Releasing busy calendars and grasps at significance
Written by Alysha Kyle
I’m good at being busy. I like to think I’m the kind of person who goes all-in when being challenged with a new task. Whenever someone asked what I did for a living, I listed off at least two or three things I had on the go. It wasn’t until I was forced to stop that I realized—not only was my schedule insane, but I was seeking my identity in what I could do and accomplish. I believed I had to be the best at what I do. I believed I had to do as much as I could to please the Father and not waste my time on earth.
I once heard American singer/songwriter Christy Nockels speak about her experience in learning to rest even amid her busy life. In her 2021 book The Life You Long For, she used the metaphor of a target. She said we often live in the outer rings of the target, which represent our communities and capacities. We focus on using those things to work our way to our calling in the centre. This, however, requires a lot of hustle and is unsustainable.
Nockels goes into more depth in her book about each place on the target, explaining how living from rest means aiming for the bullseye, which is where God speaks to us and gives us our calling. When we rest in His presence, He takes care of the outer rings.
Slowing down not only helped me reflect on the beliefs I had about my identity. It also revealed holes in my relationships. Taking a step back from tasks and time-filling made me see how I had neglected to go deep in my friendships. Others confided in me, but I was never vulnerable in return. I felt I had to look like I had everything together and demonstrate confidence in all that I did.
When I started to open up with friends, I fell apart and couldn’t stop. Years of feelings and issues and lies surfaced and poured out. At first, it made me feel like a failure. Like I was a complete mess. I felt ashamed, as though something must be wrong with me that couldn’t be fixed. But slowly, God helped me heal and see the truth about myself.
Scripture gives us many statements about our identity that we can grab hold of.
We are loved (John 15), seen (Jeremiah 12), accepted (Romans 15). And as we seek God’s encouragement about our personal giftings, He will also show us more about the individual people He created us to be.
I am a pioneer. I am wise. I am caring. I am pure. I am a leader. I’m inspirational and encouraging. And I’m not all these things because I’m perfect. God has helped me see that my life is a journey of redemption. Before this, I was never able to accept these good traits because I thought in order for them to be true, I had to have everything together.
My relationships changed as I became vulnerable about what God was doing in me. I noticed how encouraging it was to those I’d share with. Nockels writes, “When we consistently reach for the right Remedy and the best that He offers, we naturally, almost effortlessly, begin to offer Him to the world around us.”
When we experience God’s grace, we have confidence that springs forth with humility. Now, my relationships at work are different, my friendships are different, and I have balance in my life. All because, instead of working hard to jam my life full, I now work hard to centre my life around resting with Christ.
In Hinds’ Feet on High Places, Hannah Hurnard writes, “The little wildflowers have a wonderful lesson to teach. They offer themselves so sweetly and confidently and willingly even if it seems there is no one to appreciate them.”
My desire is to be like the wildflowers, blooming above all else for my good Shepherd. Though my growth may be unseen by the world, God continues to gently draw me back to His heart so that I may learn to trust Him. And in trusting Him I can do all things by His strength.