The Danger of an Overcrowded Life
When it comes to being busy, everybody has their own way. Parents who are wanting their children to stay active are likely to say, “I don’t want your eyes glued to that phone all day, go out and do something.” Psychologists have conducted research that proves that being idle for long periods of time is connected to problematic behaviors. Log on to your favorite social media app, and your feed will be flooded with what people are doing, not with what they are not doing. Everybody knows that one teenager who takes honors classes, plays lacrosse, runs cross-country, takes piano lessons, volunteers at a local non-profit, and then tries to stay involved at church. Or perhaps you’ve met the young adult who works full-time, takes as many classes as possible at college, has a side hustle, works out several days during the week, and has a significant other, all while trying to stay involved at church. The simple truth is teenagers and young adults are busier now than ever before.
Statistics show that it takes an average of 30 minutes longer for students to complete homework in 2023 compared to the 1990’s. They also reveal that teenagers on average get 22 minutes more sleep every night compared to teens in the 1990’s. To top it off, leisure has increased for teens and young adults. One study found that the average teen or young adult has 30-40 minutes more leisure time in 2023 compared to teens and young adults during the 1990’s. What does all of that add up to mean? An already tight schedule has become even more crowded because there is less time being devoted by teens and young adults to spiritual disciplines.
One of the greatest misconceptions in our day is the idea that a busy life equates to a successful life. Quite the opposite is typically true. Many of the busiest people in the world tend to be individuals who look back and regret what they’ve missed out on. Similarly, they tend to go in a direction of life they never sought to pursue, and as time marches on, they state that what they’ve accomplished isn’t as much as what they’d hoped to have done. This is all because an overcrowded life ends up being an underachieving life. The primary reason for that is when you have too much going on, it is difficult to focus on what God is wanting to do with your life.
Jesus illustrated the danger of being in an overcrowded situation when he delivered the parable of the sewer to his followers. In speaking about the seed that fell amongst thorns which prevented a plant from producing fruit, Jesus would say the following, “The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced” (Mark 4:18-19, NLT). There are certain fruits or vegetables that will only grow well in open places. Take for example watermelon or onion plants. Watermelon plants are said to need around 25 square feet of space to grow properly, while onion seeds need to be planted at least 2-3 inches from other seeds to grow. If you compare that truth to what Jesus was illustrating in the parable of the sewer, God’s word can be received by us regardless of what is going on in our lives. Nevertheless, how crowded our lives are will determine how we respond to the word of God, and ultimately the spiritual fruit that we produce.
It’s far too common for the word of God to be spoken, perhaps the same message over and over, and the word never changes our lives. That is not because the word of God is not powerful, but rather it is because we’ve failed to meditate upon what the Lord was speaking into our hearts. This happens when a busy schedule overcrowds God’s word. It transpires when we leave very little margin time in our day for the Lord to continue working on our hearts. You could be reading this right now and there is a word you want to retrieve that was spoken to you by God in the past, but you’ve struggled to process what it meant. Realize it is always easier to find what you’re looking for, by removing whatever is in the way. The answer to what we need to remove from our lives, to allow better the word of God to bring about transformation, is often quite obvious. Generally, it is whatever we will try to justify needing to keep. Whatever takes up too much time, but we can’t imagine that aspect of our lives being gone, could be what is overcrowding God’s word. In the end, the danger of an overcrowded life is we leave no room for Jesus and His word. So, what needs to be gone from your life? Ask yourself that question and be ready to act upon whatever answer you come up with.
Andrew is the proud husband to Chelsea and father to Carson. Currently, he serves as youth pastor at the First Apostolic Church of Aurora, Illinois. He has been involved in youth ministry in some capacity for the last 13 years. Additionally, He serves as the Section 12 Youth Director and Media Coordinator for Illinois Youth Ministries. On the side, he owns a creative design company called Spark Innovative Solutions. His educational background includes a BA in Psychology, (minor in Communication) from Oakland University and an M.Ed. in School Counseling from Liberty University.