Does competing for who's the busiest or who has the craziest life make you feel more accomplished? Busyness does not make your life fuller... it makes it less fulfilling and have a lack of quality, because when that busyness and craziness is gone, what is left?
This is a Facebook status that I attempted to post... but didn't. Why? Because I didn't think it was encouraging, but could be viewed as rude, mean-spirited, and pointed to someone or someones in particular (which it wasn't... or was it? lol). I realized it would not be encouraging or helpful for anyone to read, so instead of posting that status I decided to make this post to discover the real problem beneath the symptoms.
We associate busyness with productivity. When you have more to get done you feel like you have accomplished more. But many times the things that we busy ourselves with, in reality, do not matter. So we are spending our time and ourselves doing things that are unimportant, irrelevant, unproductive, and sadly... do not matter.
We associate craziness with importance. For some reason in this day and age sanity is viewed as ordinary, boring, and ineffective. If you have time to work out regularly or read a book you obviously don't have anything better to do. Reading a book or spending time journaling is a luxury rather than a good use of time. People with an important job, or with kids, or with a large family, or with a full life just don't have those kind of options (or do they?).
Let's focus on what matters, not how to fill our day planner. I am human and a women, so I know the satisfaction of making a huge long "to-do" list and getting to mark off all that I have accomplished. It is a wonderful feeling! But I am also human enough to realize that a lot of times the things on that "to-do" list can get marked off and we still haven't accomplishment much of anything. We can get so wrapped up in our lists, schedules, and appointments, that we completely miss what is between the lines. There are opportunities, things to be done, that aren't written in our lists. I like to think they are written between the lines... it is God's list. There are things that God has written in... people to talk to, old ladies who need help loading their groceries, a smile that needs to be given... and they are between the lines of our ever so long to-do lists. But when we get so caught up in our lists, schedules, and appointments, we may mark everything off our list, but God's list is left untouched. I fear that we may be so busy, we simply have no time left to do anything truly productive.
Let's focus on quality, not quantity. So when did running around like chickens with our heads cut off become the new normal? When did that become the lifestyle of choice? I believe there are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, I truly believe that when people are living that kind of lifestyle they do feel a sense of importance. Again, going back to the busyness, we feel like if we always have somewhere to be, something to do, etc. we are in demand, we are important. Secondly, we may feel that the more we can handle the stronger and more efficient we are. If we can multi-task cooking a meal, getting kids dressed, cleaning a room of the house, doing laundry, calling the cable company about an issue, emailing a teacher, and putting on lipstick, is there anything we can't do?! Finally, I think people opt for a crazy life because they can't handle being still. The art of silence, just thinking, meditating on the Word of God, and listening to the voice of God, is one that is desperately in need of reviving. Even now there would be people who read that last sentence and thought,
"Boy would I love to have time to do that."
No you don't. If you are not making time to do those things it is because you don't want to or you don't think you need to.
"No, it's because I can't. When would I do that?"
I'll tell you when you would do that, when you decide to.