be known as someone who works really hard and really achieves a lot?
Are you striving for more earthly success – whether that’s money, whether that’s honor, prestige, celebrity?
Perhaps you feel very valuable if you’re busy and when you look in the mirror, you see a valuable person because your schedule is full? Perhaps it’s a pride issue.
Perhaps you want to remain busy so that you can feel superior to other people?
Maybe you want to be the one doing everything because you think you’re the only one good enough to do things the correct way
Or maybe – and this is a weird one, but I’ve seen it happen – maybe it’s even that you like the idea that you’re being taken advantage of. You don’t want to let anyone else pull their fair share because you want to make it out to be where you’re the one that’s putting so much on the line and you’re the one who’s sacrificing. That’s ultimately pride. Pride is just a twisted heart attitude which can manifest itself in so many ways.
Maybe the reason you’re busy is because you’re filling up your schedule with low-value busywork because that way you don’t have to tackle an important task. I’ve seen that happen too. That’s a form of procrastination and it’s based on fear. That could be revealing a prideful heart which is afraid of making mistakes – or it could be a heart that has an extreme love of comfort and ease.
Take Time for Examination
I know that I just flew through a lot of really complex heart issues, because there’s no way one podcast could do justice to any one of them, much less all of them. These issues are really deep. So deep in fact that God brought about this suffering to reveal it to you because you wouldn’t see it otherwise.
So it could be that, rather than listening to this podcast and going about your day, maybe you need to get alone for some time and just think. It could be, and this is how it works with me, you’re beginning a process now that will take days, weeks, maybe even months to complete. Finding idols in your life and then smashing them is not something you do in a 15-minute podcast.
So take some time to think. And pray. And take some time to talk with other wise believers as you process through these issues.
God Teaches Us: Humility
The first thing that God could be showing us through busyness is he could be revealing idols to us. But the second thing that God could be showing us through our busyness is that he could be teaching us humility.
Grace towards Others
He could be giving us a greater understanding of the pain in other people’s lives. We’re more tolerant and gracious towards those around us who may be going through stressful times of their own.
And one thing is that a lot of our busyness is often self-inflicted. So we can be more understanding of those who have gotten themselves into trouble and have gotten themselves into jams. We can be more gracious towards them because of this time of getting ourselves into trouble.
The stress of busyness also reminds us that we’re human – that we can’t do everything. We’ve got to sleep. We have to eat. We’ve got to rest.
If we start to trust in the idol of self-sufficiency, this is where we’ll end up. God will teach us humility. And it may be through incredibly stressful times that often end in failure. Because we’re not God.
God Teaches Us: His Power
And that brings us to the third thing that God could be teaching us through busyness. The first is he could be revealing and destroying idols in our lives, secondly he could be teaching us humility, and the third thing is that he could be displaying his own power and teaching us to trust in him.
Right after we realize our own finite nature, we can then depend on God.
We can see him pull us through these difficult times. He can teach us how to not get in those times again.
We can see God multiply our resources so that sometimes he will give us the strength and enable us to tackle more work than we thought we were capable of, and we can get ourselves out of these ditches that we’ve dug for ourselves.
We can learn to more fully understand his word, specifically relating to how to be a good steward of our time, so that we don’t find ourselves in this situation again.
We can learn to use Godly wisdom to make tough decisions as we shovel our way out of this busyness.
Through the stress of being busy, God can teach us an increased dependence on him for strength and wisdom and comfort.
My Challenge to You
So my challenge to you is if you’re in a busy stressful time now, if you ever get in another busy stressful time (which inevitably you will at some point) – don’t be so eager to simply just get rid of the stress. Don’t be so eager to simply just frame it as a practical mistake in your scheduling.
Certainly we want to get rid of that stress, but don’t be so eager to do so that we miss what could be a greater, deeper message from God in the midst of your busyness.
Get out of stressful busyness, yes absolutely, but why you’re doing it take time to look at the full picture. Take time to receive the potential blessings that God has for you in the midst of your busyness.
If you have any other tips or thoughts on today’s podcast, head over to lifeofasteward.com to share.
Until next time, this is Loren Pinilis from Lifeofasteward.com.
Remember: We want to make the most of our time, not to make much of us but to make much of him. Not to earn anything but because he’s already earned it. Join me next time where we’ll look at more time management tips from a Christian perspective as we seek together to live the Life of a Steward.
Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. However, this doesn’t affect what I write about, what I choose to say, or what I recommend. Learn more here.