Are you crazy busy?

“I’ve yet to meet anyone in America who responds to the question ‘How are you?’ with the reply, ‘Well for starters, I’m not very busy.’”
– Kevin DeYoung

You’re too busy, right? Too much to do, not enough time?

We hear it a lot. We say it a lot. But why is it so? And are we putting our souls at risk because of it?

In Crazy Busy, Kevin DeYoung gives 3 dangers to avoid, 7 diagnoses to consider, and 1 thing to do about our busyness.

Book review-Crazy Busy-LisaNotes


1. Don’t let busyness ruin your joy

“This is the most immediate and obvious spiritual threat. As Christians, our lives should be marked by joy (Phil. 4:4), taste like joy (Gal. 5:22), and be filled with the fullness of joy (John 15:11). Busyness attacks all of that.”

2. Busyness can rob your heart

“Do you know why retreats and mission trips and summer camps and Christian conferences are almost always good for your spiritual growth? Because you have to clear your schedule to do them. . . . For most of us, it isn’t heresy or rank apostasy that will derail our profession of faith. It’s all the worries of life.

3. Busyness conceals the rot in your soul

“The presence of extreme busyness in our lives may point to deeper problems—a pervasive people-pleasing, a restless ambition, a malaise of meaninglessness. . . . The greatest danger with busyness is that there may be greater dangers you never have time to consider.

Those are some of the bad things that busyness can do.

But how do we get to that crazy busy state anyway?


1. We feed our pride too much

“It’s okay to be busy at times. You can’t love and serve others without giving of your time. So work hard; work long; work often. Just remember it’s not supposed to be about you. Feed people, not your pride.”

Pride shows up in many ways through our desires for: people-pleasing, pats on the back, performance evaluation, possessions, proving ourselves, etc. How do we discern what’s from pride though and what’s genuine service to others? DeYoung says ask yourself this question:

“Am I trying to do good or to make myself look good?”

2. We do more than God expects of us

Too often we carry a low-level guilt that we’re not doing enough, either imposed internally or from other believers.

“We know we can always pray more and give more and evangelize more, so we get used to living in a state of mild disappointment with ourselves. That’s not how the apostle Paul lived (1 Cor. 4:4), and it’s not how God wants us to live, either.”

3. We fail to set priorities

Even Jesus didn’t do everything. We have to set priorities to serve most effectively.

4. We freak out too much about our kids

We take on too much responsibility for their happiness. And we freak them out when we’re always frazzled.

5. We look at screens too much

Um, I think we all understand this one. You’re here, after all . . . . DeYoung suggests occasionally returning to old technology, setting more boundaries, and being more thoughtful about our connectedness with others.

6. We don’t rest enough

“We can’t go without sleep very long without doing our bodies and souls great damage. That’s the way God made us—finite and fragile. He made us to spend almost a third of our lives not doing anything except depending on him. Going to sleep is our way of saying, ‘I trust you, God. You’ll be okay without me.’”

7. We suffer extra because we never expect to suffer

When we expect life to be easy, we’re going to be extra disappointed when it’s hard. And part of life is that we will be more busy at times; that’s not a sin in itself.

The busyness that’s bad is not the busyness of work, but the busyness that works hard at the wrong things. It’s being busy trying to please people, busy trying to control others, busy trying to do things we haven’t been called to do. So please don’t hear from me that work is bad or that bearing burdens is bad. That’s part of life. That’s part of being a Christian.”


Then finally DeYoung advises us of the one thing we must do (this is not a spoiler alert—you probably saw it coming):

Sit at the feet of Jesus, “because being with Jesus is the only thing strong enough to pull us away from busyness.”

He suggests we do this by devoting ourselves to the Word of God and prayer, to public worship and private worship. I agree that’s part of it, but I’d add we need more awareness of Jesus WITH us in our daily routines of work and play and rest. (Sometimes busyness is an attitude we need to kick as much as a lifestyle we need to change, but that’s another post.)

So would it be worth your time to read this book?

You might not learn much you don’t already know. But, in the short time it takes to read the book, you’ll probably be motivated to decrease the busyness in your life—for everybody’s good. And that alone makes the time spent worthwhile.

* * *

Read more:

When someone asks you, “How are you?” are you apt to reply “Busy!”?
How do you tame busyness in your life? I’d love to hear.

My thanks to Crossway
for the review copy of this book

16 thoughts on “Are you crazy busy?

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Nah, won’t read it. Too busy.


    I’m no longer “too busy”. There are a lot of responsibilities yet, and a lot of work to do, but I’ll attend to it in its time. Anyone who gets impatient waiting will simply have to deal with it.

    My time here is limited, and if this life and its experiences were not important, we would not have been placed here. So I’m going to move through life at a pace that allows understanding. Not dawdling, but not rushing.

    Speed is not everything. Unless, of course, I’m one day well enough again to get back on the dirt oval on a summer Saturday night…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Good one, Andrew. 😉

      I love your attitude. I could see somebody going either way with busyness when they know death is coming sooner rather than later, but you’ve chosen wisely to not rush through what’s left. Keep teaching us. We’re listening.

      I visited the “dirt oval” in Indianapolis last week. No races were going on, but drivers were there making test runs. Lots of noise and speed there! ha.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Gotta appreciate God’s timing. I need this one often myself. One take-away for me (not necessarily spelled out in the book though) was to allocate MORE time for each project. I tend to underestimate how long everything takes. But by overestimating, I feel less rushed (plus it makes me not put as many things on my to-do list to start off with).

  2. Trudy

    Thanks, Lisa, I especially love the advice – Sit at the feet of Jesus, “because being with Jesus is the only thing strong enough to pull us away from busyness.” Chronic illness does force me to keep a slower pace, but I find that even when I take a walk in nature, my thoughts sometimes get busy with not spending too much time as I should get home and get something done… I have to tell myself “Just rest… Don’t feel guilty about taking this time with God.”

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I have to talk to myself like that all the time, Trudy. “Stay in the now.” That’s a biggie I remind myself of a lot, and amazingly it does make a difference. THIS ONE is always the moment God is in, so this is the moment I want to stay in. Praying for us not to ever feel guilty about resting with God.

  3. Pamela

    I smiled when I saw your sweet face and read your question on the linky party. Too, too busy! My husband and I have a writing deadline the end of June and everything else is getting crowded out. I needed to read this. Needed to remember to sit at the feet of Jesus a bit longer. And I will… ~Pamela

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Sometimes busyness can’t be helped—sounds like you may be in one of those seasons. Nonetheless, yes, we all still need times to sit at the feet of Jesus, even in the midst of it all. It’s hard though. Praying for you to meet your deadline, Pamela!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It was an easy read, and it goes by before you know it. It’s not necessarily anything you don’t already know, but just seeing it all in one place and with the definite spiritual mindset makes it a worthwhile read. Hope Bruce is enjoying the audiobook!

  4. June

    Thanks for sharing about this book, Lisa. It’s next on my list to download from Amazon! I recently did a post about refreshment. The enemy certainly has most of us convinced that resting and feeding one’s soul is bad. I think that this is probably the biggest area in our lives that we need to re-condition & re-align into God’s perspective. Have a blessed, refreshing weekend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree with you, June. Somehow along the way we’ve gotten it into our minds that it’s lazy to rest, but God has insisted on rest since the beginning. Heading over to read your post now….

  5. bluecottonmemory

    “We do more than God expects of us” – this used to be a problem until I started to understand that I wasn’t called to do everything, I was only called to do what God designed me for. It liberated me from not only busyness but much guilt and frustration.
    Wonderful summary! I think we all need to evaluate our commitments and “whys” – kind of like scrubbing barnacles off boat bottoms!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, yes–being liberated from guilt and frustration is a huge benefit of understanding our individual calls from God instead of thinking we have to heed our own plus everyone else’s. It’s still a hard lesson for me to master, but I hope I’m getting there too. Don’t want too many barnacles to collect on the bottom. 🙂 Great analogy.

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