Addicted to Busyness
Many well-intentioned leaders have made “busyness the substitute for meaning.” John Eldredge about stopped my heart when he said it on a podcast. Dang it, I thought, he is right. Most of my personal, professional and emotional life has been clouded by the fog of busyness. At a very strange cognitive level busyness, to me, has been a merit badge of success. It looks like cell phones, laptops, meetings, business trips, board meetings, parenting, marriage, ministry, teaching, writing, encouraging others…
I had been running but noticing that my endurance was faltering, and my accomplishments diminishing. Somewhere along the way I lost vitality. I needed God to help me gain a clearer perspective on life. I faced the mirror and asked, some difficult questions regarding my personal leadership.
We all say that next to God, family is the most important, but in reality, I wasn’t living that way. I wonder today how many really do. Do I even know how? If I can be transparent, I found that I am a bit addicted to the rush of being busy. Success was for me the process of being engaged and needed. The more the merrier.
While I understood that my walk with God was strong and fruitful the outcome of my exaggerated pace, began to show signs of disease. (Diminishment, confusion, doubt and struggle) While all the “stuff” that was filling my time was “good”, I felt like “great” meant I needed to narrow my scope and sharpen my focus. For me, it was time to take my role as dad more seriously.
To accomplish this, I felt the Lord’s permission to step back for a season and examine with an open heart the pace that I was running. What I found was surprising I was running and missing the signs along the way. Signs, that if considered, leads to spiritual, emotional and physical health.
What I found was that by doing a little less activity in life; the impact of my life grew stronger, more vibrant. I never expected that following Christ’s personal plan for my life would be so powerful. By unplugging from my “busyness crack” and assessing the condition of my heart, I have found a deepening of my relationships between God, my family and the others I lead.
I noticed the other day that, as a family, we have never worshiped deeper, prayed more fervently, cared more about each other or loved our neighbors more deeply. I also noticed that we laugh more, play more and have more time to explore the things of love. Why? Because, the energy I have used to be busy is now used for God’s work in the home. In loving my wife, raising up the next generation and really leading my family towards LIFE. This of course spills over into my work, and I now see the silo leveling effect of a healthy heart on strategic vision. (A side benefit of living my faith out-loud)
My patterns of busyness show that I am always fighting tooth and nail for something that should have been or something that still could be. The reality of my walk with God is that he is asking me to live in the now, which allows room for God to be God in my life.
Busyness can never substitute for meaning. The two are not compatible. In my need, to be needed I missed my calling. Too radically embrace the untamed nature of faith and to live it out loud while I learn to pursue love in action.
Question: In what ways do you relate to my struggle with busyness?
- Thinking about Busyness (stevecullum.com)
- Just Relax! (lowercaseliving.wordpress.com)
- Michael Sigman: Giving Busyness the Business (huffingtonpost.com)
- Minimalism: A Blessing in the Choice (christianminimalism.wordpress.com)