“How have you been?” “Busy.”
This is my go to response…When I’m asked that one question, I usually wrack my brain, knowing I’ve done a lot, been left feeling full, even frazzled, but for the life of me I can’t put my finger on something specific or “new” that would be of interest. So, by uttering “busy,” I’ve been excused from having to go into details.
Being busy IS a blessing when you think about what it means: a great job that keeps you on your toes. A thriving home business. A full family with noisy kids. A roof over your head. Dishes full of food. Clothes for you and your family. Community involvement. Great friends and social relationships.
Just think about what makes you busy and find the WHY it is a blessing. For me, I’m busy because of my family (specifically my kids) and because I’m chasing my passions. Like writing this blog, educating others on health and wellness, dancing and singing…There is nothing wrong with any of these endeavors, so why am I often struggling? Why can I be short-tempered even when my kids are having a good day and my husband has been filling in the gaps? Why am I always drowning in laundry and dishes? Why is my own personal and spiritual development always floundering?
Because, as we all know, there are dangers to being busy.
I’ll never forget a conversation I had with my Dad in high school. I was on fire: for Christ, for good grades, for extra curricular activities like dance and choir, for building and maintaining friendships, for being involved in my community and especially at my church… You name it and I was all in! All you had to do was ask.
I don’t remember how the topic came up but my Dad reminded me that our Enemy loves when we’re busy. “You can be busy doing good things for God’s Kingdom, and it can still be a stumbling block. It can still be a part of the devil’s plan.” Why? Because my own connection with God was suffering greatly. I was so busy DOING FOR God, I didn’t have time to BE WITH God.
As I grew into adulthood, I had to put my people-pleasing ways behind me and start exercising my “no.” I hated saying “no” to volunteering at church, to reconnecting with friends, to being obsessive compulsive over my school work. But I had to, so that I could say “yes” to me.
What does all this look like in my life today? As a mom, I feel like I will never, not be busy. It’s part of my job description during this season of my life. For some of you, maybe you know your job keeps you busy and it’s obviously something you can’t say “no” to. The only way to keep from falling into the traps and snares of busyness is to PRIORITIZE.
- Start by making a list. Include EVERYTHING you already get done in a day and EVERYTHING you’d like to get done if there were no time constraints. Mine would look something like this: devotional with coffee, breakfast, personal growth book, laundry, dishes, de-clutter counter tops, clean up toys, vacuum and mop floors, reorganize office area, play with kids outside, have craft time inside, lunch, spend one on one time with each child, plan and prepare for the weekend, plan out meals for the week, start cooking, work my home-based health and wellness business, exercise for 15-30 min, write and plan out blogs, have dinner hot and ready on the table when my husband gets home, reconnect with my husband, relax with a little bit of TV or a good book…
- Make categories for every task on your list. Again, mine would look like this: kids, husband, God, me, chores, work, food, projects
- Prioritize the items in those categories so you can decide what is a non-negotiable task to be done daily, and what is something that can wait and be done maybe once a week or even every other week
Where does this leave us? Hopefully we will feel a little more well-rounded and a little less unorganized. Hopefully we will start making time for ourselves so that we stop trying to serve our friends and families from an empty cup. Maybe it’ll help us recognize when we have room to say “yes” and when it is best for us to say “no.” Maybe we will stop wasting our precious time on frivolous activities which leaves us feeling like a failure because we accomplished “nothing” for the day. Maybe we can start counting the blessings that make us busy, but acknowledge the “busy-work” that can wait for another day, time, or season.
One last piece of advice? Remember to stop and breathe. Even after you’ve made a list and you get started on your busy day, make sure your list includes a pause, a time for reflection or meditation. A moment to remember our kids are only little once, or that our bodies only function best when we remember our nutrition and water. A pause to acknowledge He is God and we are not.
Lord, bless this busyness ~ Jenn
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