“Busy is a drug a lot of people are addicted to.” (Rob Bell)
Recently, I overheard a friend say, “I am done with holidays.” She explained that holidays were just too stressful and gave her too much to do along with having to deal with the drama that often accompanies family gatherings.
Since I know this person well, I also know that these words really characterize her whole life. She always has too much to do, and she’s always stressed. Holidays undeservedly received the blame for her stress.
Why Are You So Busy?
Our culture is one of busyness, and I truly feel burdened for those I know and love who are simply too busy. This burden comes from living in that reality, being broken by it, and rebuilding a simple life without the weight of busyness. In other words, I’ve been there and know the way out. More importantly, I know that there is a way out.
Much of this busyness comes from the seasons of life. Kids need attention, loved ones are sick, work is overloaded, and ministry calls. This busyness, to a large extent, is simply the inevitable busyness of life itself.
Busyness reaches toxic levels when we, by deliberate choice, choose to commit to more than we are capable of doing. These are the things we say “yes” to because we “should” or because “someone has to do it.” They are the things born out of perfectionism and long-standing habits.
This toxic level reaches epic proportions when we pile on “things to do” as a way to avoid doing the hard work of creating a balanced life focused on true priorities. Instead, we get lost in the multitude of activities, obligations and commitments.
When we’re too busy, we don’t have time for deepening relationships. We don’t have time to work through the issues that created rifts in our lives. We don’t have time to read that which would deepen our character. We don’t have time to get the rest we need. We don’t have time to make healthy choices. Worst of all, we don’t have time to spend one-on-one with God.
Trapped in Busyness
“A busy life makes prayer harder, but prayer makes a busy life easier.” (Unknown)
Many people feel trapped in busyness. They realize that busyness creates an inner conflict that seems impossible to reconcile. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce busyness and discover simplicity in your life.
- Make small changes. Small changes done consistently over time add up to make a huge difference. Becoming instantly un-busy won’t happen, but making small adjustments will slowly reduce busyness. Taking your time with this process rather than trying to “quit cold turkey” increases its staying power.
- Accept the painful truth. You will have to say “no” to some good things. You will have to let things you really want to do go in order to do the things that are truly important.
- Commit busyness to prayer. Ask God to show you how to become less busy. Ask Him to show you how to simplify. Most importantly, ask Him to change your heart towards busyness and to help you realize that obedience to Him does not mean saying “yes” to every opportunity that passes through your awareness.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14)
Transforming a busy life is really hard. It requires brokenness. It requires letting go of attachment to accomplishments. It means admitting that under our own strength, we try to do too much. It also means admitting that without some help and without deliberate choice, we will continue feeling the increasing weight of busyness.