Needing a Busyness Fix…


For all my talk, I suspect that the plethora of people who think I’m full of (pick your favorite filler) may be right.

I often teach against the sin of busyness. I love to introduce people to silence and solitude as spiritual disciplines to combat this mighty foe. But it’s all a sham – I’m totally addicted. And right now, like a true addict, I need the fix just to stay normal. Silence and solitude are like poison to me – my body and mind need the busyness.

Busyness is often a crutch for insecurity – I’ve long believed that. It’s also a great tonic for a really covert form of procrastination. Why deal with something today when I can deal with 20 other things instead?

My time at Reunion Arena was great for lots of reasons. It gave me a chance to do something really meaningful and positive with my mounds of free time right now. It allowed me an opportunity to get beyond myself and serve “the least of these”. I had the opportunity to meet people with amazing faith stories that I can later draw strength from. It also gave me a VERY busy schedule to drown out the ever growing anger and depression that I’m struggling with. Now its over and I’m forced to deal with the demons that have been clawing at my sanity.

The truth is that as the days have turned into weeks, and now to nearly two months, since I lost my job, the inner turmoil has grown. Several things have happened during this time that have only compounded matters. I can’t even settle on one good negative emotion: anger, sadness, bitterness, depression, confusion, fear…take your pick. As I approach the end of my “paid time off” and real, holy-crap-I’m-broke unemployment looms without much hope for a new ministry job in time, I just want to crawl into a hole and quit. (I’m interviewing with several churches, but they’re all still a good ways from making a decision.)

I can, and will if necessary, get a lousy job at Home Depot (if I lie on my application…too much school = overqualified = no job), and that makes me even more angry and bitter and sad and confused and depressed…

Okay, so now those of you who have heard me talk about blogs are thinking, “Bret, this sounds like an online diary instead of a forum for thoughts on spiritual formation. I thought you were ‘fundamentally opposed’ to online diaries because nobody cares!” You’re right, I am! But there is a spiritual formation issue at stake here. I recognize that, even though I take no comfort from it now, this is a very spiritually formative experience. Part of why I want to catalogue it is for future contemplation and part is because I know that I’m not the only one wrestling with this type of issue.

When I’m a little less upset I intend to reread Gary Thomas’ Authentic Faith: The Power of a Fire Tested Life. This book deals with the spiritual growth that comes through trial and not-so-pleasant spiritual disciplines like “waiting.” For now, I “know” that God will not leave me here, that this will be a growing experience, blah blah blah. With that said, let me just say that it sucks, I hate it and I want it to stop.

In my last class at ACU it was said, “The way in which you leave one Church will determine the way in which you enter the next.” I hope that isn’t a universal truth because I’ve tried to leave my last church well, but I’m failing miserably.

Perhaps failure is the next spiritual discipline I will learn. Until then, I’m falling off the wagon on a binge and am going to imbibe in a little busyness…

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Posted on September 30, 2005, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Bret,
    I do not think that I have the wisdom or any experience to understand what you are going through. My only response it to encourage you by asking the Father for his blessing on you. I am praying and will continue to pray for you and your family, even after you begin work in the next church.

  2. Thanks Jamin. You’re a good friend.

  3. Bret,

    Sorry to hear that these past couple of months have been incredibly trying times for you. I can’t even imagine what it’s been like.

    I wish I had some encouraging words to pass on, but just know that I’ll be praying for you guys and hope that things start looking up real soon.

    – Drew M.

  4. Thanks Drew – good to hear from you!
    I know that life isn’t exactly settled for you right now either; isn’t it great how God allows us to care for others in the midst of our own suffering? Kinda weird how that works out, but in spite of our brokenness, humans are still created in the image of God…I don’t think we can help but feel right when our focus is on someone else.

    You’re a good man Drew.

    -bret

  5. Bret,

    We got together with Brent Hughes and his wife this weekend, and he was telling us about your situation. I had no idea that they had let you go at Skillman. Tobin and I feel awful for you and your family and have been praying that another ministry position opens up for you soon. I appreciate your honesty and candor. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help. shalom!

  6. Just wanted to say that we love you… sorry that I have nothing else to offer but love, support, and prayers…

  7. I will pray for you all as well.

  8. Krister., Jodi and KC,

    Thanks for your prayers. We would have definately had a much more difficult time with all of this had it not been (and continue to be) for the prayers and support of our Christian family.

    Interestingly, I’m now in Louisiana. My Dad has offered me a job working with him doing insurance claims adjusting here in New Orleans…

    Its crazy how these things come together. I’m going to be riding around with my Dad this week and if everything works out, I’ll actually start on my own on Saturday. This could really turn out to be a huge blessing financially as well as providing me with an opportunity to get out of Dallas and clear my head for a while.

    However, and this is a big however, it is also going to be very difficult. Besides the job strain (long hours, 7 days a week for 3 months) I am going to be 8 hours away from Rachel, Conner and the Son-yet-to-be-named. So, if I may be so bold as to ask those who are praying for our family to add this to the growing list!

    I pray that this opportunity is the answer to prayer we’ve been waiting for and will allow us to carefully consider our next ministry move without the pressure of just taking whatever we’re offered so we can have a job.

    Thanks again to all of you who continue to lift us up, we’ll keep you posted on our progress.

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