Can the experience of joy and the condition busyness coexist? Well if yesterday was any indicator, I’d say no. It was a full-out day, moving from one meeting to a next conference call onto another conversation, with hardly a moment to exhale. I quickly skated through the day without a thought towards joy. But was there joy in it? There was a sense of satisfaction at accomplishing some things. But joy? Not really.
Ask yourself, when have joy and busyness been connected? When has an increase in the pace of living been linked to an increase in your experience of joy? Are you happier the more you hurry? Sometimes hurry gives me a buzz, a rush from all the activity. But I think that’s more about adrenaline than joy. So try this out, an experiment in observation. Simply observe the faces of people scurrying around downtown sidewalks, rushing through the mall or grocery store? Are you seeing the face of joy?
Isn’t there something about our busyness that blurs our capacity to find delight and enjoy life? I wonder, is joy slow? Or maybe it’s that busyness is mostly about me, about feeling self-important or trying to justify my existence. Hectic schedules and swelled egos also crowd out the opportunity to see and respond to all that God has already done, all that he is giving right in front of me. With the chronic condition of busyness a plague in our society, we just may be the most joy-impaired culture in history.
I love the words of Jesus in Matthew 6: “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers – most of which are never even seen – don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving … steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (The Message)
Joy doesn’t seem to be a clenched-fist, gritted teeth experience – that’s more like worry and anxiety that is behind so much of our harried busyness. Joy has an ease about her; she won’t be rushed.