By Laurel Robinson
How are you?
If you don't give the automatic answer of “fine,” what honest answer does come to mind?
Tired? Stressed? Busy? (That’s what comes to my mind!)
I recently read Kevin DeYoung’s book, Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully Short) Book About A (Really) Big Problem.
He admits that he wrote the book because he finds himself too busy. He also says that not all busyness is bad. In fact, he concedes that “if you love God and love others, you WILL be busy!” The Apostle Paul was busy! And certainly, God is able to sustain you in the crazy busy times.
But this book is about the problematic kind of busyness. DeYoung says that busyness can ruin our joy, it can rob our hearts, and it can cover up the rot in our souls.
For most of the book, he explains possible “diagnoses” for our busyness
Which, I would say, boil down to PRIDE and FEAR.
Three unique chapters that struck me were:
Here’s a mental exercise for you (my words, not DeYoung’s): Think of your calendar or agenda like a bag. It is full of items. Each one represents something that you have to do, or think about, or feel responsible for.
Pick one up and look at it. How did not get there? Did someone else put it there for you? Should you perhaps have not accepted it? Expectations, codependency, cultural norms that are not necessarily Biblical….if any of these apply, it might be best for your soul if you can find an appropriate way to get them off your plate!!!
Let's pick up another one. Oh, look, it's your kids! We would do anything for our kids, right? But DeYoung quotes Leslie Leylan Fields: “One of the most resilient myths about parenting is that parenting creates the child.” In other words, due to genetics, these kids are largely going to turn out the way they are going to turn out! The thing they will remember about their parents is generally how we were. Will they have a snapshot memory of a mom who is frazzled? Stressed out? Or slowing down, praying, thinking, looking them in the eye? Kids who were surveyed wanted the following: More time with parents; parents to be less tired/stressed; and essentially better anger management by their parents!! They would rather we look them in the eye and listen to them, than sign them up for another activity.
Next item in the bag: your smart phone, of course! You can’t get very far without that.
Technology can be used for good. I love having access to my calendar everywhere I go, and having it automatically sync up with my other family members’ calendars. I like to be able to look something up on Google.
But I also use it, like a drug, to check out sometimes. I also let it manipulate me into comparing my life with others’, sometimes. This may lead to me putting more stuff into my bag, so to speak. Stuff that the Lord did not put there.
But enough about me.
The bottom line of business is this: it’s about your heart. DeYoung tells us that the antidote to busyness is NOT sloth and indifference. It is rest, rhythm, death to pride, acceptance of our own finitude and trust in the Providence of God.
DeYoung spends some time talking about the importance of Sabbath. By design, we need regular times of rest. It’s important for us to have a distinction between day and night; feasting and fasting; work and rest.
He asks this question, which we should all consider: “If someone recorded your life for a week and showed it to a group of strangers, what would they guess is the most important thing? What would they conclude is the one thing you must get done every day?”
De Young closes his book with “the one thing you must do.” Sit at the feet of Jesus! Devote yourself to the word of God and to prayer.
To close, I will remind us of the words of Christ. Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Next time you look at your calendar or pick up your bag, I hope you will be reminded to consider what is on your agenda and hold it up to the light. May we live in the freedom to which Christ has set us free, and if we are “crazy busy,” may it be with things that the LORD has put on our agenda.