Dear chronically busy people,
I was once like you.
My days were jam packed from sun up to sun down.
This started when I was young… I was that child who wanted to do EVERY extra curricular activity and my wonderful parents let me. From soccer to speech team to dance to cross country to plays to clubs to track to church activities… They believed in the importance of grooming me into a well rounded person and they supported all of my interests.
I’m incredibly thankful for that.
In high school I hardly had time to breathe.
And I loved that.
I felt super accomplished, I enjoyed everything I was doing, and ultimately I knew I was working toward potential scholarships and a bright future.
During my sophomore year of college I joined a sorority & I embraced the busyness, full force.
At one point I was waking up before 6 to be one of the first people at the gym, run 5-6 miles, then do a little lifting. I would run back to my room to shower, get dressed, then head either straight to class or to my internship. Some days I had both. In the afternoon I typically had some type of meeting, or a night class, or a GREEK activity to attend. The evenings would include practice for some type of competition, spending time with Tyler as we studied/did homework & getting to bed much later than I should.
Yet, I thrived on the busyness.
It made me feel important.
It made me feel like I was really making a difference.
It gave me lots to put on my resume or potentially brag about when I needed a confidence boost….
It did NOT however help my relationship with God, with my Tyler, with my true friends, or with my family.
I barely had time to see Tyler during the week & when we were together it was rarely relaxed. I was always in a rush to get to the next thing. It was the only source of contention, ever, in our relationship.
My best friend & I were also roommates so if nothing else we had time every night (when we should have been sleeping) to talk about the day.
I texted often with my parents but phone calls were harder to schedule. Usually we talked for a while on Wednesday nights as I walked home from night class.
Oh and God? Well I went to church on Sunday, bible study on Monday, on campus service on Thursday… so I felt like I was being pretty generous with my time…
My chronically busy schedule did not allow any room for QUIET time.
My chronically busy schedule did not allow any room for COMMUNION.
My chronically busy schedule did not allow any time for PASSOEVR.
My chronically busy schedule did not allow any time to SIT AT THE FEET OF JESUS.
My chronically busy schedule did not allow much room for nurturing my most treasured relationships.
My chronically busy schedule did not allow much room for truly taking care of my holy temple. Sure, I made time for my workouts every day. And I ate very clean. I made my health a priority so that I wouldn’t have to slow down… this made becoming seriously ill quite ironic and even harder to accept. Truly though, I did not give my body much rest. I did not give my body time off to rejuvenate.
When I shockingly got my diagnosis at age 20 (pancreatic tumor) and was forced to immediately drop out of college, move back home, and become a terribly sick patient, the chronic busyness obviously stopped.
I went from being busy & important & go go go to extremely sick & unable to do anything & fighting for my life. It was a drastic change. Life turned upside down in ways I cannot communicate.
I now spent all day in a bed, in excruciating pain, sleeping (not well), watching TV, counting the minutes down as I wished for every day to pass much faster. The days dragged on. The days in the hospital were worse—they seemed to pass at an even slower rate.
God began to teach me about the dangers of my former life. He opened my eyes. Though I do not recommend stopping your busyness with life threatening illness, I do recommend cutting down your busyness as much as possible.
For the sake of your family. For the sake of your health. For the sake of your soul.
Friends, how many of you are chronically busy?
How many of you rush out the door in the morning? Stay so busy at work that you sometimes forget to eat, drink water, sit down, or use the bathroom?
How many of you rush straight from work to another activity with your kids? How many of you head straight to the gym without taking a moment to breathe/unwind? How many of you actually sit down to eat dinner with your family or how many of you actually fix dinner with/for your family?
How many of you are so busy that fast food in the car seems like the only reasonable dinner option? And how many of you are so busy that you do not return home until the sun goes down?
How many of you feel like you can’t get anything done in your home because you are never there? And when you are home, you are downright exhausted?
How many of you are empty nesters yet keep your schedule full with bible studies, life group, volunteering, & dinner dates with friends?
How many of you wish there were more hours in the day so you could stop to breathe?
How many of you are high school or college students who have every single second of the day filled with activities? How many of you are burnt out on it all?
How many of you take your work home with you & find your self answering emails or working on projects during your “chill” time in front of the TV?
How many of you are missing out on worthwhile conversations with your family because your time together is rushed OR because you’re distracted mentally by other things or by your cell phone?
How many of you feel busy even when you are sitting down to relax because your mind cannot shut off?
How many of you do not spend time with Jesus because you are too busy?
How many of you forget to pray, open your Bible or call on the Lord because you are too busy?
Busyness does not equal Godliness.
My belief is that God did not create us to be chronically busy.
He created us to thrive.
To enjoy our time on this Earth.
To feel energized.
To sleep well.
To be fit & active.
To eat nutritiously/naturally from the gorgeous Earth He designed.
He created us for RELATIONSHIP… True relationship with HIM & those around us.
He created us to be His hands & feet…but how can we be His hands & feet when we don’t have working hands & feet?
What I mean by that is:
Our culture has become so busy that we do not honor our holy temples. We do not make our health—what we eat, getting sleep, moving our bodies—a priority.
We choose convenience over conscious care.
We perpetuate addictions to artificial foods, sugar, & chemicals because it would be “too hard or too much effort” to put in the work to change bad habits.
We neglect these beautiful bodies that He perfectly created and in time we realize that our bodies do not work efficiently.
And it holds us back from doing the work that MATTERS.
We cannot do God’s total work if we are stuck in broken bodies. Who will be able to GO?
God did not create us to have flawed bodies. Stop blaming your genes and start taking responsibility for the body He has given you the gift of caring for.
Additionally, we cannot be the hands & feet of Christ if our hands are tied up in 100 different directions!
Furthermore, learn to say NO.
Yes bible study, volunteer efforts, extra curricular activities are all WONDERFUL, ADMIRABLE ways to spend your time. But if they are replacing your relationship with your Creator, your spouse, your children, or your family then they are not things you should be participating in at this time
Your most important relationship has to be with God.
If your busy schedule results in a hurting, lacking, or a non existent relationship with the Lord you MUST make dramatic, immediate changes.
Your second most important relationship must be with your spouse (for those unmarried it is probably your family.)
If your busy schedule prevents you from eating dinner together, sitting down to have a real conversation, watching a show together, or going to bed together… you MUST make dramatic, immediate changes.
If you are too buys to do things together like fix a meal, grocery shop, watch a show, do a bible study together, pray together, have a conversation, or enjoy quiet moments in each other’s presences… you are TOO BUSY.
Your relationship with your KIDS, SIBLINGS, PARENTS, must be a priority.
If your busy schedule keeps you from getting to truly KNOW these special people, having real conversations, sharing a meal, watching a show, or investing your time in their lives… you MUST make dramatic, immediate changes.
I know what you are thinking… who is this chick? Mallory, you do not have a real job, you do not have children, you are young, and you are unable to be busy because of your health; you have NO idea.
Those things are true. And I will not claim to understand anyone else’s situation, because they belong uniquely to you.
I will say, however, I know what God has put on my heart to tell you.
And if anything I’ve written strikes a nerve or slightly offends you…maybe that is God nudging you in truth. Maybe you feel defensive over these words because they are convicting & if they are true, you have to make changes.
I’m certainly guilty of putting God on the backburner even though I am no longer chronically busy. Satan is the WORST. He constantly tempts, distracts, & lures us away from the Lord.
The busier we are, the more opportunities we have to be DISTRACTED, TEMPTED, & LURED away from the God who longs to spend time with us.
So, my dear chronically busy friends, I do not have all the answers. I do not have solutions for rearranging your schedules; I do not have a checklist of activities to keep & activities to ditch. But I know someone who does… God the Father.
The same God who is waiting for you with open arms, is the only One who can guide you to a thriving, joyful, obedient life. A life that allows you to breathe & relish & soak up His infinite beauty which surrounds you every day. But if our eyes are distracted with work, our minds are focused on busy schedules, & our bodies are worn down with fatigue/bad nourishment… we will MISS that beauty every time it shows itself.
Don’t miss the beauty. Don’t miss HIM. Don’t replace relationship with busyness.
If you need a friend, I’m here to listen.