This Fuller Life

Building health, sustainability and community.

Busyness

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My name is Noelle Fuller and I am addicted to being busy! Proven by my packed calendar. I am enrolled in a herbal certificate program where we have classes one weekend a month from March-December, I am taking 16 credit hours at school this semester, I am interning 10-12 hours a week at my school’s organic farm, I work part-time 12-18 hours a week to help pay for school, I have begun to teach classes and give presentations about healthy eating and herbal medicine, I attempt to blog consistently,  keep the house clean, food on the table and spend time with my husband. On top of this I am always driven to learn more so I am the middle of reading three books right now. one about biomechanics, one about permaculture, and one about cooking. I also listen to podcasts during my commute about nutrition and health. Everything I am involved in are really good things, things I am passionate about and excited to be a part of, but this is obviously not a sustainable lifestyle. It has been weeks since I have woken up feeling rested. I am constantly late for things, and dropping the ball or procrastinating on something I have promised someone. I have a lot of anxiety and overall I have the feeling that I just can’t wait for this semester to be over. The crazy thing is that society applauds this type of behavior. I feel like people really look up to me for my drive and determination and work ethic, when truthfully I am the one that is doing it all wrong.

I mean really, what is the end goal of being ‘busy’?  To say we got a lot accomplished? But for what purpose? I don’t want to live like this anymore. I care so much for each individual thing that I am doing, and get frustrated that I can’t give it my all. I know I shortchange my ability to make a difference in the world when I am frazzled and fragmented, just trying to survive and make it through the week.

The motivation for this post comes from a quote my sister posted on Facebook.

“Natural gifts such as personal charisma, mental brightness, emotional strength, and organizational ability can impress and motivate people for a long time. Sometimes they can be mistaken for spiritual vitality and depth. Sadly, we do not have a Christian culture today that easily discriminates between a person of spiritual depth and a person of raw talent.”

Gordon MacDonald- Ordering Your Private World

This hit me hard. I think I have been coasting for a long time on the natural gifts, and the work ethic and love of learning that was instilled in me as a kid. I was joking with my sister about how busy I was and said “maybe my problem is that I am too passionate”. I thought about it more later and I think it isn’t that I am too passionate, it is that I am unfocused in my passion, which has led to overwhelming busyness.

I have let my passion for learning, helping people and sharing my knowledge run without intentionally setting my priorities. This becomes a problem because I don’t want to be known as someone who was really driven and got a lot accomplished. I want to be known as a person of spiritual depth and passion that truly made a difference in people’s lives in the things that matter.

It is easy to think I am doing fine until things aren’t fine. I have gotten caught up in another busy semester and I haven’t made time to sit down, pray and read my bible in too long. I am ashamed of that. I love Jesus and I don’t want him to have to bring drastic circumstances in my life to get me to listen.

I like to say that health is not a destination. Health happens as a result of consistent daily decisions and can always be improved, or undermined, by how we react to our environment on a daily basis. Maybe faith is like that too. I don’t have to have everything figured out and perfect to become more like the person God wants me to be.

So, what is the answer? I want to change the world and help people find healing. But how can I change the world when I can’t even design my own life for sustainability? I don’t think a 30 day challenge, or reading the bible in 60 days or buying books about purpose are the answer. At least not while I am just trying to survive the next 2 months.

I think it starts with a breathe. To pause and take a breath and reset. Before I work on case studies, studying for biochemistry, processing the goldenrod that is done drying, preserving peppers, working on dinner, and laundry… I can breathe. I can take a moment, thank God for this breath and pray that He would give me wisdom to make decisions that bring me closer to Him and closer to His purpose for my life. I have to finish out my commitments for this semester. But, hopefully each time I make a decision to breathe, it will help give me the insight I need to cultivate a more purposeful God honoring life.

I actually wrote this a week ago and was debating sharing it. I guess I am embarrassed. But I think it is good to show our struggles sometimes, and busyness is a true struggle of mine. I would like to be more intentional so I don’t ever feel this fragmented again. Also, a student that I knew died last week in a car accident. It was tragic. I am grateful that I know Jesus as my Savior and I know I will go to heaven when I die. Contemplating the reality of death is a great reminder to evaluate how we live our life. I know I want a life of intimacy with God and love for others. So this is my prayer, to stop working and striving, but to rest and let God breathe His life, and grace, and passion for His people into my heart.

I know that means a lot of hard decisions, and prayerfully setting boundaries and limits on what I am able to do moving forward. This is my struggle. But I know God will show me the way. I trust Him, and my task while difficult, is surprisingly simple.  All I have to do is take a breath and listen.

Do you ever struggle with committing too many things? How did you handle it? I am all for suggestions!

2 Comments

  1. Shirley Peterson

    October 19, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Noelle, I just read this and wish I could give you a big hug right now! You do have a perfect, built-in prayer time right now. Pray on the way to school each morning. Just talk to God about your day and your schedule and anything else that’s on your mind. You have time to talk and to listen. This year I started doing the same thing when I had to leave the house first thing in the morning and it has proven to be a wonderful, uninterrupted time with God. Meanwhile I am praying you will survive and thrive in this insane season you are in (and praying you learn to say “no” someday ;-).

  2. Noelle, I just LOVE your transparency! This idea of accomplishing soooooo much is a struggle many of us have. This week was the first week in the last 3 weeks that I had 2 nights without commitments and could just be home. Tonight is one of them and I think I will take a breath!! : )
    much love to you,
    Aunt Joy

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