Here’s a news flash: I’m busy.
Here’s another news flash: You are, too.
Each day we rush from this place to that, this appointment to that one, this activity to the next. We hurry, hurry, hurry until we finally drop at the end of the day and lie down exhausted.
Though we might complain about the pace of our lives at a given moment, a small piece of us seems to glory in that busyness. Would you agree? I know that’s the case for me.
It’s not that having a full schedule is necessarily wrong. The Lord values work, and He values it a lot. We’re expected to make the most of the talents we’ve been given, and that means we need to be involved. My sense, though, is that the love part of my love-hate relationship with busyness isn’t so much about working as unto the Lord, but rather because of something else. Perhaps there’s some deep-seated need that my full calendar can meet.
If you’ll permit me, I’d like to confront the true root of our inherent need for busyness:
1. I believe that busyness validates me.
When I’m busy, it means I’ve got things to do, people to meet, and stuff to accomplish. I’m needed; I’m wanted. And if you don’t believe me, just look at my schedule. Based on my color-coded appointment book, you can observe for yourself just how important I am.
2. I fear I’m missing out on something.
Surely, if I’m this busy, then I must be in the “in” crowd. In the game. A part of the action. If I’m sitting idly, then I know that someone somewhere is doing something. And they’re doing it without me. But if I’m rushing from place to place, it means I’m included. Sure, I may not be included in everything, but at least there’s a reason I’m not — it’s that I was included somewhere else.
3. I think my busyness makes me more important than others.
Oh sure, I’ll pay lip service to those who walk at an unhurried pace, but in the end, I enjoy the fact that I’m sprinting past them. It lets me know that I’m actually doing something, and I can sit in judgment of those who, at least, appear to be doing less. Hooray for me.
You feeling that? That sinking feeling that I’m feeling as I look back at those appointments that were giving me such a feeling of superiority and importance? Here, too, is another reminder of how creatively deceptive our hearts can be. We can pack our schedules with things—even good things—and yet they subversively can become a manufactured substitute for that which only Jesus can truly bring.
Validation. Justification. Satisfaction. Security.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many action points associated with our love-hate of busyness. No “5 Steps to an Uncluttered Life.” Sure, we’d do well to evaluate our calendars and clean them up. It would profit us to bring some focus to our days to make sure we’re rightly stewarding our time.
But the truth is, most of the things that fill our days must be done and any resolution to cut out activities is going to be effective for a while. However, what we need is something deeper than mere schedule rearranging. If indeed our busyness is linked to our hearts, that’s where the real work needs to be done.
What I’m instead asking God for today is the kind of perspective that allows these things to be done courageously and wisely in light of my full acceptance as His son. I need to do it that way instead of using my calendar (along with many other things) as an attempt to fill my heart. Won’t you join me?
Article courtesy of HomeLife Magazine.
Michael Kelley and his wife, Jana, have three children. He’s the executive director of HomeLife and the Director of Discipleship at LifeWay. Keep up with Michael on his blog at MichaelKelleyMinistries.com or on Twitter @_MichaelKelley.