Jeff Martin, blogger and friend, asked me, “Peter, how are you?” The standard reply, “I’m doing well, but very busy.” I will never forget the day Jeff responded differently. He said, “Can you think of something else to say? Most people say their busy.” His comment literally changed the way I answered that question.
If you Google the phrase “stop saying you’re busy,” you will find a slew of articles. Along the way, we equated this response to productivity. The busier our lives sound then the more people will respect us, we will like ourselves, or perhaps God will be more pleased. At least for myself, I came to believe a lie; people want what I can do for them rather than wanting me.
This past weekend my wife Robyn and mother in-law Kathy spoke at a conference on the topic of busyness. They referenced Psalm 90:12, “Teach me to number my days so we might gain a heart of wisdom.” Pursuing busyness has become a cry for meaning and significance. This verse profoundly causes us to not only prioritize what truly matters, but asks for a heart of wisdom to know what to pursue as priorities.
At the conference, they referenced a quote by Peter Kreft which says:
We want to complexify our lives. We don’t have to, we want to. We wanted to be harried and hassled and busy. Unconsciously, we want the very things we complain about. For if we had leisure, we would look at ourselves and listen to our hearts and see the great gaping hole in our hearts and be terrified, because that hole is so big that nothing but God can fill it.” (Christianity for Modern Pagans, 168).
The antidote to busyness comes from understanding our need for God’s grace. Following Christ means recapturing the life He intended us to live. Creation in Genesis speaks of a seventh day of rest. We were meant to live a life of rhythm consisting of work, leisure, rest, planning, and reflection. In my struggle with busyness, I have come to ask these questions:
What/who has motivated my busyness?
Does the pace of my life reflect the pace God intended for me?
Am I planning my schedule well?
Do people leave conversations with me rushed or feeling heard?
In some way, all of us struggle with busyness. The message for those of us weary and worn out; the message of the Gospel never equates our worth to busyness. God gives us grace and wisdom to live a life of meaning with Him as the source.
You may want to check out Kevin DeYoung’s book Crazy Busy.
How do you combat your busyness?