Busyness

Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, tech worker, or tradesman, most people feel overworked and unable to find quality rest. Because there’s not just work to do—there are appointments, home improvements, recitals, family commitments … the list goes on. And when you’re not doing the things that need to be done, free time is often spent in front of screens. Spend too much time scrolling social media and you’ll be riddled with guilt for not completing your overly ambitious to-do list that keeps getting bigger every day.

If any of this sounds familiar, this podcast is for you.

Dr. Matthew Sleeth (author of 24/6: A Prescription for a Happier, Healthier Life) is a former emergency room physician and no stranger to the kind of busyness that can slowly chip away at your wellbeing. When he found Jesus and began reading the Bible, it was only then that he discovered how much he truly needed a day of rest in his week. In this conversation, you’ll hear how making a few simple changes in your life can allow you to make that sabbath become a weekly reality — a time for you to truly rest in the Lord. Originally recorded in 2013, this conversation is just as relevant today as it was then.

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A book came across our desk recently that really convicts. Crazy Busy ($11.99; Crossway, March 2013) by Kevin DeYoung, a pastor at United Reformed Church in East Lansing, Mich., talks about the one conversation we’ve all had:

“How are you?” someone asks. “Oh, I’m crazy busy!” we say, with a lot of stress in our voice—and a hint of pride. (Because if we’re busy, then we’re important. Though what we’re conveying to the asker is: I’m too busy and important for you.)

Which, of course, is completely unlike our Saviour, who wasn’t too busy to stop and teach parables and grant saving faith. But God is God and we are not, and in our modern Western world, busyness is a growing cultural sin.

DeYoung outlines three dangers of busyness to our souls in his book (the text in quotations below the three dangers is taken from an infographic on the book):

1. Busyness Can Ruin Our Joy
“This is the most immediate and obvious spiritual threat. As Christians, our lives should be marked by joy (Phil. 4:4), taste like joy (Gal. 5:22), and be filled with the fullness of joy (John 15:11). Busyness attacks all of that. Busyness is like sin: kill it, or it will be killing you.”

2. Busyness Can Rob Our Hearts
“For most of us, it isn’t heresy or rank apostasy that will detrail our profession of faith. It’s all the worries of life. Life is crazy busy for most of us, and it’s choking the spiritual life out of us. Maybe the greater threat to the gospel is sheer exhaustion.”

3. Busyness Can Cover Up the Rot in Our Souls
“What we may not recognize is that our crazy schedules are often signals that a sickness has already set in. The presence of extreme busyness in our lives may point to deeper problems—a pervasive people-pleasing; a restless ambition; a malaise of meaninglessness.”

The biggest takeaway from DeYoung’s book is to remember something C.S. Lewis wrote: “Your life is a continuum where wholeness is on one end and destruction is on the other. Each decision you make is moving you one direction towards wholeness and peace with God, or away from Him.”

You could say that we are either making time for God or we are shutting him out. And putting God on our to-do list or vowing to spend 30 minutes each morning in prayer are good ideas, but more work-based tasks don’t address the heart problem: We would do anything to avoid God.

That’s why He had to save us. We were incapable of saving ourselves.

We are crazy busy, it’s true, and most of us need to slow down and make space in our lives for God. But take heart in that God accomplished the most important to-do of all time: He first made time for us.

Lindsey M. Roberts is the editor of the All About Jesus blog. After seven years in secular journalism, she is thrilled to explore in words how everything—from taking a walk to doing the dishes—is an opportunity to meet and glorify God. Lindsey lives with her husband and newborn son in Virginia.