“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.
3 DANGERS TO AVOID
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?
7 REASONS WE’RE TOO BUSY
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.”
1 THING TO DO
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.
* * *
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
- What I’ll be reading in July ’14
- 12 [different] spiritual disciplines