Monday, September 10, 2012

Stopping the Glorification of Being Busy

Last November our lives stopped. Because of crisis. Because of necessity. Life had been whirling out of control for years and neither Jamy or I had seen it coming.

We had reached a point where even if we had tried to keep going, we couldn't. During that time we did a lot: play therapy for the kids, counseling for us, and spending a lot of time with Jesus. But mostly, we just stopped.

We stopped filling life with stuff. Attending events, getting together with friends, serving at church, sports for the kids, and volunteering at school all took a backseat. We took more than six months where the only thing we did as a family was be together as a family.

Anything past necessity simply didn't happen. Anything past showering, eating, going to work, and getting the kids to school just fell off the radar. The only thing that mattered was making sure our family was ok.

You know what happened? We lost relationships. People were offended. Friends and family didn't get it. But our family thrived. We started healing. We spent time together. We no longer felt rushed or scattered or stressed. Other people didn't get much of Jamy or I (friends or church or boards) but our kids did. The three people who mattered most to me were getting my undivided attention.

When "family time" wasn't a scheduled trip to the zoo or movie night I found that I had way more time to be available to my husband and my kids. Conversations happened naturally. When I didn't feel rushed on a Saturday morning I had time to play basketball with Jackson or do a craft with Isabelle. Phone calls and emails waited. My family didn't.  

This world tells us that to be busy is to be important. The more full our iCal is the more useful and valuable we are. The more sports teams and art classes and dance recitals our kids are in the more well-rounded they are. The more places we serve the more good we're doing.

I once heard the greatest enemy of best is good. I found that becoming true in my own life. I was involved in a lot of good things: volunteering at church, serving on social service boards, hosting dinner parties and play dates, attending the kids soccer games, and on and on it went. All good things. All fun things.

But I've come to realize they were all distracting things. All of these "good" things were coming before spending intentional time with my family. The best way I can use my time is by focusing on what I want to do best.  Loving Jesus, loving Jamy, and loving Isabelle and Jackson well. This is what matters most.

Yes, I want to be a good adoption consultant, and friend, and church member, and...the list goes on and on. But ultimately God has called me to do three things: Child of God, wife, mama. When I let other things creep in (good things even), I can so easily lose sight of what I'm really trying to do.

So now we're creating a new normal. One where calendars are cleared for things that really matter. We're careful not to add what we "should" do and only what helps us achieve family goals of loving God and others well. We've started to slowly have friends over and serve at church again. But most evenings are spent over a lazy dinner, family game, and reading to the kids. When the kids go to bed J and I have a chance to read and talk and connect.

I'm still learning how to do this. My heart is still drawn to lots of good things rather than the best things. I often have Jamy ban me from my iPhone after a certain time at night and need to shut the laptop. We're learning how to be more purposeful about not being busy in order to focus on intentionally creating space for the relationships that matter most.

I like not being busy.


  1. This is beautiful, Susan. Thank you for being transparent! I am amazed at the timing and similarities of our life's journey over the last 6-8 months. I was describing to a friend the other day that I have been "grounded" for the last 6 months and it has been glorious. The Lord in His kindness saw what was coming and prepared all of our hearts to lay it all down and refocus on what it most important. I pray this message will speak to many as I believe it's so vital to not only prevent crisis but restore those who are in it.

  2. Thank you for this. I long for this and sometimes feel like my job is one of the things making me the busiest. Anyway - I love you.

  3. Our church spoke on this very topic this past Sunday. Here's the podcast.... if you have time ;)


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