Busy. This one word describes our lives in this day and age more than any other. It’s difficult to count the number of times I’ve either used this word to describe how I’m doing or have heard it from others summing up how their lives are. Couldn’t everyone you know answer the call of Jesus, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest?” (Matthew 11:28). If it’s so obvious, why don’t we run to Him?
Confused. Distracted. Anxious. Tired. These are all offshoots of “being busy.” More than any other time in the history of the world, we have a crisis of doing too much. How have we gotten to this state? Over the course of the last century, many pivotal things have happened (world wars, to name one), but one thing stands out: Technology has advanced off the charts so that we are now surrounded by a bevy of gadgets and our society is virtually run by computers. The Terminator might have had more than a hint of prophetic truth when it presented the Tyrell Corporation being overturned by a mutiny of its robots. We are in danger of being destroyed as a society, if not by robots, then by a combination of spiritual forces and our own self-centeredness.
If Satan goes in the opposite direction of God, then his plans and objectives will be to thwart everything that God desires. If God desires us to have rest and even invites us to find rest, then Satan will try everything he can to get us not to rest. Indeed, if you look at your life and the lives around you, most likely you will find this lifestyle in action. In the self-described “center of the world,” New York City, you can find activity 24-7. You’ll also find a load of people who are ambitious, busy, mostly unsatisfied and deeply tired. This city, which was my home for a little over a year, was amazing. It has its allure and appeal, no doubt. But once I settled in and got over the stardust in my eyes, I saw and experienced what a drain it can be. What drew me to that city (success in the film industry) wasn’t what it was cut out to be. I know some people have been called by God to be in New York. That’s wonderful. However, for me, it wasn’t God’s plan. What I saw instead was much self-loathing being covered over by supposed self-confidence.
Let’s go deeper into our culture. Look at Hollywood. The “idols” that we look at, look up to, observe and are fascinated by are nothing more than mere people, most of whose lives are a wreck. If these are our role models, we’re headed for trouble (we’re already there). Most people in the entertainment industry are so extremely focused on their careers that everything else falls by the wayside. They’d like to get married and experience the riches found in that blessed relationship. As you know, the majority of these Hollywood marriages are nothing more than fly-by-night disasters that are over in a matter of years, if not months. The value of family it appears is not held in high regard by most Hollywood folk.
A rare exception is found in the Hollywood film, The Family Man, which my wife and I saw when it came out a few years ago. As we watched it again recently on TV, it got me thinking about my own life. The film presents a man who is torn between a life of success and ambition as a bachelor businessman and a life in suburbia with a wife and two kids. The whole movie finds Nicholas Cage’s character trying to get back to the life of success, while being confronted with his current life as a “normal, boring” husband and father. In his eyes, he’s missing out on all the power and material possessions he had. What he can’t see is the truly successful life he has with a family.
Our society, through the pied piper of the media, has sold us a lie. They’ve said that having a family isn’t enough. To be successful and happy, you have to have money and toys. You have to do only what you want to do, when you want to do it. Essentially, you have to be selfish and make yourself happy. Eventually, you have to wake up to reality; 15 minutes of fame is not a great return for a life’s investment. It seems that at some point, you have to make the decision to either embrace the idea of family or turn from it to follow your own path. I believe God created the family to be the ultimate dream and fulfillment of people’s lives. However, the enemy of God has succeeded in creating an atmosphere where broken marriages are the norm and the fallout is our reward. What we—the public—get is a picture of the home and family life as something less than desirable. It’s presented as dumb, boring and extremely unfulfilling. The battle is on for your life and your decisions.
Look for the simple things in life; it’s too easy to get caught up in complications these days. God has huge, great plans for your life, but don’t get swept away by a grand ambition that doesn’t have its origin in God’s heart for your life. Pray about it. Test to see that it’s truly from the spirit of God. If it’s not, get off that train as soon as possible. Lastly, know that God desires for everyone is to know intimacy. If this is to play itself out in your life in the form of a family of your own, treasure your family and recognize the gift that God has blessed you with. If you don’t have a family of your own, you might still have parents, brothers or sisters who you are in relationship with. Guard and treasure these bonds you have. Seek forgiveness and reconciliation where wounds and pain have taken root. In this world, our families are the last, great hope we have to show forth the glory of God.[Sean Kirkland lives in Marietta, Ga., with his wife, Laura, and daughter, Zoë. He works at Starbucks, does freelance film/video production and is enjoying the new U2 album immensely. ]