“Busy” was my automatic reply.
Ack! I just read a book about the epidemic of busy-ness! I should not have said “busy” she will think I’m trying to derive meaning from being overwhelmed!
“But good!” I added, “Really good!”
And we are. Really good, that is. But truthfully, we’re busy too. And maybe that’s not all bad. What I loved about Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem was that in addition to giving really insightful, biblical guidance on the pace of modern life, and funny practical advice, the author offers realistic reframing of some of our common mindsets about being busy.
Certainly we all suffer from the busy problem. We could all use more Sabbath, less screen addiction, less freaking out, and more quiet reflection. But, as Kevin DeYoung points out, “Jesus was busy, but never in a way that made him frantic, anxious, irritable, proud, envious, or distracted by lesser things.” Some times of life are just busy (parenting small kids being one of them). In those instances, when God has called us to a busy time, we should simplify where we can, but beyond that we need to reframe the issue.
The book, while short, is packed full of helpful thinking. Some topics that stood out to me include:
- A lot of busy-ness comes down to people pleasing, power, perfectionism, and prestige.
- “We need to stop freaking out about our kids.”
- Digital independence is becoming harder to attain, so we need to respond with thoughtful and careful attention.
- We have to be diligent about seeking out rhythm in our lives. Otherwise we will fall into the general malaise of mindless busy-ness without having clear stops and rests in our lives. “One of the dangers of technology is that work and rest blend together in a confusing mush.”
- “You cannot cheat sleep indefinitely.” The connection between sleep and trust in God was an interesting one for me to contemplate.
- When we fail to establish priorities, get enough rest, and rightly consider what God asks us to do (which, again, sometimes involves being busy), we have a tendency to let every little thing become cause for great panic.
My main take-away from the book is that we can’t (and shouldn’t) always avoid being busy, but we can work at not being crazy busy. As we head into a new year, and a new semester, with multiple opportunities to fill time (but also to say no), Crazy Busy would be a good book to consider.
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