Too Busy To? Five Signs of Being Too Busy

October 31, 2013

I just ordered the book, Crazy Busy by Edward Hallowell. It has not arrived yet- so no comment on it, but I eagerly await it. Hopefully it will give me some insight on how to slow down a crazy busy life.

Kid’s soccer games and basketball practice; work responsibilities and work-related meetings; church events; school events; work-around-the-house concerns; they can become all consuming. The calendar gets full in a hurry. You know the drill. Some of it is important; some of it is urgent; some of it is neither, but we rush into it all none-the-less.

It is busyness and often we embrace it with pride. It becomes a symbol of our significance. Amazingly, not being busy now equals not mattering. We do it. We post it on Facebook. We tweet about it. We matter! It has become embarrassing to admit that we actually have nothing to do on Saturday night.

But is staying busy really all that?

God, knowing the tendencies of his creation, mandated a Sabbath rest for the Hebrews. Jesus, who indeed was a busy man with a most important agenda, often “withdrew” from the bustle and demand of the crowds to rest and pray. Scripture encourages us to, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Without a doubt, we can become too busy for our own good. Here are five signs that we are there:

  • You cannot remember what is next. In a conversation with my wife recently, I expressed relief that nothing was planned the next night. She quickly corrected me. We did have something planned– kind of a big deal church event which had long been on the calendar. At that moment I had completely forgotten about it. When we have too much going on to remember it all, perhaps that is a sign that we have too much going on.
  • You can no longer just relax. Whether it is from being too overstimulated for too long or you feel guilty for taking a break–if you cannot “be still” that likely is not healthy.
  • It bothers you that other people are not as busy as your are. Having experienced life in other cultures, it amuses me to see Americans adjust to slower-paced countries. Often they conclude that the locals are simply lazy. The locals, on the other hand, look at us and ask, “what’s your hurry?”
  • You must multi-task. Yesterday, I heard about a movie theater chain that plans to open up a section in each of its viewing halls for texters. The two hour viewing time for a typical movie is now way too long to stay off the phone. Ah, the phones. Ever try having a conversation with someone who cannot keep his eyes off the screen? Too busy to talk! Busyness can be an addiction with technology being the drug.
  • You have less time for God. Ultimately, this is the lasting danger of busyness. When we overstuff our calendars, something will get squeezed out. Quite often these are the very things which strengthen our relationship with God. We become too busy to pray; too busy to praise; too busy to interact with God in any meaningful way. Other appointments take precedent over Sunday worship. Devotional and Bible reading opportunities get lost in the shuffle. Instead of seeking “first” Christ’s kingdom, we find ourselves able only to give God a few minutes here or there.

Recall the story of Martha in Luke 10:38-42. The occasion was a visit of Jesus to her house. Rightly, we would think, she became busy with meal preparations. Her sister, Mary, did not join her, choosing rather to pause to listen to Christ’s teaching. This bothered Martha and she complained to Jesus about it. His words to her speak to our busyness now: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the best part; it will not be taken away from her.”

Let’s not get too busy to choose the “best part.”

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I am so much cooler off-line

April 23, 2010

Well, maybe. Some would argue that whatever cool quota I was given has been long used up!

But online? Besides blogging, my most enjoyable online activity is fantasy baseball. Cool- for those involved, but for most of the world, kind of geeky.

I have always had old-fashioned leanings. I much prefer to watch old episodes of The Andy Griffith Show than dancing stars, singing idols and biggest surviving losers. So this whole new cyber world reality we live in now challenges me.  I constantly stay behind the curve.  About the time I catch up with one online component, it is old news.

I can’t text. My fingers are a mess on phone pads. Tweeting frightens me. I can envision having a discussion with another tweeter. “I have 2387 followers” he says. In a tiny, humiliated voice I would reply, “I have three.” Thus having to admit just how uncool online I am.

I am on Facebook. I try  to be cool there with witty one-liners and snappy sayings- which usually come across as lame. (An aside- I believe Facebook will eventually take over the world. Soon we will be ordering pizza there, shopping for clothes, doing our banking, conducting church services, asking someone at our dinner table to pass us the potatoes- everything!)

Sometimes I feel like the loneliest guy in the world. I find myself surrounded by people, but who have no time for a conversation with me because they  are texting, tweeting, or doing one of a thousand possible things on their cool iphones. I am nostalgic for the day when I could actually chat with someone on the phone. Just chat. Talk about whatever in thirty-five characters or more. Not cool any longer though. When my old, uncool cell phone rings I know it is either my wife (thanks for still calling Terri) or someone wanting something. I am not complaining though. It is actual voice interaction. Sometimes I find myself fighting the urge to ask Punjab from India how his day is going when he calls as an outsourced telemarketer.

I have actually had these type of brief exchanges. “Hey, give me a call sometime and let’s talk about it,” I say. “I will text you” comes the reply. I realize that social networking is here to stay, but in it I am the dorky guy who shows up at the dance without a date and without any dance moves.

Even my eight-year old is cooler online than me. Recently she asked her mom to borrow her iphone so she could listen to a song. I didn’t even know you could!

Offline, I am a fairly confident, competent guy. I am Andy Taylor! Online I stay dazed, confused and intimidated. I am a combination of Barney Fife and Gomer Pyle.

Just this week I tried to “network” my blog. I followed the instructions given me on my computer screen and sent out invitations. I did get a single response. A friend replied to tell me that the link I sent out to my blog did not work! LOL! This in a nutshell sums up my online ineptitude and uncoolness. 

If on the world-wide web there will ever be a cyber cemetary, my epitaph will read:

“Here lies Danny. His links hardly ever worked.”