Digging Deeper | Fighting the Busyness Battle
What is the cost of busyness in our lives?
Hey, take a look inside your heart. Maybe you just need to hit pause right now and examine your heart. Look at your calendar. Look at your schedule.
Corrie Ten Boom, one of the heroes of the faith said, “if the devil can't make you bad he'll make you busy.” I think a lot of us are just way too busy. We're way too busy, and we neglect the important things in our life. We've allowed ourselves to get way too busy because we're trying to keep up with the people next door, and we want to look good on Instagram or Facebook. Because we think that our value is equivocate to how busy we are, we have forgotten the most important thing in life, like having a solid marriage, connecting with my kids one on one, and spending some time with them (which is how most kids really feel that love is they equivocate it to time spent). We have forgotten the magic of dreaming, thinking, and praying because we have allowed ourself to be so busy.
Why do people seem to value busyness?
I think we are all wired by God to feel significant. The problem is where we find that significance. So there's nothing wrong with wanting to be significant, hat goes back to Adam and Eve. The problem is we often try to find that significance in the appraisal or the approval of people. So we are craving the approval of people. We assume that to be approved and to be noteworthy, we've got to be busy and we place our significance on our schedule. The problem is that those reading this with gray hair who have lived a few more years, can tell us that being busy does not bring happiness at all. In fact, remember the quote Socrates said, “beware of the barrenness of a busy life.” Beware of the barrenness of a busy life. We are so busy. We are busy with work; we are busy with extracurriculars. We're busy running here and there, and we look at our kids, and they're just as busy. So if there's ever a topic that is practical for people today and families it is busyness.
If there's an area where we can help as church leaders, it is helping them navigate the busyness of, not Monday through Friday anymore, it's Monday through Sunday. The busyness of running here and there, and helping them realize that significance does not come from the approval of people. It does not come from how busy I am or how busy I appear to be. It actually comes from much deeper places that are found within.
What's the better way to live than just being busy?
The better way to live is to find my significance in who I am and who our family is. It's going to look different for every family. It's going to look different for your family than it is for mine because we all have different context. I don't know your context and that's one of the things I love/hate about social media. Social media keeps us all so well connected, and we know what's going on in each others lives. I hate it because it's so easy to judge people on social media and you have no idea of context.
What's going to be much better than being busy is where we really wrestle with as a family, as individual members of a family, this is who I am. This is who we are. This is God's plan for my life. This is God's plan for our family. Then we are going to pursue that passionately. When I begin to pursue that passionately, I see changes in my schedule. Yes I may be busy or I may not be busy. I may have a busy season; I may have an off season. It's going to look different for everybody, and I'm not going to judge anybody because I am pursuing not what you think I should be doing. Or how I'm worried about appearing on Instagram or Facebook, or it's not because I'm trying to keep up with the Jones next door. It’s that we are pursuing what God wants for our life. So as ministry leaders, one of our greatest tasks is to help kids, help mom, help dad become acutely self aware of how God has wired them, what God wants them to do, and then pursue that passionately.
How does the church help families fight busyness?
Here's the thing, if we don't help them now, at the end of the day it comes down to everyone's personal relationship with the Lord. But this is one of the great opportunities that we have as church leaders, as pastors, as ministry leaders; we are helping walk people and guide people into the truth and in their walk with the Lord. If we don't help them recognize the significance that they have in Christ, then they are not trying to fulfill those areas of their life that only the Lord can fulfill with being busy. If we don't help them do that, they're going to be busy with tennis, soccer, basketball, gym, piano, and homework. “I don't get home from work and daycare until 9:00; then we've got to go do this and that.” These families are going to be crazy busy. It literally is crazy busy. It's crazy.
We've also got to help them. I know we've talked about screen time in previous conversations, but we've got to help them with that too. Because when we have our down time, what do we do for our downtime? We get in front of a screen, which scares me a little bit because it is equally as dangerous. We've got to help parents navigate this. So here’s a couple random thoughts and these are purely random:
Number one: You’ve got to teach people to keep God first in everything. Instead of teaching people to do this, do that, don't do this, or don't do that. If I'll teach kids, if I'll teach parents, if I'll teach people to keep God first in everything and to filter every decision. Even decisions as small as to are we going to go there? Are we going to participate in this? If we filter it through the grid of keeping God first, that God is a priority, that's going to make a lot of my decisions.
As parents, I've got to protect my marriage first and foremost. After my walk with the Lord, (that's first and foremost) then it’s my marriage. That's going to help me decide what kind of activities we are going to participate in, what our kids are going to do, and if we are going here. Are you going to take this trip? If I am running mad, if I'm chasing this passion; I'm doing this over here; I've got this over here; I'm trying to make money over here; I've got my kids in this and that, all for the sake of my marriage. If my marriage is hurting, then I'm in trouble. You’ve got to protect your marriage.
Pray. And what would happen if we just really taught families to pray? And I'm not just talking about praying for missionaries. Praying for kids that need food. I'm not just talking about praying for people who have cancer. All that is important. But what about even praying in the very practical things of life? And in the scheduling things of life. God do you want us to do this? Lord do you want our kids to do this? Do you want us to take this trip? Do you want us to spend our time over here. I have a feeling that if you really purposely prayed and got on your face for our Lord, that he would give you some leadership and direction in that.
Teach parents how to set priorities. I'm not teaching them the priorities; I'm teaching them the biblical principles of how to set priorities. Part of the priorities that I'm teaching my parents is how to build margin into your life. There's something we all desperately need, and it's margin. In our busy, digital world that we live in where we are running here and there, when we have downtime, we immediately pick up our phones. We grab the remote. We have forgotten the magic of margin. Kids need margin in their life. Teenagers need margin in their life. Parents need margin in their life. Pastors need margin in their life. Business leaders need margin in their life. Educators need margin. (I think you get my point.) We have forgotten the magic of margin. We allow ourself to get so busy that we don't have time to think, we don't have time to dream; we don't have time to imagine; we don't have time to build; we don't have time to create, we don't have time to spend with our Creator because we're so busy.
So what can I do as a pastor, as a ministry leader, to help families with their priorities. Teaching the biblical principles of setting priorities. Teaching them the biblical principle of margin and of rest. Teaching them to put God first in life. Teaching them to pray.
It's not all about necessarily teaching them well; you need to only have your kids involved in two things a week, or you need to make sure that you're not gone more than three nights a week. Nobody knows the context of what's going on. What I'm better off to do as a ministry leader is to teach the principles. The principle of keeping God first. The principle of seeking God in my decision making. The principle of putting my marriage first. The principle of teaching my kids to walk with the Lord. The principle of teaching kids to influence those that are around them. The principle of teaching them rest and margin. When I teach that stuff on a consistent basis, people are going to have a much better job balancing the busyness.
Your #1 fan,