Episode 4. How to Stop the Busy. Isaiah 30:8-21
We often spin faster and faster when we get busy, trying desperately to catch up. That old saying, however, is true: "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get." There is a better way to stop the busy. Let's look today at God's Word to Isaiah—and to us—and talk about some practical ways to slow down and meet with God and breathe.
Announcer 00:01 Well. Hello, tired one. Are you feeling a bit frazzled and worn out? Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments podcast. We hope lessons from God’s word and encouragement from us will lead you to soul rest. Sweet Selah Moments podcast is brought to you by Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Nicole 00:21 Welcome back to Sweet Selah Moments podcast, episode four we all may know in theory that we are not supposed to be too busy, but how can we practically stop? I have four kids and stopping is not easy for me. I always have something I feel I need to do several somethings to finally earn or get my rest time. So Sharon, let’s talk. How do we stop the busy?
Sharon It’s a dilemma, isn’t it? There are things that have to be done. If you have an infant, you can’t say, sorry, I’m too busy to feed you today, right? We have to sometimes do work and busyness is not always a sin. I want to start with that because we can think that when we’re busy, sometimes we’re always, you know, sinning and yet Jesus was busy. Let me read you this amazing passage from Mark chapter six verses 30 and 31 and you’ll see what I’m saying.
Sharon 01:12 The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile. He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. Well, all right then. Sometimes even Jesus was busy at times. So busy they didn’t have time to eat because people kept coming and coming. I really loved that, Nicole, because I kind of felt whenever I was busy, I was sinning. You know, I think it’s more when we make choices that create a continued busy-ness that we’re in trouble. When there’s a natural busy time in our lives like when my father in law moved in with us and he was completely dependent on us, that I had a lot to do for him and it needed to be done.
Sharon 02:05 He needed dressing. He needed everything done for him. It had to happen. So I think busy-ness itself isn’t the sin. It’s the hurriedness. It’s the treadmill we refuse to get off- ness. That’s the sin. So we’re going to talk about that today and we’re going to read my favorite passage of scripture, which I’m probably going to say every other podcast because I have too many favorites. However, this one is seriously one of my favorites because out of it comes my life verse. The last verse, Isaiah 30:21 is my life verse, which I chose when I was younger than you. Yes I did. And I’ll tell you why at the end, why I chose it, because I just loved the verse and it’s really stuck with me all my life. But we’re going to read Isaiah 30:8 through 21 and we’ll go back and forth on the verses just so that it’s interesting for you podcast listeners who are listening in.
Sharon 03:00 So kick back, this is your Sweet Selah moment and really listen to these words and then Nicole and I are going to dissect them and ponder them with you. So Nicole, why don’t you start with verse eight?
Nicole All right. Isaiah 30:8 through 21 ‘Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll that for the days to come, it may be an everlasting witness
Sharon for these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.
Nicole They say to the seers, see, no more visions and to the prophets, give us no more visions of what is right. Tell us pleasant things, prophecy, illusions.
Sharon Leave this way, get off this path and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel.
Nicole Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says, because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit.
Sharon 03:54 This sin will become for you like a high wall cracked and bulging that collapses suddenly in an instant,
Nicole It will break in pieces like pottery shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces, not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern.
Sharon This is what the sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says, In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.
Nicole You said, no, we will flee on horses, therefore you will flee. You said, we will ride off on swift horses. Therefore your pursuers will be swift.
Sharon 1,000 will flee at the threat of one. At the threat of five you will all flee away till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop like a banner on a hill.
Nicole 04:47 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you. Therefore he will rise up to show you compassion for the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all those who wait for him.
Sharon People of Zion who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help. As soon as he hears he will answer you.
Nicole Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more and your own eyes will see them.
Sharon Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying this is the way, walk in it, and that’s my verse. Isn’t that the coolest verse?
Nicole That is really good.
Sharon We won’t talk about it yet because it’s the end of the passage. But I’ll share why I chose that verse later.
Sharon 05:34 But my favorite part for the, for the talk we’re doing today about busy-ness is that middle part where they’re frantic in their panic and they’re like, we’re going to flee, we’re going to run, let’s get horses. And they’re just in this huge old dither instead of staying still, they’re running around and spinning their wheels and I can so identify, it’s almost like the busier I get, the more I feel I have to get even busier still to catch up and then nothing goes right? Nope. Oh, I’ll open a cupboard door wrong and the whole thing will fall out because I’m mad and I’m jerking it and then the silverware’s on the floor and then I’ll be trying to put the coffee in the coffee pot quickly and there’ll be grounds everywhere. This has been a repeated experience actually. I’m always in a hurry with the coffee.
Sharon 06:24 It’s so silly and I don’t slow down and God’s just over there shaking his head going, whoa, this is not the way to be. I think the life lesson on slowing down when you’re busy, which is kind of going to be our theme song: when you’re busy, slow down. This truth came when Dad Gamble lived with us because Nicole, everything he did was slow. He couldn’t help it. He was very arthritic. And crippled. So even eating was an effort for him. I mean, it hurt to hold the fork, it just did. And it took effort to get it in his mouth. So he would eat incredibly slowly. I’d be done and I’d be like, I think you’ve had three bites. Now I’m done. And if I said I was done at that point and left, he’d be done because he didn’t want to eat alone.
Sharon 07:19 So I had to sit and watch him eat slowly. So my lunches went from 10 minutes to an hour every day.
Sharon It was the best thing that could have happened to me to just not get tense about it. To kind of receive it, you know, just receive it. It’s going to be slow. But I get to talk to this dear man who has 93 years of history to tell me about Ray’s family and I get to chill. And so, then going out with him because he was in a wheelchair and he had to have oxygen. So we had to put on an oxygen tank and we had to bring supplies with us, lots of work to get him ready to go. So if like there was a 10 o’clock appointment, we had to start getting ready at nine and it was all slow.
Sharon 08:08 It just was. There’s no hurry up if you’re getting behind. And if I would try to hurry up, it would be too stressful for both of us. So through that I started to learn that one way to stop the busy or in my mind, not stop the busy but, stop the hurry. You know what I mean? We say stop the busy because it’s a cute expression, but it’s really stop the hurry. The key, was to just go with what was and stop trying to push my agenda on it. And just take it one step at a time. In rest and confidence and quietness comes our strength. There is no strength in jamming through things even though that’s what we do. And so how do we do that in real life? How do we actually slow it down? I mean, what if your kids are late for school, right?
Sharon 09:06 I would maintain that if your kids are already late for school and life is going crazily, I would stop and I would pray and I’d be a minute later. I just would, I mean I didn’t when my kids were young, so I’m just saying what I would do, not what did do, because the automatic response is get your shoes on faster. Why are you not ready? Oh my goodness, your hair is a mess. And what happens is that whole pressure thing actually makes things go slower even when you’re trying to be fast. Right?
Nicole Oh, it does for sure. Yeah. So to just stop and say, ‘kids, we just need to pray’. We’re going to be late anyways, but let’s ask Jesus for help because we need a reset. And I love that idea. So at least you can have this internal calm, even though your hair is frizzy, they’re missing a sock and… Right.
Sharon 09:57 And it’s kind of like, Lord, I just need you and help me. Help me even in the rush to move correctly, not with the jerking moments that you just have to get it done. Anytime I feel like that, I’m like, okay, okay, so where’s the peace here? Where’s the fruit of the spirit? Am I seeing love, joy, peace, patience? No, none of those. No, what I’m seeing is me irritated because my agenda hasn’t been met and sometimes it’s not my fault. You know, a baby has a dirty diaper right before you leave.
Sharon You know, you’ve just got to change it. That’s the way life is. So I think to stop the busy when we feel that hurried, harassed, I’ve got to find a horse to flee on…like in the scripture. Sharon 10:50 We do the opposite and of what the Bible says to do.
Nicole So it’s in quietness. So then you just have to calm it down. That’s going to be a habit building thing that does not come naturally.
Sharon No, it does not!
Nicole Especially if you think how your morning is going to go and things do go crazy. You’re like, I have to push harder and push those coffee grounds and because it has to go the way I thought it was going to go. Just drink the coffee with grounds in it.
Sharon Exactly. So it’s sort of counterintuitive, but again, it’s a trusting thing. If God is in charge and God knew what my morning was going to be like, I can trust him. If I stop and say please help me that he will.
Nicole And he’s so good at stretching those minutes. We talked about that. We have to trust that if you give him that time, he works it all out.
Sharon 11:39 It does. And you find that you’ve glided to school no later than you would have been if you tried to jam the shoe on the foot five times. So when you feel that hurried sensation, it’s a STOP. It’s just a stop. Okay Lord help me because I’m trying to be in control here and I’m trying to push things and I need to stop. So that’s one way.
And then of course building into our days, which we’ve talked about before, the making the theme song the stops, and then fitting the other things around that. But starting with the nonnegotiable, the above all else, I’m going to stop and be with Jesus. And then from that I’ll be able to do the other things with a much kinder attitude anyways. You have those stops built in.
Nicole So if you do have that frantic morning, you know you’ve got a stop coming up with God. It’s saying Oh yeah but at 10 o’clock is when I have my tea with God.
Nicole 12:35 So it’s having those in place too because life is going to get crazy. We really can’t stop the busy so much as we can stop the hurry, like you said.
Nicole and that hurry, we can use as a flag reminder. Oh this is my time, I need to pray. So I love that we’re going to be able to use the bad feelings kind of to bring us to God. Like, Oh, I’m feeling hurried and stressed. Let’s stop and pray right now. It’s a good reminder. That’s my trigger. . There’s natural triggers right now. That’s great.
Sharon And Jesus’ response to that busy-ness that we don’t even have time to eat. . He said, come away and let’s go rest. Let me read it again. He said, let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile. So the busy-ness, the ‘We can’t even eat.
Sharon 13:16 They’re coming. They’re coming. They’re coming.’ You could think Jesus would say, oh, there’s so many people I need to heal. . . But right in the midst of that, busy, right in the midst of people coming, he says, ‘no, let’s go away’. Oh, he knows. He actually felt that rush in that hurry. So he knows what we’re feeling in those moments. And he says, no, just stop and be still. And that in itself is what is necessary to keep going. Again, we’ve got to have those quiet times in order to live the “rushier” lives with peace and without the hurry, without the irritation at everybody because it doesn’t go like clockwork. Because life isn’t going to go like clockwork. It just does not. It really doesn’t from, you know, from when you’re a kid and things don’t go your way till when you’re 92 and things don’t go your way. It’s just the way it is.
Sharon 14:10 Solet’s look through this passage of scripture now, a couple of verses at a time and talk about them. The first section I almost didn’t put in because it’s not the rest section, but then I realized that this first section is attitude and part of living without hurry at that panicked frenetic, I got to go, I’ve got to move faster thing, is to have the right attitude to begin with. So why don’t you read again verses eight through 11. All right. Then we’ll talk about them.
Nicole ‘Go now write it on a tablet for them and inscribe it on a scroll that for the days to come, it may be an everlasting witness. For these are rebellious people deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instructions. They say to the seers, see no more visions and to the prophets, give us no more visions of what is right. Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions, and then leave this way, get off this path and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel.’
Sharon My goodness. So they’re like, no, no, don’t tell me the truth. Tell me something flowery and lovely.
Nicole Yes, yes, lie to me.
Sharon 15:25 Right, right. And although, you know, that sounds kind of ludicrous, we can almost be like that in wanting to just hear what pleases us in life. I’m thinking of marriage, you know, you listen to the friend that goes, Oh, you poor thing. He said that to you? And you’re like, yes, feed the part of me that thinks I’m always right and he’s always wrong. And yet that’s an illusion because probably we’re wrong too. You know, it’s just a two way street. So when we come into life with the attitude that I want things my way. You tell me the pleasant things, you go ahead and deceive me as long as I feel good, then we are not in a place where when a crisis comes we’ll be able to stop and pray. We’re going to go run around on horses. Like that second friend said. Trying to find that lie or that illusion.
Nicole 16:16 Exactly, exactly. And so they even say stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel. So that’s where we end up when we are just feeding ourselves what we want, what makes us feel good, we stop noticing the Holy One.
Sharon And that’s why God says they’re rebellious people, deceitful children, unwilling to listen to me. And you know when you tell a child to do something that you know is for their good, you know like please don’t eat your seventh piece of candy today, which you shouldn’t have had six already. You’re going to throw up. I mean you’re saying it because you love them and then they ignore you and then they get sick or whatever. God’s grieved because he has the instruction book for life and they’re not listening to it. They’re like, no, no, no. Don’t want to hear that.
Sharon 17:07 Don’t tell me I have to respect. Don’t tell me I can’t have bitterness. Don’t tell me if someone slaps me on the cheek, I’ve got to pass on the other one. Those aren’t things I want to hear. If we come at it with that attitude, then we’re never going to stop and ask for help because we’ve already rejected the Holy One of Israel trying to make life our way. . We’re not looking or listening for truth at all.
Nicole Yeah, exactly.
Sharon In fact, I would say sadly, 95% of the times I’m angry. It’s not righteous anger, it’s selfish anger.
Nicole I would agree with that.
Sharon It’s so humiliating! So every once in a while I’m righteously angry about… sex trafficking, something like that. Something that’s noble. I mean, it’s not noble to sex traffic, it’s noble to be angry about it. But most of the time I’m mad because I don’t get my way.
Nicole Absolutely. I’m right there with you and that actually helps me because I don’t want to be selfish.
Sharon 18:08 So if I can say, okay, Sharon, what kind of anger is this? Ooh, it’s because things didn’t go your way this morning. Okay, so that’s not a great reason to be angry.
Nicole That’s a good checkpoint. What kind of anger is this?
Sharon Right, right. Exactly. So, so then I thought, all right, even though it’s long, it’s God’s word and it’s rich and it fits with what comes next. So let’s see what comes next. Okay, so I’ll read the next section starting at verse 12 ‘Therefore, (and that’s therefore because they’re asking to be told things that aren’t true just so they’ll feel happy and not be confronted with truth.) Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says, because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall cracked and bulging that collapses suddenly in an instant.’
Sharon 19:04 I mean, we can build up on illusions for only so long and it’s all going to come tumbling down. It will break in pieces like pottery shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces, not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern. I mean, the pieces are going to be that, wow. , You’re going to just explode or implode or it’s going to be bad. So that’s what happens when we don’t listen to him. And really, our whole theme song in Sweet Selah Moments is time in the word, time in prayer, time listening. When we don’t do that, we’re like a high wall cracked and bulging ready to fall down because who wrote the instructions for life for us? Oh, the one that made us, right? Who might know a thing or two about how we’re supposed to function.
Sharon 19:54 I know, he decided your DNA should be just like it is. You know, and mine too, we’re both chatty people; he chose that for us. He said, I think Nicole should be chatty. He wired us, so why do we not listen to the instruction manual when it is written by the Creator himself? It’s just foolish. And then everything falls apart. And we have little tiny imploded shards and that can’t be fun to be around. I wouldn’t want to hang around a wall that’s cracked and bulging ready to collapse. So as people to have this tension or this about to explode feeling, that’s not fun to be around.
Nicole It’s not fun to be around at all. I’ve been that way sometimes, my poor family. I’m sorry, you walk around on eggshells, right? I don’t want to be that. And you’re right, because even if the anger isn’t expressed, there are cracks. It’s sizzling there.
Sharon 20:43 You can tell and your family can tell faster than anyone. Oh, they can see and it’s kind of annoying.
Nicole It is.
Sharon I can remember (my daughter) Mary saying to me, you’re angry, aren’t you? And here I am trying to hide it. How are you seeing it? You’re very perceptive. My goodness. Okay, so now you get to read the passage that is about the fleeing. So why don’t you read from verse 15 until verse 17?
Nicole ‘This is what the sovereign Lord, the Holy one of Israel says. In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, no, we will flee on horses, therefore you will flee. You said we will ride off on swift horses and therefore your pursuers will be swift. 1,000 will flee at the threat of one. At the threat of five, you will all flee away.
Nicole 21:34 So you are left like a flagstaff on a mountain top, like a banner on a hill.’
Sharon Just picture them all by themselves as a target for their enemies and just standing there on the hillside just left. . And it’s funny that a thousand will flee at the threat of one. When you’re stressed, things that are really small, like coffee grounds, seem huge, somehow seem like the end of the world.
Nicole Exactly. Your perspective is completely off because you’re just so frantic.
Sharon Exactly. And the answer is right in verse 15. In repentance. So you’ve got to have that repentance thing going on. Lord, this hurry is not from you. I know it isn’t. I know I’m busy. That’s okay. But the hurry is not from you. Right. And rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. Okay. I have just got to be quiet for a moment.
Sharon 22:26 The world will not come to an end. Even if we’re two minutes later, I need to be quiet and I need to look to you, Lord, to trust you to get me through this and reset my attitude and my heart.
Nicole That’s so good.
Sharon So that to me has just taught me so much through the years because I see myself more as the “running around crazy person” and I want to be the, “okay, Dad Gamble was going to take an hour to eat, go with the flow person”. . Just sit and enjoy him. Nicole, looking back on the hours I got to spend with him, there is no regret. None. And what if every time I had said, uh, 10 minutes, I’m out of here. You try to finish. And I left. Yeah, I would have missed moments I’d never get back.
Nicole You may not have planned intentional hours with him, but that was just a gift that was kind of placed in your day with him.
Sharon 23:18 It was a gift. It was, wow. Guess what? The work still got done and I heard some really cool stories about my husband when he was a boy.
Nicole That’s pretty great.
Sharon And I built a friendship with Dad. I wasn’t just his caregiver and see, as a mom, you can just be a caregiver to feed them, clothe them, get them out of the way, keep them alive. Good. We’re done. I don’t want to be a caregiver alone. I want to be a companion, whether it’s my children or whether it’s an elderly father-in-law I was caring for. I wanted to be a pal.
Nicole And that probably blessed him so much to not to feel that he was a burden or the person being taken care of.
Sharon Yeah. That I wasn’t always irritated with something that he could not help. Right. He could not help it and little two year olds can’t help it either when they want to try to button for themselves and they can’t do it.
Nicole Nope. Nicole 24:07 So you say, all right, if it’s consistently crazy, find that rest. What do I need to stop? I need to come away by myself and I have to say, okay, what do I need to change? You know? And if you have those times of stopping, I feel like your heart can be more prepared for being more receptive to the hour with your father in law. If you start to build in these stops in these times with God, you’re used to being still with him. It won’t feel as foreign when these stops come in our day that we weren’t planning. It’s okay, well this must be another time just to be still. God, I’ll take it and roll with it. Another challenge to trust.
Sharon Exactly. Is he in charge of my day or am I? Ah, exactly. If I started the day saying I surrender this day to you.
Sharon 24:54 I want what you want, Lord. Well then if I need to stop for an hour for lunch, so be it, then he knows that.
Nicole Yeah, there’s a whole different perspective when that’s the thought behind it and that takes the hurry out of it
Sharon And it’s the hurry and the irritation and the fear? That’s really the sin part and the busy can be, if I’ve overloaded my schedule too much or it cannot be, it can be just life, you know? Try having triplets. I suspect that’s a whole lot of busy, you know, and that’s not your fault. You have triplets. Right? Okay, well let me read this last little bit in conclusion because this is so lovely. It’s verses 18 through 21 and says, ‘yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you’. Here they are running around. Here they are, his deceitful, rebellious children. What does he want?
Sharon 25:50 I mean, this is our good father. He says, I want to be gracious to you. My desire is to be kind. I don’t want to beat you up for this. Therefore he will rise up to show you compassion for the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him. Waiting is another slow word. It’s not a speedy word, and I know that’s a hard word. And then he says, Isaiah says, people of Zion who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help. As soon as he hears he will answer you. We don’t get the lecture that a crabby parent would give us. When we cry out to him, he’s there and he’s willing to help us. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, I mean sometimes hard things happen.
Sharon 26:42 Your teachers will be hidden no more, with your own eyes you will see them. And then here’s my life verse. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, this is the way walk in it. And this is my life goal. I want to know him so well that I hear ‘go right, go left, in the day, slow down, trust’, whatever he wants to say to me. I’m not there, but that’s been my goal forever and probably will be till I die without completely achieving it. I want to walk the way that he says this is the way Sharon walk in it. I want to hear it, I want to know it, and I want to do it with joy. So that’s a life verse because I feel like it’s going to take a lifetime, but I do love it.
Sharon 27:34 I really, really do.
Nicole I like that one. I’ve never really noticed that one before.
Sharon It’s a weirdo life verse not a really common one. I discovered it one day when somebody had asked me, so what’s your life verse? And I didn’t have one and then I’m like this is my life verse because this is what I want. I want to know him that well.
Nicole Well exactly. You have to know his voice to hear his voice telling you go left or right.
Sharon Yeah. So it comes back to taking time to be with God, which I do believe is the theme of this podcast. So let me pray and then we’ll close out for today and thank you so much for joining us today, dear one. And if you are a hurried, harried, frazzled, crabby person, join the club. We’re right there with you and I’m going to pray for you that next time you feel that you find it a trigger to stop.
Sharon 28:21 So let’s pray. Lord, how I thank you for the advice that you give in this Isaiah passage, that it’s in rest and trust and repentance and quietness that we are saved not in running faster. Father, would you this week for each of us, when we feel that frazzled feeling trigger us to stop and say, help reset me, Lord, help me to walk in calmness and not hurry, trusting you that you will show me what to do next. In Jesus name. Amen.
Nicole Amen. Oh, this is such a good one today, Sharon. Thank you so much. I learned so much. We’d love to hear from you about what you learned today about just slowing down in the busy. How do you get yourself to a stop in the midst of busy? Or if you never have, try it and write to us about it. We’d love to hear from you. Our show notes can be found at Sweetselah.org email@example.com. Check out our chatter there, and add a comment or two. Please follow us and encourage your friends to do the same. Let’s make sweet selah moments, a daily happening thing in our life as we stop and check in with the Holy One of Israel who will tell us whether to go right or left. And tune in next time for episode five ‘Turn your worries into prayers’.
Announcer 29:42 We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. Sweet Selah Moments is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast, including show notes, can be firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com. Thank you for joining us.
You can download and print the transcript here.