Are You a Busybody?

I happened upon an article by Stacy McDonald that I thought so important as the new school year begins.  She points out how women, especially, are prone to being sucked into the pit of "busybody-ness."  And it's being a busybody that can be one of our greatest downfalls.  Women who have all the best Christian intentions, and even tell themselves they are practicing charity as they involve themselves in the lives of other people, are likely to be duped by the Evil One and ultimately distracted from their work at home.  It's a really fine line between charity and the sin of what ultimately becomes a foolish, idle, poor stewardship of time.  We need to be careful that we aren't so involved in the affairs of others--even when we think we're meeting an urgent need--that we neglect our duties at home.  As important as service is, we need to ensure the education of our children, both academically and spiritually, before we look outside our homes to "save the world."  We need to look well to the ways of our home, make sure our living spaces our pleasant and comfortable, our meals are cooked, our husbands have clean socks, before throwing ourselves into apostolic ventures (formal or informal) to the detriment of our own families and the peace that the Lord has asked us to safeguard at home.

One of the best ways Satan has to distract well-intentioned women from the primary apostolate of their families is to strew their paths with "needy people."  Needy people look like they just can't manage unless you drop everything and rescue them--you babysit on a moment's notice all the time; you bring meals; you rush to their aid leaving your own family to fend for themselves.  All because your own family doesn't look as needy to you as the "needy people."  (Or is it because the day-to-day faithful keeping at home doesn't provide quite the adrenaline rush or ego boost?) But if you continue being a busybody, the people at home will most certainly become needy.  A pattern of "apostolic neglect" in your own home will result in a academic lessons not even started, never mind finished, children who don't know the rhythm of an orderly day or week because "ordinary time" is always pre-empted by someone else's latest crisis.

I am not saying we should not serve.  We should serve--willingly and glady and with our whole hearts.  But we should not be so caught up in the drama of the needs of other people that we miss the very real needs of the people in our care.  Mrs. MacDonald calls it "idleness."  At first glance, it doesn't look like idleness.  Usually, busybodies are in perpetual motion and they will tell you just how busy they have been saving everyone else.  But it is idleness because our hands, and hearts, and minds are not at work doing what God really intends us to do:  care well for our own families.  And so, we tell ourselves we are teaching our children to serve but what we are really teaching them are false priorities and how to neglect our calling for something else. We are teaching them frantic motion instead of peaceful, orderly service and the quiet that is necessary to hear what God really wants us to do.

Mrs. Macdonald offers a self-check so we can be sure we're not "busybodies."

    1. A busybody is more concerned with other people's matters than she is her own. You will notice that she knows everything about everyone. She has the "scoop" on just about anyone you mention. 1 Peter. 4:3
    2. A busybody is disorderly. Her house will be disorganized. Housework will be overwhelming and children will most likely be out of control. (By the way, not everyone who doesn't have or hasn't been taught organizational skills is a busybody!) 2 Thessalonians. 3:11
    3. A busybody does not do the work that God has called her to do. She either refuses to do what should be done or is too tired or overwhelmed to complete any one task properly. Either housework, requests from her husband, or family business tasks will not be tended to because she has been busy learning to be idle. [I would add here that schoolwork does not happen consistently.] 2 Thessalonians 3:11
    4. A busybody learns to be idle. How do we "learn" a specific "skill?" Practice! A busybody will consistently ignore her God-given tasks and will in fact "learn" to be idle. You will notice that they seem to be constantly "busy" although nothing ever gets done! They seem to be frantic and tired most days, but if you check with their families, they have nothing to show for their busyness! 1 Timothy 5:13
    5. A busybody goes from house to house "tattling." We can go from "house to house" in many ways these days! We have the telephone, fax machine, grocery store, homeschooling groups, playgroups, church, and the most dangerous - email!!!!

For the rest of the article visit her website.