Author: Kevin DeYoung
How I came about this book:
A friend shared it for a book review in one of my online small groups.
The title Crazy busy gave me a hint on what to expect. I wasn’t disappointed at the depth the Author went, to bring the dangers of busyness to mind.
Lessons & Reflections:
I love the opening paragraph of this book in particular. How encouraging it is to note that the writer is also a work-in-progress!
Some books are written because the author knows something people need to know. Others because the author has seen something people should see. I’m writing this book to figure out things I don’t know
and to work on change I have not yet seen. More than any other book I’ve worked on, this one is for me
BUSYNESS AND SOME OF ITS VICES:
1. Busyness puts our souls at risk
We are here and there and everywhere. We are distracted. We are preoccupied. We can’t focus on the task in front of us. We don’t follow through. We don’t keep our commitments. We are so busy with a million pursuits that we don’t even notice the most important things slipping away.
We wake up most days not trying to serve, just trying to survive.
When we are crazy busy, we put our souls at risk. Busyness is like sin: kill it, or it will be killing you.
When our lives are frantic and frenzied, we are more prone to anxiety, resentment, impatience, and irritability.
We need to guard our hearts. The seed of God’s Word won’t grow to fruitfulness without pruning for rest, quiet, and calm.
The presence of extreme busyness in our lives may point to deeper problems—a pervasive people-pleasing, a restless ambition, a malaise of meaninglessness.
You can be meaninglessly busy.
2. Busyness is more often than not a symptom of PRIDE.
Our understanding of busyness must start with the one sin that begets so many others: PRIDE.
There is more of Pride at work in our hearts than we know, and more of it pulsing through our busyness than we realize.
We are busy because we try to do too many things. We do too many things because we say “Yes” to too many people.
We all have needy people in our lives, the kind that never get enough attention and always demand more of our time.
So much of our busyness comes down to meeting people’s expectations.
You may have a reputation for being the nicest person in the world because the operating principle in your heart is to have a reputation for being the nicest person in the world.
Living for praise is the most obvious form of PRIDE. Because we regard ourselves so highly, we overestimate our importance.
You are unique. Your gifts are important. People love you. But you’re NOT irreplaceable.
3. Ambition and Self-Importance are direct causes of busyness:
God is not against ambition but ambition for our own glory must not be confused with ambition for God’s glory.
Some of us never rest because we are still trying to prove something to our parents, our ex-girlfriend, or our high school coach.
We work to earn, and we earn to spend. We stay busy because we want more stuff.
In addition, people feel sorry for us when we’re busy. If we get our lives under control, we won’t seem nearly so impressive.
Many of us feel proud to be so busy, and we enjoy the sympathy we receive for enduring such heroic responsibilities.
5. Overwhelming Christian Hospitality and Ministry:
Opening our homes takes time, but it doesn’t have to take over our lives
Christian hospitality has much more to do with good relationships than with good food.
There is a fine line between care and cumber. In many instances, less ado would serve better.
The needs seem so urgent. The workers seem so few. If we don’t do something, who will? We want to be involved. We want to make a difference. We want to do what’s expected of us. But there just doesn’t seem to be the time.
The Bible says a lot about the poor, about marriage, about prayer, about evangelism, about missions, about justice; it says a lot about a lot.
We know we can always pray more and give more and evangelize more, so we get used to living in a state of mild disappointment with ourselves.
For too long the church has motivated people to mission by news of natural catastrophes, complex humanitarian disasters, unreached people groups, and oppressed and exploited minorities. We’ve been given statistics and stories about the all-too-sad conditions of the world.
The good news of Christ’s death and resurrection has been turned into bad news about all the problems in the world and how much more we have to do to make things right.
“You may be part of the bridal party, but you are not the groom. You are not the Messiah, so don’t try to be.” (Gordon Hugenberger)
6. Perfectionistic Parenting Tendecies:
Parents make their work more difficult than it has to be because they overestimate how much depends on them for the future well-being of their children.
It would be better for us and for our kids if we planned fewer outings, got involved in fewer activities, took more breaks from the kids, did whatever we could to get more help around the house, and made parental sanity a higher priority.
We will parent imperfectly, our children will make their own choices, and God will mysteriously and wondrously use it all to advance his kingdom
While we can’t avoid being busy with our children—indeed, it’s a biblical command (Titus 2:5)—with a good dose of prayer, a shot of biblical reflection, and a little common sense, we can avoid freaking
out about them quite so much.
SOME PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS TO MINDLESS BUSYNESS:
We all need the Great Physician to heal our overscheduled souls. If only we could make time for an appointment.
It’s okay to be busy at times. You can’t love and serve others without giving of your time. So work hard; work long; work often.
Just remember it’s not supposed to be about you. Feed people, not your pride.
1. Set Priorities:
You Can’t Serve Others without Setting Priorities.
Jesus was busy, but never in a way that made him frantic, anxious, irritable, proud, envious, or distracted by lesser things.
Jesus knew the difference between urgent and important.
Jesus understood his mission. He was not driven by the needs of others, though he often stopped to help hurting people.
He was not driven by the approval of others, though he cared deeply for the lost and the broken.
He also knew that if he were to accomplish the purposes God had for him, he would have to pass up ten thousand good purposes other people had for his life.
Ultimately, Jesus was driven by the Spirit. He knew his priorities and did not let the many temptations of a busy life deter him from his task.
If Jesus had to be deliberate with his priorities, so do we. We will have to be dedicated to being disciplined. We will have to make it our mission to stay on mission.
The Son of God could not meet all the needs around him. He had to get away to pray. He had to eat. He had to sleep. He had to say NO.
If Jesus had to live with human limitations, we’d be foolish to think we don’t. He did not try to do it all. And yet, he did everything God asked him to do.
Stewarding my time is not about selfishly pursuing only the things I like to do. It’s about effectively serving others in the ways I’m best able to serve and in the ways I am most uniquely called to serve.
Setting priorities is an expression of love for others and for God.
God does expect us to say no to a whole lot of good things so that we can be freed up to say yes to the most important things he has for us.
Don’t think it rude if some people have less availability for you than you have for them.
Unless we’re God, none of us deserves to be the priority for everyone else all the time
2. The need for Margin:
Margin is the space between our load and our limit.
Planning for margin means planning for the unplannable. It means we understand what’s possible for us as finite creatures and then we schedule for less than that.
3. Limit the use of electronic devices/social media:
If you don’t want to be dependent on your digital devices, make an effort to get by without them.
We cannot have meaningful relationships with thousands of people.
We cannot really know what is going on in the world. We cannot be truly here and there at the same time.
The biggest deception of our digital age may be the lie that says we can be omni-competent, omni-informed, and omni- present. We cannot be any of these things.
We must choose our absence, our inability, and our ignorance— and choose wisely. The sooner we embrace this finitude, the sooner we can be free.
God gives us Sabbath as a gift; He also offers us Sabbath as a test; it’s an opportunity to trust God’s work more than our own.
The Bible commends hard work and it also extols the virtue of rest. Both have their place. The hard part is putting them in the right places.
Idleness is not a mere indulgence or vice. It is necessary to getting anything done. We can’t run incessantly and expect to run very well.
You can borrow time, but you can’t steal it. There must be times when I won’t work; otherwise I won’t rest.
BUSYNESS AS IT SHOULD REALLY BE:
If you have creativity, ambition, and love, you will be busy. We are supposed to disciple the nations. We are supposed to work with our hands.
We are supposed to love God with our minds. We are supposed to have babies and take care of them.
It’s not a sin to be busy. It’s not wrong to be active.
The antidote to busyness of soul is not sloth and indifference. The antidote is rest, rhythm, death to pride, acceptance of our own finitude, and trust in the providence of God.
The busyness that’s bad is not the busyness of work, but the busyness that works hard at the wrong things. It’s being busy trying to please people, busy trying to control others, busy trying to do things we haven’t been called to do.
We were made to cultivate the Garden of God, to replenish the earth and subdue it. We were made to be busy.
One of the reasons we struggle so mightily with busyness is because we do not expect to struggle.
Effective love is rarely efficient. People take time. Relationships are messy. If we love others, how can we not be busy and burdened at least some of the time?
We won’t all care about every issue in the same way, but there are some issues we should all care about, some issues that should at least prick our hearts and prompt us to pray.
We have different gifts and callings. We have to be okay with other Christians doing certain good things better and more often than we do.
The church—gathered in worship on Sunday and scattered through its members throughout the week—is able to do exponentially more than any of us alone.
WHAT MATTERS THE MOST:
Sitting at the feet of Jesus, whether corporately or individually, never just happens. We must make learning from him and taking time to be with him a priority.
Leftovers are what we give to God when we don’t keep first things first.
A few unhurried minutes are better than a distracted hour, and a consistent habit is better than a sporadic burst of fits and starts.
Few things demonstrate our devotion to Christ more than making time with him a priority each day.
Starting each day with eternity makes our petty problems and long to-do lists seem less significant. By sitting at the feet of Jesus, we will grow more like him—more patient, more loving, more thoughtful.
We must not forget that our circle of influence will definitely be smaller than our circle of concern.
The only thing more important than ministry is being ministered to. Making consistent time for the Word of God and prayer is the place to start because being with Jesus is the only thing strong enough to pull us away from busyness.
We won’t say no to more craziness until we can say yes to more Jesus. Until then, we will keep choosing busyness over blessings.
This was a really eye opening read for me. Busyness in and of itself is not a sin, but mindless busyness is.
As Christians our ultimate goal should be on fruitfulness hence the need for a healthy margin and setting priorities.
I recommend this book for every 21st century believer who wants to live a life of trusting rather than hustling, and live focused in a distraction world.