I know being “soooo busy” is ubiquitous in our culture, and that many people equate being busy with being important or needed or significant. That said, I also know that many of us deliberately choose to be counter-cultural in regards to the whole busy phenomenon. We don’t run our kids around to zillions of lessons, we don’t pack our calendars, we don’t overschedule, we know sleep and reltionships and down time are important.
But, do you ever look around and find yourself…still busy? I think some seasons of life just ARE busy. What do you do when, in spite of your best efforts, you find yourself dealing with a parenting crisis, a health crisis, a work crisis, a financial crisis…or several of those all at once?
The fact is, in modern life it behooves us to have some strategies to combat frenzy, because you have to live deliberately if you want to avoid the busy trap. That’s why I loved Alli Worthington’s book Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy.
Several aspects of the book were real stand-outs for me:
- Diagnosing busy. If you’re not the sort who does the super busy thing as a rule, you might still at times fall into a busy life stage. Alli gives great diagnostic questions to help you figure out if you are too busy. A lot of it has to do with tuning in to how you feel and identifying those feelings as symptoms so you can work out a different story. This is an area of life I am trying to improve: just because I’m feeling a certain way doesn’t necessarily indicate an immutable fact–it might just be a clue to a problem I can solve or a situation I can change.
- Evaluating the why. I’m a questioner, so I have to know the why for what I’m doing, but I don’t always think of that until it’s too late. Alli gives helpful advice for figuring out why you are doing something, and whether it’s something God wants YOU to do, or if it’s just something a lot of other people around you do but God isn’t asking from you right now.
- Being honest about relationships. We all know that some people drain us and others encourage us. But if you’re like me, maybe you feel an obligation to “be nice” that turns into a major source of negativity in your life and winds up marginalizing your family or other important relationships. Alli’s discussion of this problem helped me so much. Choosing to pour into relationships that are your priorities and that fill your soul is ok, and sometimes it’s ok to pray for people but not let them have a major chunk of your time.
- How editing your life makes it more fruitful. I hadn’t thought of it in these terms, but as I read I realized that God does often have to break me down to get me to listen. Pruning and rearranging are often necessary to help us see the work God has for us. But it’s not an easy process, and that’s ok to admit. I was so encouraged by Alli’s insight into what that life edit process looks and feels like.
I could easily go on, because I took five single spaced pages of notes from the book, but instead I’ll just recommend that you read this book yourself. I think you’ll appreciate the insight, encouragement, and practical help the book offers, no matter where you fall on the busy spectrum.
Breaking Busy goes on sale January 26. If you order it in advance, you can get a free Breaking Busy Guide that features a lot of other writers you are probably familiar with. I haven’t previewed the guide myself, but the lineup of contributors looks solid, so it might be worth a pre-order if you were thinking of getting the book anyway.
Have you ever been hit with busy seasons that weren’t due to deliberate overcommitment? How did you handle it?
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. I received a review copy of the book from the publisher, but the opinions expressed in this review are my own.