The perception of busyness…

This is an excerpt from an article I read by Tim Challies a couple of years ago.  He reposted it today with some updates.  I liked it back then and I like it now because it speaks to a part of life [mine in particular] that I think gets misrepresented at times.  Read [my edited and personalized version] and see it you see yourself in any of this.

I’m so busy. You’re so busy. We’re all so busy. We’re so busy that we can’t possibly fit one more thing into our schedules or one more relationship into our lives. That’s life in North America or perhaps just life in the twenty-first century.

I’ve noticed something I find both interesting and disturbing. It’s this: People always seem to assume how busy I must be. It might be because they just can’t imagine anyone being anything but busy. Or maybe it’s because I am giving off those busy vibes, somehow convincing people that I have way too much to do and way too little time to do it.

The interesting thing is, I really don’t do that much. I just do a lot of the few things I do.  I’ve been deliberate in eliminating everything but the few things I want to give attention to: Family, church [serving, studying and teaching], work and friends.  My busyness is limited to these areas.

This is not to say that I go through life free from all anxiety and without the stress of approaching deadlines. Neither does it mean that I spend my days surfing the web and chatting mindlessly on the phone. I work hard in the times that I’ve set aside to work.

There is a cost to busyness, but there is a more subtle cost to being perceived as busy. When I give off the vibe that I’m busy, I may also give off the vibe that I am unapproachable. People at church may want or need some of my time and attention, but because they perceive me as being so busy, they may be uncomfortable to ask for it.

My kids may want some of my time but believe that dad is too busy for them. This is what disturbs me most, that my busyness, or the perception of busyness, makes me less effective in the areas in which I want to do well. That cost is too high to tolerate. So let me say it again: I’m not that busy. I have all the time I need to accomplish the things the Lord has called me to.  If you need me don’t be afraid to ask.

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