Life can become too busy without us seeing it coming.
We feel so obligated. We must accomplish. We must accomplish more. We want stuff. We want more. We want bigger and better. Sometimes, this life of being too busy happens because we want to get out of whatever hole we feel we are in. How to stop being so busy can be a real challenge. Seasons of Devotion is a call to stop being so busy, take definite steps to find true rest in the Lord, and to enjoy life. Let’s talk about how to stop being so busy with some first steps toward that goal.
Let’s give “being too busy” a definition.
The word that I think best describes being too busy is “hectic”. It seems to sound an alarm that something is wrong. And if this sense of “something’s wrong” is stirring in your heart, it very well may be that being too busy is driven by an unhealthy hidden felt need. That sense of “something’s wrong” may have grown to a great sense of overwhelm with the whole picture of your life.
But there has to be a reason why our life gets so hectic.
Being too busy happens for lots of reasons. Before talking about how to stop being so busy, let’s take an honest look at some reasons why we find ourselves living a hectic life, some of which you may defend as legitimate.
Possibility 1: “Hectic” because of over-working is evidence that there is a lack of trusting God to provide.
There’s a difference between working hard and “hectic”. Hard work is good according to Scripture, God’s words to us. It’s healthy for our sense of well-being and self-worth. We are to provide for our family as God provides the work. Ultimately, the provision is from God. So, working hard is taking responsibility before God as part of our calling to serve him with our whole being.
Ecc. 9:10 NLT Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.
Col. 3:23 NLT Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
If you read these verses in context, it’s a warning against being lazy or not doing your work as well as you are able. It’s not an encouragement to work to the point of being hectic.
If you find that work has taken over too much of your life, try evaluating why. It may have a root cause of discontent. It’s easy to want more than what God provides, especially in a society where the focus is on living in luxury compared to the rest of the world. It’s easy to want God to provide more than what He is actually giving you, so you work hectically to get more.
Discontent. That seems to be a harsh word but it definitely something to consider. Here’s what the Bible says about being discontent:
I Timothy 6:8-10 6. Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. (NLT)
It may be hard to think that we could be craving money. But, it is something to pray about and ask God to search our hearts.
Possibility 2: Hectic happens because of a lack of organization.
Do you feel that you work hard but your wheels are just spinning? Are you running in circles, covering the same territory over and over? One person’s personality leans toward being organized while another person’s personality leans toward “going with the flow”. Both ways of life are legitimate but one extreme or the other is not! In order to evaluate a good balance between these two extremes, start a daily log of your activities so that you can get an overview of what is taking up your time, giving you a belief that there is not enough time given to you. If you are disorganized, try small steps to carve out specific blocks of time to concentrate on the task at hand. If you are super-organized, try carving out time for play or relaxation.
Possibility 3: Hectic provides the drama that provides unhealthy energy.
Some people thrive on drama. Everything must be more. Worse. Or Better. Or extreme. The extra fuel has become an addiction that is hard to overcome. This is actually another form of discontent, essentially saying that “normal” or “peaceful” is not enough. Our fuel is actually to be the fruits of the Spirit which can only come from God. Peace is one of the fruits of evidence of God’s work and peace does not include hectic!
Galations 5:22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (NLT)
In future posts, I’ll talk about those reasons why being so busy happens, addressing the “whys” but I want to offer a first step “out” first.
Step 1: Admit that your life is too busy
The first step toward getting out of the treadmill of being too busy is to admit that being so busy is not what you really want. Evaluate your life and schedule honestly. Give yourself grace.
Step 2: The second step is to truly want out of being so busy.
The second step is a surrender to God’s will about your hectic life. This is not about taking more charge and adding more self-discipline. This is about allowing God to change your heart. Your part will probably be to apply self-discipline when you are tempted to do nothing about it or when you want to return to old ways.
The third step is to begin doing something about it!
All three of these steps need a lot of prayer and a willingness to be obedient to whatever truth the Lord shows you. I can be too busy too. I have to take purposeful steps out of my busy life on a routine basis. Even though I know the benefits of a balanced life, I return to being too busy. So, where does a person begin, if they want out of the hectic lifestyle?
Does any of this sound like you? Why not take the first step toward change? I have a free, editable Daily Tracker so that you can assess how busy you really are. It’s the first of several FREE downloadable worksheets, just for you. It’s in my library! It’s FREE! Subscribe and you will get the password in your very first email from me.
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The best cure for a hectic life is to have a quiet place of refuge.
-and then actually go there on a regular basis. A place where the “hectic” can be put aside while you pray and listen. Yes, listen. And, if you have to listen, your place of refuge must be quiet and have as little distractions as possible.
One reason I encourage you to have a garden is that it can be your place of quiet refuge. The garden is work, but the change of pace can help you slow down long enough to hear God. God reveals principles as you observe seeds becoming plants and plants providing food. That observation can help you know that you are not the one in control of your provision, therefore helping you to know that a hectic lifestyle is not necessary. You have your part, but God is the one who causes His plans to happen.
The garden is a place to bare your heart to the Lord, ask questions, seek guidance, and pray for others. The sense of God’s presence in the garden grows as the seasons become years and the years become a life of seeking God in your garden refuge.
Try creating an alternate place of refuge.
If you don’t have space for a garden or simply don’t like gardening, consider creating another place of refuge where you actually sit, away from electronics. If you are not an “outdoors” person, you can create a quiet zone in your home, even if it is just one chair in a corner of a busy room. That room is most likely quiet at least part of the day. If not, carve out a daily time-frame when it must be quiet.
Create a space where friends and family can join you in your place of refuge.
A place like a porch can become a shared refuge where people actually sit and talk to each other without having the distraction of a screen to watch. Do you have a “screen” in your outdoor living area? Make an invitation for friends and family to your refuge when there’s not a game to watch or invite them to come before or stay later without the screen being on. Let’s be honest. Deep down, people want to connect, heart to heart.
Begin your new life of devotion by creating a refuge-a real place for the real time. Then, make it an important part of your life to truly spend time there. I’ll share in future posts more about the benefits and offer some inexpensive ideas on how to create your place of refuge. Perhaps you are already coming up with some ideas that will become your place of refuge.
What are your first steps toward creating that place of refuge where you live?
The next article that you will be interested in is: How to Tell if You Are Too Busy.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – Mat 6:33 CSB