The crush of busyness has been weighing heavily on me over the last several weeks. It stems from work-related tasks primarily -- lots of hours, travel, conference calls, small battles, etc. And, in the midst of this, I have stuck with my morning prayer and reading routine (Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm, Proverb, devotional), which sets the tone for my day. At times recently, though, I have unintentionally rushed through the process, needing to move on to the work that awaits anxiously for my attention. I try to slow myself down, reading Scripture aloud, for example, but this has been a struggle. I can't force my relationship with God or fit it into a neat 15-minute time-slot (and isn't this true of all relationships?). Nor do I desire to, but, well, that's how it has been going lately.
I have begun to see God in smaller joys instead of deep connections of late. This is not to say I don't desire the deep connection, but I just can't get there right now. Yesterday, I had a very busy, stressful day. I talked to God frequently throughout, but felt a little like I was just talking into the air. Late in the afternoon, I went and got a cup of coffee, knowing I would need to work into the night. I had been holed up in conference rooms and my hotel room (Phoenix again) all day. I stepped outside and the warmth of the sun momentarily took my breath and I smiled. I walked to the coffee shop and as I approached the door, I heard coming from the speakers above (people sit outside in Phoenix in February! Imagine!) one of my favorite songs of all time. A song that for reasons that aren't relevant now makes me feel an overwhelming sense of home: Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald singing They Can't Take That Away From Me. (Louis and Ella) Maybe you have a song like this, and you know the feeling when you hear it unexpectedly. It brings such unexpected joy and peace.
After getting my coffee, I talked to a good friend. I described what I was struggling with -- this sort of disconnection caused by busyness. He asked about my prayers. I said I pray for focus and strength. I pray for courage and peace in stressful situations. He asked whether I prayed that I would reveal Christ through my work, whether I prayed to God and asked that in my work today, let someone who sees me think or say to themselves: there is something different about her, something I am drawn to. Do I pray that God would use me even in my work to reach others and bring them a step closer into a relationship with him?
Such wise counsel. I had been (yet again) so self-focused. I haven't been feeling deeply connected because I have been doing all the talking and almost no listening. I had been asking God to do for me, yet not asking what I could do for Him. God got to me anyway -- through the sun, and a song, and a friend. Today, before I venture off to my next battle, I will still pray for peace and focus, but I will also pray that God will use me to reveal Himself to someone else, to glorify Him in whatever way He asks and in all that I do. "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corin. 10:31. What a blessing it will be to be used by the Most High God.