This is a guest post from Marina Abdel Malak - a FrAnthony.com guest post favorite. In her previous posts, Marina spoke about her battle with ANOREXIA NERVOSA and how God helped her overcome it. Now, thanks to God, Marina is preparing for a vocation in helping others overcome their illnesses as she begins medical school this Fall (congratulations Marina!). If you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
I'm the type of person who likes to be busy.
No. Let me say that again. I'm the type of person that NEEDS to be busy.
It's funny, actually. When I first started university, I hated how I never had time for myself. I wanted free time, and I didn't have it. This made me feel angry and stressed.
Then summer came along and I felt empty. I was restless, bored out of my mind. I had nothing productive to do. Sure, I could go out, shop, watch a movie, and more. But all these things...something was missing. I found that despite having a full day planned with outings and entertainment, I was lacking something.
And then it hit me: I wasn't being productive.
My mind, although busy with 'having fun', wasn't engaged in something goal-worthy. I needed to contribute to something, to feel that I was working towards something. Almost immediately, a Bible verse popped into my head:
"Idle hands are the devil’s workshop" (Proverbs 16:27)
Ever heard of the phrase 'an empty mind is a devil's plaything?' This Bible verse relates well to that concept. We're human - we were created to be fruitful, to use our time wisely. When we are productive, we feel useful. But when we remain without goals or work, we become empty and distressed. And at these moments of emptiness, the devil begins fighting us. He tries to fill our minds and hearts with harmful thoughts and feelings, hoping to separate us from God.
St. Paul says "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is" (Ephesians 5:15-17).
So being productive and using our time wisely is not only important for our well-being, but is also according to God's will. Indeed, when we use our time for service to God and others, work, school, etc., we are following what God intended for our lives. We are using our gifts and times wisely to serve God, to contribute to the world, and to keep ourselves healthily occupied.
Laziness leads us to many problems. Aside from the mental and physical exhaustion, being lazy opens the way for temptation to take hold of us. Being lazy also makes it harder for us to draw near to God to strengthen us in our battles.
When we are busy, trying to find time to do everything - including investment in our relationship with God – we realize that we need God's guidance and help. We need God to strengthen us to complete our tasks and to serve Him in our works. But laziness strips us of this opportunity. And after one long day of laziness, it's even harder to get up the next day and be productive again. It's a difficult cycle to break.
Does this mean we ought to be workaholics, always jumping from task to task, forgetting about what's really important in life? Does this mean that we need to work ourselves to utter exhaustion each day? Is that what God intended?
No. In fact, God rested on the seventh day of creation. This alone exemplifies that rest is needed. But note the distinction between rest - a time where you can admire how productive you were and have some temporary relaxation and rejuvenation - and laziness, a state of doing nothing productive and keeping your mind and heart empty.
After work, rest allows us to thank God for supporting us through our paths. Rest allows us to prepare for what's next. Rest allows us to praise God for His gifts.
God created with us a desire to work, to be productive. God wants us to use our time and talents to contribute to a worthy cause. This could be as simple as a doing a service in the church, helping a neighbor, smiling at your business clients, caring for your family members, supporting your friends, comforting a sick patient, teaching a child something new, visiting a lonely elder, and more. Christ tells us that using our time and gifts wisely prepares us well for His Kingdom:
"To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away" (Matthew 25:29).
And remember: being busy doesn't have to mean that you're running around like crazy, anxious and angry. Rather, being positively or 'good busy' means being productive and using your time to work towards something meaningful – to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” – to work towards a goal that brings you and others closer to Christ.
Because ultimately, our goal is Jesus Christ. Our goal is heaven and His kingdom, for we are to seek this first - and all the rest will be added to us. Remember that in every deed you do, you are serving to be a witness for Christ. You are to use your time and efforts to praise God, to productively channel His blessings into something beautiful.
"Let your light so shine before others, so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
So am I busy? Yes. And you know what? For that I'm ever so thankful, knowing that this too - having goals, dreams, and things to keep me occupied and working - is itself a gift from God, an opportunity to be a fruitful and contributory individual to this world.