I don't want to be distracted by what seems good and miss out on what is better: my peace.
Crazy busy. Those two words have no business being uttered in the same sentence — ever. As if busy wasn’t bad enough, crazy had to tag along and add more weight, stress and extra to a schedule, a life that was likely already busting out of the seams.
How did we get here? So busy that we barely have time to think and even give ourselves the gift of processing and unpacking life events and our emotions. So busy that we probably don’t even eat sitting down or allow ourselves time and space to just be.
My pastor, Taffi Dollar, taught a message not too long ago that confronted the weight of busyness and how it can rob us of so many things. It was one of those messages that weren’t for your friend or auntie and ‘nem (lol) but for you, for me.
Hearing her message reminded me of an Andy Mineo lyric that I so identify with: “I don’t do the most but I do a lot.” Do you identify with that too?
One of the key scriptures from the sermon was the passage in Luke 10:38-42 where Jesus visits sisters Mary and Martha. My girl Martha always gets thrown under the bus because she was tired of doing household chores and preparing for guests while Mary sat at Jesus’s feet, listening attentively. There are sermons upon sermons dissecting this passage, but hearing my pastor teach gave me a fresh perspective.
As we saw in Luke, Martha became exacerbated with the chores, to the point that she interrupted Jesus (gasp!) to get Him to co-sign on her frustration toward her sister. My girl was mad that she had to clean alone while Mary lived her best life at the feet of Jesus. I feel Martha on many levels, so I’m not calling her out.
But what’s clear is that when we are crazy busy, we can’t properly prioritize. Things get fuzzy. We multitask and struggle to do things well. And we get petty! Getting off this hamster wheel requires us to be honest with ourselves. It requires a mindset shift.
My pastor put it this way: The question is what does Jesus want me to do. Start there.
Confess what you want to see in your life. I love this declaration that Pastor Taffi shared: I will not be overwhelmed by all the things I have to do or the things I want to get done. I won’t be so distracted by what seems good that I miss out on what is better.
As you start to unpack the source of crazy busyness, consider some things.
What can only I do?
What is necessary?
What can be outsourced?
What am I truly responsible for?
What expectations can be lowered?
That last bullet, though! My pastor went on to say, “We take on the expectations of people and try to meet the demand.” But what does real freedom look like? Busyness does not necessarily equal importance or productivity. A busy life can be a barren life. The issue isn’t lack of commitment but over-commitment.
Back to that nugget about a busy life being a barren life. Her point there is that when we say "yes" to anything, we have to recognize there is going to be less of us for something else. The something else might be the things, the space, the opportunities, the time your soul craves but never gets to fully experience.
Before you commit to another thing or even extend your current commitments, ask this question: Is this worth my yes?
Crazy busy comes with an extremely high cost. Busyness gradually sucks away our soul. It leads to resentment, impatience and irritability. You no longer feel like … you.
God reinforced that Sunday sermon for me with a passage from Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts’s dynamite “Woman Evolve” book. Don’t we love God for his faithful follow-up to make sure we get the message for real, for real?
Here’s what SJR has to say about stress, one of the inevitable bi-products of being crazy busy:
"When you're stressed, it's much easier to be petty than it is to stay silent. That's why the best gift you can give your soul, besides returning to the blessed consciousness, is to make sure you're making time for yourself." - SJR
But God doesn't just give us one or two chances to let words of wisdom soak in. He came back with more tidbits for me in the form of an online group discussion among several women of faith, including CeCe Winans and Joyce Meyer. Auntie Joyce shared how she used to feel guilty about declining some invitations to speak. But what God showed her is that her begrudging "yes" took away someone else's chance to say "yes" to that growth opportunity for them. As Aunt CeCe added if you don't learn how to say "no," you'll never be in a position to say "yes." Did you catch all of that goodness and truth?
I'll leave you with some questions and prompts from my pastor to think about in your quiet time and still moments. All of these questions may not apply to you, but I'm including them because we're all at different stages of this journey called life.
Do I say "yes" to too many people because I fear their disapproval?
Am I seeking pats on the back because of my busyness?
Am I willing to sacrifice my time if it causes others to think highly of me?
Do I think so highly of myself that I think I’m irreplaceable?
Do I always feel the need to compete?
Am I staying busy because I fear I will lose control over others?
Does my busyness provide a false sense of security, that I belong and I'm valued?
What role does perfectionism play in my busyness?
There is so much that we can do, but what is necessary? What is necessary to give us peace in our hearts and joy in our souls? Let us discover what's necessary for us to operate at our best and show up for ourselves in new ways that, in turn, bless those around us too.