I don’t know how it is where you live, but down in the South we regularly ask people how they’re doing. It’s a combination of politeness and unthinking tradition, and the answers are usually just as automatic.
“Really busy” is a reply I often hear. I normally respond with something like: “Busy’s good. Busy pays the bills.” It’s a light-hearted attempt at helping people focus on the positive.
But there is some truth to my joke. Busyness isn’t really the enemy we think it is.
Fleeing from Busyness
It’s understandable why we dislike busyness. Busyness can create a bunch of stress, threaten our relationships, dull our spiritual life, and compromise our calling. Running around in an aimless, urgency-driven panic mode is a surefire recipe for wasting our lives.
So we think the solution is to not be busy. We conjure up images of an uncluttered, unphased, and relaxing life. Fewer demands. Less hurry. Less responsibility.
But is avoiding busyness the answer?
The Godly Person Is Busy
Donald Whitney, in his Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, remarks on busyness:
I’ve come to the conclusion that, with rare exceptions, the godly person is a busy person. The godly person is devoted to God and to people, and that leads to a full life. Though never frantic in pace, Jesus was a busy man….
If Jesus’ life, as well as that of Paul, were measured against the “balanced life” envisioned by many Christians today, the Savior and the apostle would be considered workaholics who sinfully neglected their bodies. Scripture confirms what observation perceives: Laziness never leads to godliness.
Peace from Busyness or Peace in Busyness
Busyness doesn’t inevitably create frenzied hurry, a lack of peace, and a wasted life of insignificant wheel-spinning. Sure, busyness certainly creates the conditions where that is possible and even much more likely.
But we need to find our peace and meaning in the midst of busyness. We need to busy ourselves with the things that matter.
Fleeing from busyness can create a wasted life as quickly as stress and hurry.
What if the focus isn’t on how busy we feel, but how much we’re loving others and loving God?
What if our approach isn’t to flee from busyness at all costs but to seek God’s strength and peace in the midst of our busy lives?
Photo Credit: Christian Scheja (Creative Commons)
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