Are You In The Business of Busyness

I’m in the middle of a season of extreme busyness at the moment.

I don’t know if you have this problem, but when I get busy—I mean, really busy—things start to slip.

Sleeping properly is usually the first to go. Then my eating goes wonky. Then my exercise patterns get erratic. 

Even prayer and Bible study start getting a bit fuzzy if I’m not careful and my reading will turn into a quick skim. Like wolfing down a McDonald’s cheeseburger in the car because you’re in a hurry, instead of savoring it like a really good steak from the Keg.

Because there’s a great demand on my time at work, I find myself having to sacrifice quality for efficiency. Choosing function over form just makes my skin crawl, to be honest.

Whatever I’m doing, I want it to be the best it can possibly be; and because my work is all about communicating ideas, choosing the right words and narrative structure is essential. Sometimes, though, I have to template things. Sometimes I just have to do a slight polish on something that’s really not very good and just let it go. To make do.

It’s funny how that happens, isn’t it?

Race through reading the Bible, a quick prayer and away we go.

Race through work (often with a quick prayer), taking as little time as possible to complete as many tasks as I’m able.

It’s a bit of an assembly line approach to life.

It gets the job done, but it doesn’t bring joy.

Where can we, even in our seasons of busyness, find opportunities to savor life? To enjoy God, the Bible, friends, family… and even work?

In my case, sometimes it means just saying no. Turning down a meeting request, turning off my email, ignoring my cell phone and disconnecting from the internet for a while. Sometimes it means having to blow a deadline because the work is too important to not do with excellence.

Sometimes it means putting aside whatever else I’m reading in favor of spending some extra time in the Bible and hearing what God has to say.

Occasionally, it means a meandering post like this one. :)

But what about you?

Do you feel like you’re settling for the cheeseburger instead of the steak? Are you looking opportunities to savor?

 Life is too valuable to be wasted with the business of busyness.

I hope you’ll find an opportunity to enjoy it this week.

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  • Barry Wallace

    Man, I’m guilty of this so often, Aaron. Thanks for (in my case, at least) a much needed exhortation!

  • Don

    Great post Aaron!

    I’ve struggled with this for many years. However, I’ve recently come to think of this to be a problem of pride/ego.

    I just can’t do everything and I’m not good at everything – others are much more capable at many things than I. Yet if I listen to my ego, I want the contol or the credit that comes by doing it myself. So much of my “busyness” was really a self-induced problem.

    I’ve discovered the freedom that comes by simply saying “no”. And the funny thing is when I say “no”, others step up and do the job, often much better than I would have done it.

    My father once told me, if you want to see the size of the hole you would leave by not being there to do the job, place your fist in a bucket of water, withdraw it as fast as you can – the size of the hole is representative of how much your efforts will be missed.

  • Keystone

    What a conundrum! Busy-ness is the Creator of all of these things, eh?

    It is my experience that people laid low by the blows of life……..
    the jobless, the homeless, folks with major illness, depression, lonely, divorced, widowed, shamed, rejected at school, work, church, or neighborhood, …….
    all of these people, and more, with nothing to do whatsoever, except bear their burden…..are the most likely to experience, or perhaps write this:

    “Sleeping properly is usually the first to go. Then my eating goes wonky. Then my exercise patterns get erratic.

    Even prayer and Bible study start getting a bit fuzzy if I’m not careful and my reading will turn into a quick skim.” Or a closed book!

    This is NOT a sermon for balance in life, from extreme busy-ness to extreme unbusy-ness. There can be no choice for a widow, and others itemized in the sad list above.

    But they tend to overeat; and undereat.
    They can not crawl out of bed in the AM.
    Exercise comes in the form of a completed thought.

    Enjoying life when you are laid low by circumstances of life is like enjoying a beautiful flower that someone is standing on. It is just too hard to see.

    In Red Letter Bibles, with Christ words all in red, entire pages are in red, near when it is time for Him to die. People start to speak of what is crucial and get it all out as fast as they can, for time is short when you are gonna die.
    That was a season of busy-ness for Christ by any measure.

    No car will function for life fully throttled with pedal to the floor. It will burn out. No car will function with the key turned off either. Between those two extremes are an abundance of choices of speed and variable travel.

    But if your tire is flat, battery dead, generator shot, computer chip on the fritz, your vehicle is a pile of scrap until fixed.

    Going far too fast may get you a speeding ticket, or even killed.
    So neither extreme is worthy of presentation to God.

    He has showed us oh man what is good.
    Even the sun is totally dark at midnight, and extremely bright at noon. But for most of the 24 hours, our sun is in a varying stage of brightness, waxing and waning, with occassional brilliant colors thrown in the mix. It is CREATING life.

    This is less a clarion call for balance, than a call to mix it up more.
    Balance is boring when it comes to leading a life.
    Mixing it up adds gusto and flavor to life.

    In a baseball game, do you enjoy the thrill of a “walk” to first base with four lousy pitches? Or do you enjoy grabbing first base with a thwack on a bat, and a spurt of speed as fast as you can go? Either way, you end up on first base, but one route is oh so much more filled with gusto!

    Take that busy-ness and rechannel it into a moment of listening to someone lonely or jobless. Not talk to them….listen! They will be edified; you will be paced in a new sprint….to live a life as meant to be.
    Take the hand of an old person….and hold it. To be recognized is to be loved.

    How can any of us be more pleasing to God than we are right now?
    Was the Master carpenter ever out of work?
    Did that lead to rejection by his Father?
    Same to,…. for illness, depression, busy-ness, laid low.

    As tides to an ocean and shore, meeting and leaving as if on an airport schedule, there is a cadence to life. The best musical compositions have moments of slow, and moments of intense speed that make your feet tap along.

    Indeed, the airport “hello” is one of the highest serendipities of life as recognition sets in. And the airport “goodbye” is often spoken with a tear, from pain or regret, or love, or lost love. Same spot; two extreme experiences of life underway.

    Ahhhh life!

    Whatever your moment, whatever your cadence, whatever your situation, God loves you as you are, and in the final analysis, that is all that matters.