by Lygia Lovelace
Do you know her?
She's the most dedicated lady
in the church. She works in the nursery, she works in the
kitchen, and she makes sure the women's bathrooms are clean
before Sunday morning services. She is the first one visitors
see when they come through the door, and the last one to
wave good bye as the church is locked up until the next
activity. She knows who is in the hospital and who is out
She takes meals to the sick
and even sends cards every week to the absentees. No one
really offers to help her because she seems so capable and…well…so
busy. She seems to have it all under control and
to love what she does.
She is nice, friendly, and
fun to be around…at least most of the time.
But you see, there is another
side to Busy Betty. She can be harsh, depressed, grumpy,
and even angry with others during her times of being overwhelmed.
Because really, Busy Betty
is Absentee Betty. And she is really very Unhappy Betty…Restless
Betty…Burned-out Betty…and Joyless Betty. And though she
won't admit it, she is Empty Betty.
Betty is so busy being Busy
Betty that she has no time for personal growth. She teaches
preschoolers on Sunday morning during Sunday school, she
watches the nursery during worship, and during the Ladies'
Bible Study, she flits in and out, making sure everyone
She avoids prayer meetings
and stands out in the hall visiting, "watching the
door", during the entire discipleship hour.
How did Betty become so busy?
Well, you see, she has had
some very painful experiences in her lifetime. She doesn't
like to think about them, and in truth, there are some things
that have happened that she just doesn't understand. And
that makes her angry…but she knows that anger toward God
So she just won't think about
In reality, if she allows herself
to be still for one moment, those tough questions rise to
the surface of her heart, like bile in a nauseous stomach…
How could God have allowed
that? Why has this happened to me? How can I explain these
experiences in my life? Why me?! GOD I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND!
She's got business to do with
God and she doesn't want to face it. She doesn't want to
be still; she doesn't want to give her brain time to think
She doesn't want to give her
heart time to cry because that is not her idea of strength.
After all, life goes on, right?
If God let this happen, then so be it.
So the painful thoughts and
feelings are pushed down deep, to fester and boil, and to
erupt occasionally when things get too stressful, blasting
those around her.
Busy Betty can really become
Scary Betty when she's stressed…
Have you ever heard of The
Feast of Tabernacles? It is a special time for the Jewish
people (and even today for some Christians) --a time for
remembering how God provided for His people in the wilderness
long ago. This is a time after the Day of Atonement, when
the people of God truly search their hearts and come clean
before the Father. Each participating family builds a booth
to live in -- a hut of sorts -- made from branches of good
strong trees. They live there for about a week, getting
away from schedules and distractions. It is a time of thinking
about the Father and His working in their lives. It is a
time of renewal, a time of fun. It is a time of focus.
It is a time to celebrate cleansing.
It is a time to celebrate the harvest. It is a time to celebrate
Jehovah-Jireh, the Great Provider Himself!
Each summer we as a Christian
family seek to celebrate The Feast of Tabernacles. Oh, we
don't build a shelter of tree branches, but we do retreat
to the Father, whether we can afford to go anywhere or not.
In the lean times, we stay at home. But sometimes we get
the special privilege of attending a Family Conference Center,
like Ridgecrest or Glorieta, where we can spend time together
as a family, pray, go to Bible classes, and relax.
This past summer was such a
time for us...a time to go to Ridgecrest.
As we packed for the trip,
I put my usual Bible helps and study books in my bag. It
had been my habit to spend hours before the Father at such
conferences. I packed for it…but in my heart I was Busy
Betty, not planning to seriously go before Him.
It was just too painful.
You see the months preceding
this time of Tabernacles, I had been going through a deep
hurt. Busy Betty's questions kept flowing through my mind:
How could God have allowed
this? Why has this happened to us? GOD I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND!
I was tired of the tears and
tired of facing the situation. I just wanted to forget.
Thinking about it and praying about it was just too painful.
Oh, I think there is a time for that "groaning before
the Father," that time of silence and grief. But I
had long passed that time. Now, I was a little angry, a
little resentful, and a lot disgusted with what was happening.
I knew I would have to let
go of this if I came before the Father.
And I didn't want to let go
of it and to my shame, I really didn't want to hear what
the Father had to say.
So the week passed. Ken and
the kids and I climbed mountains together, we ate ice cream
together, we met new people and laughed together… During
the private times I would get out all of my books, then
I would decide to go for a walk…or a snack…or take a nap.
I refused to stay quiet before the Father. There was a big
elephant in the room between us and I knew it. But I just
didn't want to think about it anymore.
By Thursday, it was getting
harder to avoid the issue. Whenever I would sit down with
my Bible, the Father would begin to speak to my heart and
the tears would begin to flow. I didn't want that! I decided
to go and sit outside at the tables on the front porch of
our hotel. After all, it was a beautiful day! Bible and
computer in hand, I found a solitary table. I didn't really
want to be alone…but I unpacked my things and sat and stared
at the people walking by. Little by little my eyes turned
to Scripture and God spoke so strongly in that early morning
that I just sat and listened….
…then the tears began to flow.
What did I get from the Father?
So much love. So much comfort. As I sat at that little patio
table, looking down at the Word, I felt as if the Father
was silent, literally holding my hand and crying with me.
I was hurting, so He was hurting. That was such a revelation
and a relief to me.
He didn't condemn me for being
Busy Betty -- I had done enough self-condemning already.
He just held me, and He cried.
Are you wearing the Busy Betty
mask? Are you refusing to face what's really going on, way
down deep? Are you avoiding deep fellowship with the Father,
wearing that plastic smile and going through the motions.
My friend, it's time to
stop. Slow down. Talk to Him! He loves you so. He is
hurting with you, and His arms are open wide.
Get out of the hall. Go to
Bible study! Let somebody else do the busy work. Deepen
your walk with Him! Stop running away.
Get rid of Busy Betty.
Be still and know that I am God.
© 2010. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights