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The Sacred Cow of Busyness

What is your usual response to this question: “How are you?”

Many – if not most of you – probably answered with something like this: “Fine. Busy.”

I hear it every day – sometimes out of my own mouth. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed the shift. It seems we can’t be “fine” unless we are also busy. And most of us are busy. Really busy.

Busy and Proud of It!

We’re up before the sun, pound the pavement or the keyboard all day long, and spend the after-work hours doing housework and helping with homework or cheering at ballgames and volunteering. We’re crazy busy and proud of it.

Our American culture values busyness. We tend to see a “busy” person as someone who is in demand, talented, and indispensable. “Busy” is good. Downtime is bad.

Fed Up with Flat FaithThe Danger of Busy

So what’s wrong with “busy?” Everyone is doing it. It’s just the way these days, right?

Our society encourages us to push the limits of our time, resources, and physical ability in order to do more, make more, and be more. And we teach our children to do the same.

Often, these limit-busters are positive, beneficial activities. But over-pursuing has a price. We’re too busy for unhurried conversation with our families. Too busy for physical rest and renewal. Too busy to foster existing relationships or develop new ones.

But the greatest danger of “busy” is little room remains for God. No time to soak in His presence. No time to seek His guidance. No time to respond to God when He calls. No time to develop deep intimacy with the only One who can meet our every need.

Dethrone the Idol of Busyness

I’m not saying we should run our calendar through the shredder. God’s plan us includes good works. But God also designed our bodies. He knows our limits. He created us with the need to rest, refresh, and relate.

God desires our lives to be “full,” not busy. “Busy” is packed with activity – some purposed by God, but a lot purposed strictly by us. “Full,” on the other hand, describes a life filled up with the plans, purposes, and peace of God. A “full” life will be characterized by relationships, service, good works, and time. Time to focus on things that matter for eternity.

I challenge you to do something that could change your life, your relationships, and your faith. Commit to moving from a “busy” life to a “full” life. You can start by seriously evaluating the way you spend your time. (Download this PDF for guidance in evaluating your time commitments.)

Once you’ve made some time cuts, make a fresh commitment to your relationship with God. Regular time with Jesus will help you leave “busy” behind and fall headlong into the full, abundant life He promised!

Would you describe your life as “busy” or “full?” What activity takes up the most time?


This post is based on a topic from chapter three of “Fed Up with Flat Faith: 10 Attitudes and Actions to Pump Up Your Faith.”

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4 Responses to The Sacred Cow of Busyness

  1. Kari Scare April 4, 2013 at 7:19 am #

    Used this same graphic on my blog today, Kathy. My life is on it’s way to being full. It’s been a process for sure though. I crashed & burned from a busy life 3 years ago and have been building toward a full life since then. Not everyone will take 3 years or more, but my point is that it’s a process. Making a lot of small choices daily is leading to big change in my life, and I never want to go back to busyness.

    • Kathy April 4, 2013 at 8:20 am #

      We so easily buy into the need to be “busy.” The last several years I’ve really noticed how this lifestyle harms families, friendships we need, our health, and joy. So glad you found your way out!

  2. Kela Nellums April 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    Kathy, too often my days are too full of being busy of doing…absolutely nothing! I shake my head at the thought of so much time I waste. Sure, I’m here with my children all day every day. I home educate them, but too often, as soon as lessons are done, I check out.
    I actually can’t believe that I just typed that…but that’s the way it is 🙁
    I need the Lord’s guidance (and my prompt obedience) to have my days ordered. I know that He’ll come up with something great!

    • Kathy April 5, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

      Kela, I struggle sometimes too with wasting time – busy doing something that really doesn’t matter. But, I also believe we need down time. Time to relax and play. But you hit the nail on the head! We need to let God order our days. Then it will all be the right amount of work, play, rest, and relate!

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