Happy New Year!
Or am I the only one who lives life in terms of the school calendar year?
For some reason, when I send my kids back to school, it always makes me want to reevaluate my life and make resolutions (like what normal people do in January around New Year’s Day).
This “new year,” can we please address an epidemic in our culture that must stop?
We’ve all heard it when you ask someone how they are doing, or how summer was, and the response is: I’ve been sooooooo busy. This is a huge pet peeve of mine, mostly because I’m the worst offender. It literally comes rolling out of my mouth, and I want to cut my tongue off.
Busy Is a choice
I know, what is this heresy I speak of? But it really is a choice. Yes, we all have real-life constraints that require us to get things done. Kids need to eat and get places, jobs need to be worked, and meetings have to be attended. But there’s a whole lot of things we have deemed mandatory when they’re anything but.
Why do we do this? I read an article from The Atlantic that made sense to me, and the title says it all: “Ugh, I’m So Busy: A Status Symbol for Our Time.” Yes, that’s just it! It’s totally the humble way to claim self-importance without outright saying I want you to value and respect me. It used to be people would buy a Rolex or a Mercedes as a status symbol. Not anymore—now we just run around flying our “busy” flag.
Sometimes our self-worth inadvertently gets hinged on making sure people know we have purpose and value. This is easy to do, but it’s completely contrary to God’s Word and can get in the way of God’s very best plan for our lives.
Busy in the Bible
You already know where I’m going next, right? Bless it with the Mary and Martha story. I’m not going to go through the whole story, so read Luke 10:38–42 if you need a refresher. But take note of what Jesus says to Martha after all her scurrying around: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41–42).
The good portion! I want that portion and so do you! The good portion starts by slowing down and being about the things Jesus cares about, which are eternal. But, to get the good portion, we also need to stop settling for just any ol’ portion.
There’s no shortage of biblical wisdom speaking to the temptation to be busy. Here are a few to consider:
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). (Ouch!)
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). (Rest sounds lovely, but I’m too busy.)
“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
When our lives are so busy with the ordinary, how can we possibly have the time or energy to do the extraordinary that only Jesus can call us to and accomplish through us? In other words, we can’t possibly get out of the proverbial boat and do great things for the Lord when we are barely treading water sitting inside the boat. We’ve got to make room for the good portion.
Trading Busy for Blessing
I’m going to challenge each of us to trade our busy for blessing—not only the blessing we might be to others if we slow it down but the blessing the Lord can shower on our lives when we start living more in line with his plans for our lives.
Start with some simple things like being willing to let it go when the house isn’t perfect, or when the kids don’t have the best homemade preschool birthday treat. Remember that you probably aren’t called to volunteer for every opportunity that is presented, and your kids do not have to play on every team, even if their friends are doing it.
Let me give you a bigger example that’s very personal to my family. My husband has been a trial lawyer for over twenty years with large downtown law firms. Recently, after much prayer, he left the security of his title and position for a much smaller firm. Many questioned the move as less secure and definitely an unorthodox path for one in the prime of his career. But he felt the Lord telling him that the busyness of his job was stealing the blessing he could be to his family and those around him. So he chose blessing over busy, which oftentimes comes with a price.
Kay Wyma has a new book out this week, Not the Boss of Us: Putting Overwhelmed in Its Place in a Do-All, Be-All World. I highly recommend you read it. As my sweet friend wonderfully explains, being busy leads to feeling overwhelmed. Kay does an amazing job identifying the world’s messaging that often leaves us overwhelmed by pressures related to things like our performance, our appearance, our image, and our social status. She challenges us to make the choice to be overwhelmed by God’s truth and not by the messaging the world sends us!
I got to interview Kay on our Pardon the Mess podcast recently, and we talked about this exact issue. This is a message our kids desperately need to hear, but one that resonates with all of us living in today’s culture. Please go listen to it!
Call to Action
Anyone see the irony that I’m telling us to stop being so busy and now proceeding to give you a list of things to do? Me too.
- Take a small step this week to trade your busy for blessing. Find a place where you can let go of something that’s keeping you “busy” and trade it for the opportunity to be a blessing to someone else. (Odds are you will be blessed too).
- Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell me how you traded your busyness for blessing so we can share it on social media (anonymously) and encourage others. Let’s start a movement! #TradeBusy4Blessing
- Drop the word busy from your vernacular and resist the urge to tell people how “busy” you are, instead exuding the Lord’s confidence and peace to those around you. It will be contagious.
- Oh, and read Kay Wyma’s book and listen to our podcast!
Happy new school year! Can’t wait to hear your stories of blessing and encouragement.
We launched our podcast!
Pardon the Mess offers real, raw, and honest conversations about parenting our kids with biblical truth in a fast-changing world. Our guests will encourage you, remind you of what matters to the Lord, and make you laugh thinking “ain’t that the truth.” Join us as we commit to stay the course as parents, remembering that if we don’t teach our children to follow Christ – the world will teach them not to.
I hope you will take time to subscribe to our podcast, “Pardon the Mess”, and listen to Kay Wyma’s interview as well as others that we have available. And if you like what you hear, we would love for you rate us and leave a comment.
How to leave a review on the Pardon the Mess Podcast in iTunes:
- Open iTunes on your computer or the Podcasts App on your iPhone.
- Search for “Pardon the Mess – A Christian Parenting Podcast”.
- Select the “Pardon the Mess – A Christian Parenting Podcast” by clicking the logo.
- Click the Ratings and Reviews tab at the top. (If on mobile, scroll down to find Ratings and Reviews.)
- Select “Write a Review,” under the Customer Reviews headline and let us know what you think!
Thank you so much for taking the time to help the Pardon the Mess podcast get more exposure, so that more parents can get the trusted guidance they need!