The same thing happened when I went to pick up my car after getting it serviced on Monday. I walked into the cashier's area and felt as though I was interrupting a deep conversation. I was prepared to hand over another few hundred dollars in exchange for my car and more business down the road. She took my credit card, continued her conversation, and handed over my key. She was busy, and I was frustrated - frustrated enough to even mention what appeared to be a lack of service when the email arrived asking me about my experiences with the dealership.
So many people around me are busy - too busy to do the work they are being paid to do - providing me service. And, I am one of them. I'm often too busy. I come across as someone who is trying to juggle a million things at once. I have people call or email and say, "I know you are really busy, but..." When asked how I am, I often say, "I'm really busy."
But part of my Lenten discipline is to no longer use these words - these two words that often tell others that we may not have time for them. Rather than telling people how busy I am, I am acknowledging the fullness of life.
The fullness of life.
I realize often that most of the time I am busy because I have taken more than I can chew. When we started Wednesday night dinners at Mount Vernon Place, I volunteered to cook each Wednesday. When invitations arrive to preside at a wedding for someone I have never met or preach for a special event or serve on another Conference committee, I often say "yes" and then consider the impact it will have on the rest of my schedule. I often chose to be all things to all people, and I am realizing that I cannot keep this pace without always telling others, "I'm busy." I'm tired of being busy and long to focus on the fullness of life. I'm seeking to focus on that which makes more of me instead of that which robs my joy along with the joy of others who I am called to be with and journey with.
My life is so full - full of really amazing gifts and blessings. I am convinced that I am married to the absolute best partner that God could find for me - someone who is far more patient and kind in one day than I am in an entire month. I am convinced that I have a really great extended family. From my birth family to my in-laws, I am surrounded by people who love me and who make more of me. I am convinced that I am in the appointment that is the very best match for me. There is no other place I would rather be working and no other congregation I would rather be serving right now than Mount Vernon Place. And, I am convinced that I have great friends - longtime friends and newer friends - friends who constantly make me laugh often, think deeply, and see more of God's hand around me. These things add to the fullness of life - these things make up the very best life.
I'm asking myself often what it means to be filled with these things. What does it mean for me to focus on these things: to seek to be the very best wife, the very best family member, the very best pastor and the very best friend? If I am seeking to do these things, then I know there are many other things I can and should let go of - things that are not nearly as important as my first priorities - things that are causing me to be too busy and thereby emptying my spirit instead of adding to the fullness of life.
God, help me to see what is really important. Grant me the capacity to live a more disciplined life. Show me how best to use the time, resources and gifts you have given to me. Help me to stay focused on each person you send into my midst. Enable me to not be busy with unnecessary things but to instead be filled with the joy of knowing that I am right where you have called me to be. Amen.