Breaking Up With Being Busy
Every season of life presents new challenges and new opportunities. Whether it is an internship, career change, baby, new relationship, moving or mid-life crisis, we often find ourselves doing more, rescheduling things so we can get more done and adding more things to our plate because we are eager to move ahead. According to a survey published by USA Today, 69 percent of people polled said they were “busy,” or “very busy.” Women between the ages of 30 and 60 were the busiest, reporting that they regularly sacrificed sleep, recreation, hobbies and family due to their hectic schedules. Our Risen staff knows this statistic all too well. We are often trying to find the balance between working, being parents and juggling everything in between. We were excited to hear about Alli Worthington’s new book, Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy. While she challenges women specifically in her book, we feel like the principles could translate to anyone.
In Breaking Busy, Alli shares her how-to knowledge, which is based in a wealth of personal experience in business and in life. In addition to being an author, Alli is also a speaker, the Executive Director of Propel Women (an organization that empowers female leaders), a wife and a mom to five boys! We love the format of the book because each chapter ends with questions and action items for the reader so that by the end of the book, the reader will have the tools needed to better understand themself and, therefore, discover a more fulfilling and less busy path.
Alli shares, “So we aren’t sleeping, we aren’t taking care of our bodies, and we aren’t doing things we enjoy with people we love. Then what in the world are we busy doing?”
We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. 2 Thessalonians 3:11-13
We have all been there. Working countless hours, balancing life’s other responsibilities, drinking caffeine, and often on the verge of burnout. We appreciated Alli’s take because she too found herself after a season of busy and burnout, realizing she had to do something about the craziness in her own life. This set her on a path to discerning between her “shoulds” and “wants” and relentlessly prioritizing her life. Even when that meant stepping down from one her most successful ventures, Blissdom—a conference for bloggers that had grown over the course of five years to be the biggest of its kind.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10
“The great news is,” she writes, “you can identify your capacity limits, find your sweet spot, and live beyond the world of crazy busy. In other words, you can break busy.”
While breaking busy is a daily decision, it has the capacity to essentially free you up to be who God really intended you to be. Each of us has a choice to seek God and ask Him for direction and purpose. We must choose to be obedient to the calling He has given us. Sometimes that means saying, “no” to things that are seemingly good, but in the end do not ultimately fulfill God’s plan. The enemy often uses our business to get us worn out so that we are distracted and unable to do what we were truly designed to do. Remember too that God designed us to rest! Don’t let yourself get burned out. And make sure to check out Alli Worthington’s new book, Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy!
- What are you called to do? Pray and ask God to show you the things He has called you to do vocationally and practically speaking. Just because I don’t “feel called” to clean my house, it still needs to get done. Likewise, there might be classes you need to take or things you need to do in order to fulfill that calling.
- What do you need to say “no” to? Look at the things God has called you to do, when you are presented with opportunities, see if they line up with that calling and direction. If they don’t, ask God to give you the grace to say, “no.” Even if an opportunity fits, take the time to ask clarifying questions. What will the time requirement be? What will that commitment entail? Will it take you away from other priorities like your family or school?
- Set boundaries! Don’t be afraid to communicate what you can and cannot do. Remember you are only one person. It is always better to raise the flag and share that you are getting tired rather than burn out completely. Instead of complaining or refusing to do something, think through potential solutions that you can present instead.
- Don’t waste time. God has entrusted us with gifts and talents and while many of us err on the being busy side some of us are guilty of not being good stewards of the time He has given us. Do a time inventory. Are you spending more time watching TV, playing video games, hanging out with friends than being in His Word and doing the things He has called you to do?
- Do you need to rest? Take time away from the craziness of life. Whether that means taking a nap, journaling, praying or just going for a walk and enjoying nature, don’t forget to get recharged and do the things that give you energy. Even after creating the heavens and the Earth, God took the seventh day and rested as a model for us.