When I talk to people the number one thing I hear is ‘I'm just so busy.’ It doesn't matter what season of life they are in, people find things to do and ways to keep busy.
Being busy isn't always a bad thing. God instructs us to not be lazy and to steward the things he has given us. But what about being busy for the sake of being busy? What about having your identity grounded in how busy you are?
Do you know someone who loves to be busy? Who can't sit still or relax for a minute? These people often go out of their way to fill the small gaps of time that are unscheduled in their lives. If nothing is going on they create something. But then they fall hard. They run themselves into exhaustion.
Often the things that they do define them, they are known because of their crazy, hectic lives and they enjoy that. The hard thing is they aren't doing bad things. Usually everything that keeps them busy is good - helping others, projects to make the home nice, volunteering, fun things with their kids. We wouldn't look at any of those things and say they were a waste of time or that they were done wrong. However, even good things can take us away from better things.
Evaluating if we're too busy comes down to two things: being honest with why we need to stay busy and what our busyness is keeping us from.
Our motivation for wanting to juggle many plates could be because of several reasons. As I mentioned, maybe we find our identity in it. The problem with this is our identity as Christians should be in Christ, not things. When we realize we are doing certain things for the sake of telling others all we have going on, we have ceased to be busy for the good. We are seeking validation or recognition more than trying to honor Christ with our actions. This might be difficult to recognize or admit because, again, what we're doing is good. We need to evaluate everything through the lens of "Would God be more glorified if I wasn't doing XYZ?"
We also need to consider if we are choosing what keeps us occupied to avoid something else we should be doing. Are we so busy with 'stuff' on our calendar that we never have time to read our Bible or pray? When we do have time for Bible reading, do we choose to fill those moments with other things? In that case, we are putting something good before something better.
All in all, everything that takes the place of God has become an idol and is no longer good, even if we perform those tasks with the best of intentions. But it's difficult to realize the priority we place on busyness in our lives. It's hard to see through the good things we're doing to why we're doing them and be completely honest.
Think to the example of Jesus himself. He was healing and telling people their need for a Savior. Yet even he withdrew at times for rest and prayer. We were not created to go constantly.
So is being busy wrong? No, as long as we check our motives and keep what God wants us to do at the center of it all. And remember our identity isn't found in what we do but in what Christ has done for us.
Photo by Jess Watters on Unsplash