I am busier than you are

During January and February, I will be using this space to interact with the ideas put forward in David Zahl’s book Seculosity: How career, parenting, technology, food, politics, and romance became our new religion and what to do about it

How are you doing?

What answer comes to your mind when you are asked that question? In chapter 2 of David Zahl’s book “Seculosity: How career, parenting, technology, food, politics, and romance became our new religion and what to do about it,” he points out that more than ever, our answer to that question has become not “fine” or “good” but “busy” or “stressed.”

Sound familiar?

I know that I have noticed how often I get “busy” as an answer to my “how are you doing” question. I have made it a point to try to avoid giving “busy” as an answer, because, well, it seems like everyone is busy. But what does our busyness say about us?

Zahl argues that for many of us, busyness has become a virtue, signaling that we are valuable and important. In fact, it can often subtly become a competition – the one who is busier is somehow more important because of all that they have taken on. And if someone is not busy, there can be an assumption that there is something wrong with them – perhaps they are lazy, or unaware of all that could be done, or maybe they just aren’t needed by anyone.

What is underneath this busyness, this elevation of doing a lot as a virtue? In some cases, perhaps what is underneath is what Zahl calls “performancism,” the belief that it is my performance that makes me lovable and significant. To put it another way: “I am what I do.” If I’m not doing much, then I am not very valuable. But if I’m doing a lot, then I must be significant.

There are many dangers to this white-knuckle pace, of course. All around us, and sometimes in our own lives, we see skyrocketing anxiety, depression, stress, loneliness, and fatigue. Not to mention that the faster we go, the less we are able to reflect on how we are living, face our personal issues, or even consider our mortality.

Unfortunately, the church can too often contribute to our busy lives. Instead of offering us an environment where we can rest in our relationship with God, reflect on how we are living, and be filled up by the Spirit of God and the company of good friends, churches can often pressure people into doing more, as if somehow our spiritual resume is what makes us valuable to God.

Nevertheless, the church also contains the solution to our busyness. The gospel of Jesus proclaims that we do not have to achieve our value or earn love. Instead, the good news is that we are loved regardless of what we do or do not do, simply by trusting in what Jesus has done for us in his life, death, and resurrection. As Paul wrote in Romans 4:4-5: “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Or, as the writer of Hebrews put it in 4:9-11, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…”

If you know Jesus, then you do not have to prove anything to anyone. You do not need to earn your significance. You can rest – even in the midst of your busyness – knowing that even if you have a lot going on, your value is secure in Christ’s approval of and love for you.

Posted in
Posted in , ,

No Comments






1 Corinthians 10 1 Thessalonians 5 2 Corinthians 13:5 2 Timothy 4 Abundant Life Adoption Affirmation American cullture America Anger Anonymity Anthropology Anxiety Apologetics Approval Arguments Atheism Baptism Barnabas Battle Be still Bible Study Bible reading Bible study fellowship Bible Billy Graham Bob Pierce Bonhoeffer Books Breath Prayer Brennan Manning Brian Fearon Bronx Busyness C.S. Lewis Cape Coast Castle Central African Republic Character Charles Spurgeon Charleston Cheap grace Christian media Christian privilege Christian publishing Christmas Church growth Church life Church College Commitment Communication Community Compassion Competition Confidence Contentment Coronavirus Counseling Courage Cove Service Cowardice Craig Wolfram Critical Race Theory Criticism Cross Culture D.L. Moody Daniel David Death Deborah Despair Discernment Discipleship Discipline Distractions Division E.M Bounds Easter Ebenzer Ecuador Edward Kimball Election Elisabeth Elliot Enabling Encouragement Endurance Envy Ephesians Eternal life Eternity Evaluation Evangelism Faith False Teachers Fame Family Fasting Father Fear Fellowship Footwashing Forgiveness Francis Chan Freedom Friendship Gaia McDermott Gates George Mueller Gift exchange Gino Marozzi Giving Glory God's character God's faithfulness God's goodness God's leading God's love God's plan God's presence God's sovereignty God's wrath God\'s faithfulness God\'s love God\'s sovereignty God Good Samaritan Gospel Grace Grief Haiti Handel's Messiah Happiness Hartford City Mission Healing Heaven Hebrews 11 Hell History Holiness Hollywood Holy Spirit Home Honesty Hope Horatio Spafford Hospitality Houston Human rights Humility Hypocrisy Identity Ideologies Idols Immanuel In memory of Information overload Injustice Insecurity Integrity Intimacy Isaiah 9 Israel JI Packer Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah 8:11 Jesus' death Jesus' love Jesus\' love Jesus Job Joe Barone John 8 John Newton Jordan Perterson Joseph Joshua Joy Judgement Judges Justice Kanye West Kingdom of God Knowing God Lamentations Lament Las Vegas Leadership Leaf by Niggle Lent Les Miserables Lessons learned Longing Lord's Prayer Love Lynne Pleau Mark 10:21 Mark Driscoll Marketing Memorial Day Men's conference Mercy Mike Yaconelli Ministry Missions Money Moralistic Therapeutic Deism Moses Music Nancy Butler New Year's New life NewLife Old Testament Opinions Optimism Order Orlando Outreach Parenting Passion of the Christ Passion Pastoral care Pastoral ministry Pentecost Peru Phil Vaglica Philip Yancey Philippians 4:13 Play Pokemon Go Politics Poverty Power Prayer Preaching Pride Month Pride Prison ministry Progress Prophecy Prophet Prosperity Gospel Proverbs 14:4 Proverbs Psalm 13 Psalm 46:10 Psalm 46 Psalm 51 Public Speaking Purpose R.C Sproul Reflection Relationship with God Relationships Relativism Relevance Reputation Rest Resurrection Rev 2:4 Revival Rich young ruler Righteousness Romantic love Ron Luce Running Sabbath Sacrifice Salvation Same-sex marriage Samuel Sanctification Satan Saul Seculosity Self-Image Self-Worth Service Sex Trafficking Sex Shirley Prey Signifigance Silence Sin Smartphones Social justice Songs of Ascent Spiritual Disciplines Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Warfare Spiritual growth Statues Stories Street Church Stress Success Suffering Suicide Sunday School Survivor Syria Technology Teen Mania Thanksgiving The Hartford project The Ragman The Sound of freedom The Underground The Valley of Vision Tim Keller Titanic Tolkienn Tozer Trauma Trust Truth Uconn basketball Unanswered Prayer Unity Uvalde Valley of Vision Vows Williams Syndrome Wisdom Work Worry Worship Zechariah accountability accusation addiction bitterness cancel culture child trafficking confession conflict cool devotion disillusionment divorce emotions evil evolution faithfulness foster care glory days gratitude idolatry influences listening marriage nostalgia pastor perspective problem of Evil prodigal son purity of heart racism recovery redemption relevant repentance story temptation the one Jesus loves time management trials tribalism violence vision