Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Is staying "too busy" a bad thing?

We recently had a conversation, Dan and I, as well as a few other good friends about the notion of "being busy". In fact, we have been quite reprimanded and convicted on the matter.

Our culture has become so busy in fact, that when anyone invites another to spend quality time together, our knee-jerk reaction is that we are, "So busy. Insanely busy. Crazy busy." as some have put it...I think this response does invoke a kind of prideful feeling, that we are somehow in demand. Our very presence is so greatly sought after that we simply must turn people down. Like a product on a shelf, we are so popular that we are "sold-out". Please take a rain check and try again later.

Frankly speaking, I have long been in this camp. It's a funny feeling too. I loathe my busy schedule at times and at other times it gives me a sense of self-worth. When I have down-time, I feel that hurried feeling creeping up again, like surely there must be something more pressing that I have on the schedule. When I am allowed to simply do the normal things of life, like spending time on the floor playing with legos with my boys, or making dinner or even doing the dishes (which I often make excuses for doing). Is it wrong that I feel that these are less-than activities?

And what about when someone I care about comes to me with an invitation to do something together or simply spend time catching up? Is it tragic that I have to turn them down because of this activity or event that has grudgingly been on the calendar longer? I think it is a tragedy of sorts. And not necessarily for the person who is getting declined.

A friend of ours recently forwarded on a great blog post on this very matter. The author even goes as far to say that we are forcing each other to behave this way. Always fearing that the other must be too busy, and therefore maintaining the veil over vulnerability. Keeping score and therefore keeping each other at an arm's length in our relationships.

As far as ministry goes, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain meaningful relationships, with friends and colleagues, let alone with our very own family. I can only foresee my sons schedules becoming more and more busy when school and sports come into the picture.

School is not bad, sports are not bad, church events are not bad. So where does the problem manifest itself? Is it in our behavior towards one another and the societal norms that are established within these institutions?

I think there is a growing tremor happening all around us, that has already been evidenced in movements from Moms all over the country that our children are being pushed to their limits. That  the busier we are, the more exhausted and stressed we are. The more our familial relationships suffer. Our friends get pushed to the sidelines and it leaves little to no room left to meet new people and develop new relationships.

I want to change. I want others to give me the freedom to change. I need to purposely re-create our sabbath. Our "day of rest" and enjoying all the blessings of family, friends and God's goodness, by just "being", not "being busy". I need to create           blank space           in my life.