Monday, October 16, 2017

Is busyness normal-and should it be?

It seems like just yesterday that eclairs were made, St. Francis was celebrated, and October was welcomed in with brisk air. Here we are, halfway through the month, and I am wondering where exactly the time has gone (especially as I think about all of the blog posts I meant to write, but didn't even start). 

This donkey's shaggy coat totally made me wonder what it would be like if a donkey
tried to get dredlocks. As you can see, my falltime reflections have been very deep. 
Years ago, I learned an acronym: BUSY-Being Under Satan's Yoke. The idea behind this is that when we are busy and preoccupied with various matters, we do not make time for God, and we may fail to live peacefully in accordance with His will in the present moment. We recall the passage in the Bible when Jesus visited Mary & Martha, and ponder how Martha was "anxious and worried about many things" (Lk 10:41)-and we resolve to be more like Mary, rejecting the busyness and anxiety of Martha. 

Yet, as much as we decry the status of being "busy," we still uphold this as a good thing. How many times have we heard (or taken part of) the following conversation? 

"Hi! How are you, and how is your life?"

"Oh, you know, busy, but good. And you? Are you keeping busy?" 

In my own life, I've found that treating busyness like a good thing can come from a desire to feel needed and important. If we're busy, it can be because we're doing good things for other people-and this makes us feel valued. No matter what stage in life we are-single, married, parent of teenagers-we can justify busyness somehow. 

I don't think we should continue to accept this narrative. I don't think we should promote the notion that living in a state of preoccupation and busyness should be normal. While there are circumstances and short periods where yes, this makes sense (ie: Vacation Bible School week at church), we need to stop making this the standard for normal life, day-to-day, 24/7. 

I'm finding that a weekend or month may be full of activities, but it still does not necessarily need the mental preoccupation and chaos of being "busy." Instead, I can make peace a priority and calmly accept whatever God sends my way. 

Instead of saying, "Oh, life is good, I'm keeping busy, how about you?" I've started using a different response: "Life is full." 

Full of joys. 
Full of struggles. 
Full of sorrows. 
Full of adventures.
Full of love. 
Full of grace. 
Full of beauty. 
Full of peace. 

There is so much depth to my day-to-day life, and regardless of whether I'm bouncing from library-to playdate-to errands or simply spending a morning at home, if I let God's peace truly overcome my life, I'm not really "busy" or overly preoccupied. My heart is full, and my soul is at rest. 

Even so, there are still days when I fight the temptation to become busy, preoccupied, and anxious. In these moments, when I start to feel myself into "keep ALL the plates spinning!" mode, I like to grab a piece of paper and just start writing. I write down whatever commitments or tasks are colliding in my mind, and I start delegating these to different days (one per day). After I do this, I'm able to see that everything I think I need to do "urgently" is not really a pressing matter, and there will be time for it all. 
Seriously, just drink some tea. It will make you feel better.
Unless you don't like tea. In which case, I really feel sorry for you. 
Together, let's stop living the "busy life," and begin upholding the "full life." 


  1. I agree with this so much!! And I love that about saying "life is full!"

    Pour me a cup of tea, sister!

  2. Replies
    1. I'm so glad that I found a kindred spirit when I stumbled across your blog ;)

  3. Yes! Busy isn't the ideal. I used to be super busy, but life is slower now and it's WEIRD. I had to get comfortable with having time that wasn't filled with a to-do list yelling at me, which was definitely an adjustment. The Power of Silence has been a great book to read little by little to help me appreciate slow moments that aren't filled. And I just love your "life is full" response!

  4. "Life is full." What truth and what a beautiful response!

    And tea...Yes to tea! Think I might make myself a cup right now!

    1. I'm so glad this led you to drink tea. Wouldn't this world be a better place if we all took the time to sit and drink tea more often?

  5. I love all of this! Do you know what? I do the same thing when I'm stressed out about too many things: I write them all down on a piece of paper and list out the single next step I need to take on all those projects, and usually after just the act of writing it down I feel better already.

  6. People always look at me and say, "You must be busy." They see young kids who are close in age, so they assume I'm busy. Sometimes I am busy, but more often than not I just have a full life. I love how you've articulated this! I feel like I can respond better to that statement now.
    My life is full of laughter, learning, hugs, discoveries, etc.!

    1. I only have one kid, and people always assume that I'm busy, too! I guess it's become so normalized for parents to rush from one thing to another or constantly do tons of stuff for their kids that people make this type of assumption about me and you.