“How are you doing?”
“Busy, man, really busy.”
“Yeah me too. Things are CRAZY right now!”
More and more people are realizing that being “busy” has become a badge of honor in our world today. It solidifies in our own perspective that we are doing something of value, that we matter, that what we are doing is essential and that we would be missed if we were gone.
However, a recent article in The New York Times questioned the use of this term “busy” and pushed back on its use, calling it a “trap”. That article went to on to be most forwarded article in the New York Times that week, along with garnering over 1,000 comments online and thousands of retweets on Twitter and shares on Facebook. Rachel Dodes at the Wall Street Journal entered into the busy kerfuffle by questioning whether busyness is avoidable and what long-term solutions look like.
This conversation resonated deep within me. Recently I’ve felt like life was kicking my butt. Even though I wrote recently about the importance of saying no, on multiple occasions, I’ve felt like I was sucking for air like I had just sprinted the last mile on a long run. I was reminded of a quote that I first heard from author and pastor Craig Groeschel (who was quoting author and pastor Bill Hybels) when he said, “the way I was doing the work of God working against God’s work in me.”
If you find yourself regularly answering the question, “How are you doing?”, with the answer, “I’m busy”, what should you do? How could you make a change?
I believe asking these three questions could begin a path to a different future. They are 3 questions I am asking myself right now, to get a handle on all of the transitions I am navigating.
1) Is this a season? Sometimes, life kicks our butt because of the season we are in. And while we may feel overwhelmed, when the season is over or the project is completed or the event happens, things calm back down. If you’re overwhelmed by the season you’re in, you may need to simply ride out the next few weeks with the confidence that this feeling will pass.
2) Is this my doing? While a seasonal overwhelming may be outside of our control, we have the ability to also build an existence where we’re the cause of our own “air-gasping”. If you can identify places where you’ve said “Yes” to too much or where you’re making things worse by not honoring boundaries or procrastinating, there is nothing that a seasonal change will do to fix the spot you’re caught in.
3) Is there anything I can change? Taking responsibility for the parts you can change builds a sense of empowerment when you’re feeling overwhelmed or even defeated. Even if there are things going on that are out of your control (the season) or of other’s doing (demands at work or challenges at home), rejecting passivity and accepting responsibility is a key part to regaining the upper hand on your life. Find those places you can change and courageously move towards a more healthy and sustainable life.
If you have been or are in this season, I would love to hear what you have learned and discovered from your experience.