Justin Boothby – Busyness
The Chariot: “Can’t stop the race/ People moving in place/ Running a crooked path/ Place to place to place/ Questions on our minds/ Buildings on the rise/ Diamonds instead of our eyes/ Corporate fights/ Oh busy, busy bees/ Walking to and fro/ What if we close our eyes?/ What if we can’t wake up?” –The Chariot, They Faced Each Other, The Fiancee
Busyness is not the newest fad and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Busyness has become one of the true adversaries of America. Busyness has ended marriages and families. Busyness has led to burnout and disaster. Busyness has led to drinking and drug abuse. Busyness has consumed our culture.
And the above paragraph isn’t just speaking to the secular world. The life of Pastors, Missionaries, Ministry Leaders, and the everyday Christ-follower have all fallen into its seducing trap. Busyness makes you believe that burning yourself out for Jesus is the Lord’s plan for your life. It makes you believe that if you aren’t doing something, you’re failing, losing, or worse – sinning. Busyness makes one deny their own spouses, friends, and children. There is no life in busyness, only calamity.
But one of the craziest phenomena that happens in this “busyness” culture is that you become so “busy” that you become ineffective and not busy at all. Instead, you tell people that you are so busy as an excuse for not staying in contact with that person. How many times have you said, “I’m so sorry, I’ve just been so busy lately.” When in reality, you just convinced yourself you were busy so you had an excuse. It’s easier to say “I’m busy” rather than “I forgot to keep up with our relationship.” This isn’t to say we aren’t busy. But busyness should never replace relationships.
We are overworked, overextended, and struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle because of busyness. So how do we fix it? How do we free ourselves from the chains that hold us down?
1. Be Still
How do we escape the shackles of Busyness? Paradoxically, we “be still.” You cannot beat busyness with more busyness. You can go to every conference and Church event in the world to overcome busyness, but none of that will help. Psalm 46:10 says in the midst of war and chaos, “Be still and know that I am God.” It isn’t just about being still and not doing anything! It’s about being still and focusing your heart, mind, soul, and strength on Jesus and resting in His perfect timing. If you believe that God works out all things (Romans 8:28), then you need to trust that the Lord will do those things.
2. Rest. Rest. Rest.
Seminary taught me many things. But one of the main things it taught me was how to balance a holistic lifestyle. Rest is the most important on that list. Whatever your views on Genesis 1-2 are, there can be no denying the truth that our bodies need that one day of rest each week. Seminary taught us to make sure our sabbaths are sacred, make sure we’re taking a long weekend every few months, and making sure we are taking a solid one to two weeks a year to do nothing but rest. Each person rests and rejuvenates differently. But however you do it, find time to “Be Still” with the Lord.
3. Work Smart and Hard.
I am not saying you shouldn’t work hard in all of this. God wants you to work hard on things that are important, whereas Busyness wants you to work hard on things that have no eternal value. But you shouldn’t work so hard that everything else around you suffers. This is where working smart comes into play. In Wayne Cordeiro’s book Sifted, Wayne meets a Youth Pastor and asks him how his ministry is going. The YP responds, “I have all these emails to reply to, Facebook and Twitter to handle…” and I have very little time for my relationships. Wayne responds to the YP, “Put down your computer and get to work.”
Don’t let busyness fool you. Work efficiently. There are different systems for enhancing and optimizing your time. Some people prefer the Pomodoro Technique which is working hard for 25 minutes with short breaks in between. I like doing the 45-15 method because I often get on a roll after about 20 minutes and have a hard time stopping.
Busyness consumes the very best of people. It overcomes our lifestyle and deceives us with lies that we aren’t “good enough” or that we are “sinning” if we aren’t doing more. But these aren’t the words of the Holy Spirit. These are the words of your enemy coming to steal, kill, and destroy not only you, but those you love the most. This isn’t to say that you should become a lazy bum and not do anything with your day. On the contrary, we must work hard and smart to maintain things that are important! Be Still with the Lord this week and find out what important things you need to refocus on.
About Justin Boothby