In our fast-paced world, busyness is a fact of life, but it can also be worn like a badge of honour. Being busy with the right things is perhaps what separates leadership from management, even though both are important. It is not about how hard we do or don’t work, but how smart. Life can be hampered by factors beyond our control, of course, but it is also easy to excuse our own contributions to busyness, and even to focus too much on what we can’t control. Busyness ideally aligns to that for which we are uniquely wired and called to make a difference. Naturally, we still need to maintain a reasonable commitment to the inevitable things we have to do and don’t always like. Here’s some questions that might help combat excessive busyness and restore balance.
- Ask yourself why all those plates are spinning! An extra one just increases the chance of dropping one! Extra ‘plates’ may be needed in the short term, but why are we even spinning them all? Jesus sought to “finish the work” He was given on Earth (John 17:4) and sets a great example to us to do what we are called to do (even if we don’t always like it). This is often confirmed by others and by our fruitfulness.
- Ask yourself what drives you. Is there an unhealthy motivation that needs addressing? The desire for excessive affirmation and acceptance can suggest a void in our upbringing and lead to drivenness or perfectionism that can sometimes be tied to others’ views of us. We don’t need to jump at shadows, here, but just to allow others close to us to speak to our blind spots. Our passion will often fuel us and, for Christians, this is invested firstly for God, not people (Colossians 3:23).
- Ask yourself how your world is shaped. Jesus’ solution to not even having time to eat, was to withdraw and rest (Mark 6:31). Spending time we don’t have to hear from God that what we might not like to hear can seem threatening. But we may be surprised, because in breaking free from mindsets of judgment or past hurts, we discover that we can know God’s pleasure and hear His heart which is for us and not against.
As we present our requests to God, His peace will guard us (Philippians 4:6-7). Being led by God takes us into an ongoing rest in the centre of His will, where our busyness is properly focused and far from overwhelming. As long as we are safeguarded by leaders and caring friends who can be a sounding board (Proverbs 11:14), we can be confident that the tide will surely turn.