Crazy Busy

DeYoung I want to recommend Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung.  My time was certainly well spent reading the 128 pages of this book. The Spirit used these words to quickly convict me on how I am not as careful with my time as I need to be. It’s filled with practical changes to make us better stewards of the time God has given us. I especially enjoyed the last chapter on Mary and Martha from Luke 10. Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book. In this first quote the author confesses that he too has the problem of being too busy.

I plan no margin in my weeks—reverse margin, actually. I look at my week, and before any interruptions come or any new opportunities arise or any setbacks occur, I already have no idea how to get everything done. I see the meetings scheduled, the sermons to be prepared, the e-mails I need to write, the blogs I need to post, the projects I need to complete, the people I need to see, and I figure that if everything goes a little better than expected, it can all be squeezed in. But of course, there are no ideal weeks, and so I end up with no margin to absorb the surprises.

We have more opportunity than ever before. The ability to cheaply go anywhere is a recent development. The ability to get information from anywhere is, too. Even the ability to easily stay up past sundown is relatively new. The result, then, is simple but true: because we can do so much, we do do so much. Our lives have no limits.

When we are crazy busy, we put our souls at risk. The challenge is not merely to make a few bad habits go away. The challenge is to not let our spiritual lives slip away. The dangers are serious, and they are growing.

Busyness can ruin our joy. This is the most immediate and obvious spiritual threat. As Christians, our lives should be marked by joy (Phil. 4:4), taste like joy (Gal. 5:22), and be filled with the fullness of joy (John 15:11). Busyness attacks all of that. One study found that commuters experience greater levels of stress than fighter pilots and riot police. That’s what we’re facing. When our lives are frantic and frenzied, we are more prone to anxiety, resentment, impatience, and irritability.”

Cottages, boats, campers, time-shares, investments, real estate, snowmobiles, new cars, new houses, new computers, new iStuff, new video games, new makeup, new DVDs, new downloads, new . . . —they all take time. We’ve heard countless sermons warning us about the dangers of money. But the real danger comes after you spend the money. Once you own it you need to keep it clean, keep it working, and keep up with the latest improvements. If the worries of life don’t swamp us, the upkeep will.

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 say yes to all these people because we want them to like us and we fear their disapproval.

Don’t think Jesus can’t sympathize with your busyness. You have bills that need to be paid? Jesus had lepers who wanted to be healed. You have kids screaming for you? Jesus had demons calling him by name. You have stress in your life? Jesus taught large crowds all over Judea and Galilee with people constantly trying to touch him, trick him, and kill him. He had every reason to be run over by a hundred expectations and a thousand great opportunities. And yet, he stayed on mission. Jesus knew his priorities and stuck with them.

In order to have time for my priorities, some activities must be posteriority for me. One reason we never tame the busyness beast is because we are unwilling to kill anything. We rearrange our schedule and tighten up our breaks, but nothing improves because we haven’t pruned anything. We haven’t established what we won’t do any longer.”

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… The longer I parent the more I want to focus on doing a few things really well, and not get too worked up about everything else. I want to spend time with my kids, teach them the Bible, take them to church, laugh with them, cry with them, discipline them when they disobey, say “sorry” when I mess up, and pray a ton

We feel busy, but not with a hobby or recreation or play. We are busy with busyness. Rather than figure out what to do with our spare minutes and hours, we are content to swim in the shallows and pass our time with passing the time.

One of the dangers of technology is that work and rest blend together in a confusing mush. We never quite leave work when we’re at home, so the next day we have a hard time getting back to work when we’re at work. We have no routine, no order to our days. We are never completely “on” and never totally “off.” So we dawdle on YouTube for twenty minutes at the office and then catch up on e-mails for forty minutes in front of the TV at home… Many of us are simply overcome—hour after hour, day after day—by the urge to connect online. And as Christians we know that “whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Pet. 2:19).”

Most of us could improve our lives significantly by simply getting to bed a little earlier. Some nights I can’t help it; there’s no way to be in bed before midnight. But on other nights I get started on a project I didn’t need to begin, or fritter away thirty minutes on my phone, or waste an extra forty-five minutes watching a meaningless sporting event, or spend an hour reading late at night instead of guarding that time so that I can get up to read my Bible the next morning. Sometimes the godliest thing you can do in the universe is get a good night’s sleep—not pray all night, but sleep. I’m certainly not denying that there may be a place for praying all night; I’m merely insisting that in the normal course of things, spiritual discipline obligates you to get the sleep your body needs.

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