“Our cultural impatience runs so rampant that we dress it up in terms like “productivity” and “efficiency.” But what’s really happening is we are conditioning ourselves to get what we want now, all the time. Such a mindset robs us of the lessons waiting can teach us, causing us to miss out on the slow but important stuff of life.” Jeff Goins
“We can do the work of God at a pace that destroys the work of God in us.” Mark Batterson
It happens to the best of us. And last week it happened to me. I typically pride myself on not being busy. And I think I've done a pretty good job over the last several years of ditching obligations that aren't needed and making my life a little slower and more intentional. I've shared it here, my efforts to be intentional and pursue slow. Most days this is easy.
But then there are other days, when I run out of room on my daily calendar to jot down all that needs to be done. Last week I had a string of those days, and while I try really hard to balance busy days with down days, I failed in a grand way last week. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't fun.
The irony of it was that I just received the book Breaking Busy. I picked it up, not because I thought I needed help in this area. I picked it up because I was hoping it would provide continued encouragement to stay off the hamster wheel.
We so easily take up obligations and jobs and duties that we just don't need to take on. I get it that sometimes life throws us things that just have to be done, like teacher meetings or work projects that stretch on and on. And there's even the fun things like coffee dates with friends. But all together they add up to busy, busy, busy.
I know the truth that we can be so busy saying yes to all the things, that we end up having to say no to the most important things.
So busy we don't have extra time to chat with a friend we run into at the grocery store. So busy we can't rest when are bodies are screaming for a nap. So busy that we fail to connect with loved ones.
I'm grateful that last week wasn't my normal. But I'm also grateful that last week was a painful reminder that I have only so much capacity for busy. Just like my phone that regularly bugs me when the memory is nearly full, or needs to be charged; my body will tell me when I'm full. For me, out of control emotions and an uncomfortable sensation in my ears signals me that I'm close to breakdown. (I have Meniere’s disease and stress and busy tend to bring out attacks of symptoms.) Your signals might be different. It's important to listen to them though, or we risk burn out.
By Saturday I knew that I was beyond myself. It showed up in the way I talked to my husband and in the way I responded to my kids. So today, I'm taking a quiet day to quit busy and embrace quiet. Maybe you need permission to do the same? Let me encourage you in this my friends, take time to rest and recharge. You need it. And the people around you need you to take this time. It's just going to make you a better you. And a better you is more effective, kinder, more gracious. I like that version of me best.