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Too Busy for Faith

“Rachel” is a self-proclaimed workaholic. She’s too busy to eat lunch so she skips it, saying she just “eats stress.”

At night, to avoid awakening her husband, Rachel sleeps with her smart phone on “vibrate” under her pillow so she doesn’t miss any messages or calls from overseas. Not surprisingly, she has trouble sleeping, is fatigued much of the day and “is often trying to monitor what’s happening in her company’s manufacturing plant through the window while working on her office computer and fielding phone calls.”

Author John Brubaker writes about Rachel on the Entrepreneur web site.

I have expressed the view that religious belief is irrelevant to many people in today’s world. It appears to be inconsistent with modern, scientific world views. And accusations of abuse against the clergy have driven people away.

Time to Be Thoughtful?

But is it possible that among the main barriers to faith is “busyness,” that people lack the time to be thoughtful enough to consider belief in God and the merits of religion?

Indeed, many believe that busyness is the scourge of society. People feel tremendous pressure to “get things done.” They long for rest and leisure, for relief from responsibilities.

It’s not a new problem, to be sure. The author of Psalm 55 expresses a common human reaction to stress that many feel today: the urge to “get away from it all.”

“My heart is in anguish within me…. And I say, ‘O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far, I would lodge in the wilderness….’”

Status Symbol

For many, busyness is a status symbol, demonstrating one’s importance. And the messages from society are that bigger and better, and doing more this year than last, are roads to satisfaction and fulfillment, to say nothing of a raise and promotion.

But those are false premises. The famous prayer attributed to St. Augustine resonates: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.”

The problem is that excessive busyness, and the stress it produces, make thoughtfulness impossible. And examining the importance God may have in your life, or whether you should consider religious belief, requires thoughtfulness.

It also requires prayer.

Ok, I know that for many, prayer seems like talking to yourself. Or, it’s a matter of asking God for things you never get.

As Important as Breathing

But prayerfulness and thoughtfulness go together. If we are thoughtful enough to comprehend a little of who God is and what he/she means in our lives, if we want to grow in our faith, prayer becomes as important as breathing. We then not only ask for things – understanding that as father/mother, God knows and wants what’s best for us in the long run – but feel the need to praise and thank him/her and ask for forgiveness. 

But we have to make time, and sometimes a place, for both thoughtfulness and prayer. People who do so, in my opinion, make progress in their search for God. Those who don’t run the risk of a stall in, or abandonment of, their search. In the midst of frenetic activity, we can find ourselves going nowhere.

“The great paradox of our time,” writes spiritual writer Henri Nouwen in his book, Making All Things New, “is that many of us are busy and bored at the same time. While running from one event to the next, we wonder in our innermost selves if anything is really happening.”

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