Becca / Reflections

Being busy vs. being effective

With exam season quickly approaching, I have found myself running around frantically trying to get everything checked off my to-do list: every assignment completed, every article read, and every meeting scheduled. And yet, when I carve out time to sit with the Lord, all of that suddenly matters a whole lot less. God has been working in my life tremendously this semester to remind me that my self-worth doesn’t depend on the numbers on my transcript, the amount of courses I am carrying, and whether or not I have a plan for post-grad.

We have become so accustomed to being ‘busy’, myself included. We reflexively check our laptops, our tablets, and our smartphones and work to reduce every complex idea to 140 characters. But at the end of the day, are we really being effective? Are we working towards something meaningful? Are we at peace?


In Saint Alphonsus de Liguori’s short work Uniformity with God’s Will, he uses the example of a man with two labourers, saying,

“One works unremittingly all day long–but according to his own devices; the other, conceivably, works less, but does do what he is told. This latter of course is going to find favor in the eyes of his master; the other will not.”

Winslow Homer "The Veteran in a New Field" -1865

Winslow Homer “The Veteran in a New Field” -1865

Are we taking the time to ensure that we’re doing what God is really calling us to do? If our to-do list is in uniformity with God’s greater plan for us, we will ultimately be more effective and at peace.

St. Teresa of Avila wrote, “Those who give themselves to prayer should concentrate solely on this: the conformity of their wills with the divine will. They should be convinced that this constitutes their highest perfection. The more fully they practice this, the greater the gifts they will receive from God, and the greater the progress they will make in the interior life.”

What kind of labourer do you want to be? The one who is busy or the one who is effective?

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