Last Monday, I shared some of my own journey through changing my lifestyle and why Andrew and I are removing “busy” from our vocabulary. I love how Blair from Blair Blogs describes it – she wants to live a full life, not a busy one. Isn’t that something we all want?
Over the next several weeks I will be sharing some more practical ways to we can change our approaches to busyness and our schedules as well as some intentional ways to overhaul your day and week. It has been a really slow process for us, a process of breaking our own thought patterns and systems of approaching our days. We have had to train ourselves to not instinctively respond “yes” when someone asks us to do something, changing our muscle memory to something entirely different than we’ve known most our adult lives.
So often we can get so ingrained in our society and acclimated to the expectations around us it is hard to see that something is actually wrong. We can almost end up having a slight form of Stockholm Syndrome, defending the various systems and world that has made us sick. And yet more and more research continues to be released that rejects the ideas of busyness, multi-tasking, and extreme work. Did you know that multi-tasking actually doesn’t work? We think we can make lunch, read a book, catch up on the news, and have a phone call at the same time…but we can’t. Our brains actually suffer from intense times of trying to do too many things. Several countries have begun decreasing the work day to six hours as a response to research done that proves those who work fewer hours in a day are happier, less stressed, and actually end up being more productive at work.
SYMPTOMS TO CONSIDER
- Lack of sleep (both in bed fewer hours a night but also unable to sleep deeply each night)
- Family life suffers
- Unable to spend intentional time with friends
- Increased blood pressure and other physical health concerns
- Quick to say yes to everything, thus saying no to other amazing opportunities including those who matter most
- Decreases ability to focus for an extended period of time
- Lack of creativity, fun, and refueling time
These are just a handful of symptoms and, friends, I have experienced all of them. I used to end just about every semester of college dragging myself to the finish line, burnt out, exhausted, and sick. I would then spend all of my break sleeping, trying to get caught up, and then begin a new semester and start the cycle over again.
It is no way to live.
Can we say no to this style of life? Can we say no more to the hustle, to the racing, to the overcommitment and constant connectivity? Can we release the idol of busyness, refuse to worship at the throne of the to do list?
Now, don’t get me wrong – I love productivity. I love doing deep and good work and feeling a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. But I refuse to play the busy game. I refuse to let the latest productivity hack be a way to enable me to just cram more stuff into my day.
Did you know Americans work longer hours, take fewer vacations, and retire at a later age than a majority of the world? And with the constant increases in technology and connectivity, working around the clock will only continue to be come easier and easier.
Do I sound like a broken record yet?
DIAGNOSING THE PROBLEM
But those are all symptoms. And just fixing the symptoms does not always get to the root cause of an issue. After all, if you have an ear infection and only take Advil to ease the pain, you aren’t really solving the infection right?
For myself, the diagnosis was found in redefining my identity. The excess, superfluous work, stress – those were all the symptoms of a heart issue. I had tied my identity to my job description, my self-worth to my accomplishments, and my personhood to my progres. But those things are meaningless, they are chasing the wind.
Isn’t this the essence of the gospel: God, the eternal, infinite God, is so close to you that he loves you, and in his love accepts you just as you are?
Oh, Mr. Moltmann, thank you for the kick in the gut – isn’t this the real truth? That we are fearfully and wonderfully made daughters & sons of God and nothing we do or don’t do could ever change how much God loves us? Amen, amen. Oh how I wish I remembered that more often.
SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
- What does it mean to not introduce ourselves by what we do?
- Where does your identity lay? Is it in what you do or in who God says you are?
- What is behind your own schedule, priorities, and the way you structure your days?
- Are you living a life you find contentment, joy, and rest with? If not, what is one thing you wish you could change?
If you’re tired of this pace of life, unable to keep up with the domains and clutter, I hope you’ll join me back here over the next couple of Mondays as we explore what it looks like to cut out the noise, limit our to do lists, redefine our identity, and find more rest and breathing room in our daily lives.
For more resources, make sure and check out my Finding Rest page. Also, follow along this Pinterest board if you want some inspiration of things to cook for tonight’s football game – the New York Giants at the Minnesota Vikings!
// What is one thing you can say no to this week to gain some margin?