Sometimes It’s Simpler Than We Think
Life can get so overwhelming. Busyness is the new normal. Being busy has almost become a way to prove that you are important, because important people are always busy. With non-stop connectivity to the world, we are always on, always available. Even our weekends have to be as busy as our weeks, filled with non-stop activity. When I think about Jesus in the Gospels, I don’t feel like Jesus was very impressed by busyness, nor was He driven by busyness either. He seemed willing to linger and be present with people. He loved moving slowly, not rushing from one task or event to the next. Jesus would regularly make time to go away and be silent, seeking the Father’s will in prayer. Reading through the Gospels, it’s clear that He lived a life of presence on earth, focused on what was in front of Him, and yet continually moving towards the reason He was on earth in the first place. Christ lived a life fully immersed in the moment He found himself in. I wish I could live my life with His perspective more frequently. Perhaps that is why there really isn’t a massive rulebook or list of things you need to to do to earn God’s love. Maybe this is why all we need to focus on daily is loving Jesus and loving others. That’s about as much as you can ‘accomplish’ in a day. The more we do these things each day, the more we are shaped into people who bring a presence of peace into a busy, broken world. A few months ago, a friend shared the full Serenity Prayer with me. I had never heard it past the three lines that always get recited. Have you ever heard the rest of the prayer? It’s beautiful:
“God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference.” Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make things right if I surrender to His will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with Him forever and ever in the next. Amen.”
Everyday, I see this prayer on my wall. Most days I miss its significance. I looked up what the word serenity means in the dictionary (My husband would be proud): serenity |səˈrenədē| noun: the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. In a world of that over-values busyness, Jesus may be calling us to live lives that are serenely calm. In our hurried, ‘always-on,’ broken, hate-filled world, we need serenity. I think one of my favourite lines in in the prayer is the following: “Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.” Living a life of serenity does not take anything away from the hardships we face; rather, it reminds us to find peace in the midst of it. In South Africa there is so much volatility coursing through culture in the current moment, from the ‘Fallist’ student protests, to continued government crises, and I wonder if Jesus is calling His Church be the people who bring peace and calm in the midst of all these troubling things. Let our hearts be untroubled, filled with peace and calm, because we are able to trust the one who holds the world in His hands. And He is good. And He is love. And He somehow will bring good out of all the chaos, because that is who He is. May our busy hearts be filled with serenity.