A Quiet Busy Life

I’ve had two verses competing in my head for a while, and I thought I’d bring them out into the fresh air, and see what y’all had to say about them.

. . . train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  Titus 2:4,5  (NIV)

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. I Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NIV)

So here’s what’s been running around my brain regarding those verses:

It seems to me that we spend a lot of time in our contemporary culture complaining about being too busy.  I hear so often that our contemporary culture is SO BUSY and we are just run ragged with all the demands on our time and attention . . . as if being busy is a sin.  I think I’ve heard sermons that say just that – usually from the Mary and Martha passage.  But Titus tells us that as women we’re SUPPOSED to be busy. 

That always made me think of the passage in 1 Thessalonians that commands us to lead a quiet life.  Doesn’t that seem like a contradiction?  For ages I’ve wondered how you lead a busy quiet life, until I read the 1 Thessalonians verse more closely.  Rather than contradicting, now it seems to complement the Titus passage.  It says to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands.  In other words, we’re being told that if we mind our own business and keep busy, we’ll be leading a quiet life. 

So what about all that stuff about us being too busy as a culture?  Well, I’m not buying it.  I don’t think our problem is that we’re too busy, I think our problem is that we have too much leisure.  I think if we, as women, made more of an effort to keep busy the way Titus and 1 Thessalonians describe it, we would have quieter lives; and I think that if we made an effort to keep our children’s lives busy in the way Titus and 1 Thessalonians describe they would end up leading quieter lives.

So what do you think?  How do we lead these quiet busy lives that God calls us to?


About Coralie

After 11 years of infertility, I am now a mother to three, a wife of a Presbyterian (ARP) preacher and a struggling homemaker. Welcome to my little corner of the net. Kick off your shoes, put your feet up and join the conversation. View all posts by Coralie

2 responses to “A Quiet Busy Life

  • Marianne

    I think you’re onto something. Are we only busy if we’re being productive? Do my 1.5+ hours a day in traffic count as “busy, quiet?” I’m guessing not. I would really like to quiet and simplify my life by being busier with important things, like raising my child.

  • Roberta

    I guess that it depends on the context of the complaining as well. When we lived in Kelowna, folks there were too busy. They were never at home- both parents usually worked, kids were in a different activity every day of the week. It was impossible to have company in your home if you didn’t book weeks in advance. I don’t know how those families held together- home was where you changed your clothes and kept the SUV at night, and this was ‘normal’. Our church had done a survey when they were getting ready to open and found that the area was mainly over-indebted dual income busy families.

    There is no way to follow the instructions in Titus and Thessalonians if you are not living within your means, and our culture doesn’t seem to remember what that means, even in the midst of an economic recession.

    And the church often contributes to the busy-ness problem in another, well meaning way, asking ‘good christians’ to commit to 2 services on Sunday, ladies night, kids program, youth night, and men’s breakfast…

    If we were to all work in our homes and neighbourhoods, being the church, not doing church, taking time for the needy around us and throwing out our TVs (anyone who complains about not enough time but has a TV in the house…), I think that we would feel that living as these verses suggests is not only do-able, but normal and good.

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