The third danger is that busyness can cover up the rot in our souls. The hectic pace of life can make us physically and spiritually sick. We get that. What we may not recognize is that our crazy schedules are often signals that a sickness has already set it.

Since 2002 I’ve gotten together each fall with my friends from seminary. Nine of us met every week while we are at Gordon-Conwell, and when we graduated we made a commitment to see each other once a year. We eat a lot, laugh a lot, and watch a lot of football. We also talk about our joys and struggles from the past twelve months. Over the years we’ve noticed familiar themes for each of us. We all have our besetting sins and predictable issues. Mine has been busyness. When it comes time for me to share everyone expects to hear how I have too much to do and don’t know what to cut out of my life.

While it may sound unhealthy for grown men to wrestle with the same issues year after year, the healthy sign is that we’ve begun to take more responsibility for our struggles. We realize that if the same issues get the same guys every year, then maybe the real issue is inside each of us. What does it say about me that I’m frequently overwhelmed? What do I need to learn about myself? What promises am I not believing? What divine commands am I ignoring that I should obey? What self-imposed commands am I obeying that I should ignore? What’s going on in my soul that this comes out as my chief challenge every year?

The presence of extreme busyness in our lives may point to deeper problems—a pervasive people pleasing, a restless ambition, a malaise of meaninglessness. “Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness,” writes Tim Kreider in his widely read article for The New York Times. “Obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.” The greatest danger with busyness is that there may be greater dangers you never have time to consider.

Busyness does not mean you are a faithful or fruitful Christian. It only means you are busy, just like everyone else. And like everyone else, your joy, your heart, and your soul are in danger. We need the word of God to set us free. We need biblical wisdom to set us straight. What we need is the Great Physician to heal our overscheduled souls.

If only we could make time for an appointment.

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Comments:


9 thoughts on “Three Dangers of Being Crazy Busy (3 of 3)”

  1. Andy Chance says:

    Would you show how Colossians 3:23-24 might apply or connect to busyness?

  2. What’s scary about this is that’s when the surprising sin happens. When you’re too busy to deal with this or that spiritual issue, you might not always be failing in it–there might be no presenting symptoms. Then, when opportunity arises, you fall into it.

    Great post.

  3. Thank you for this series. I’ve been sending it to a few people in my church as it came into my inbox, and we’ve had some great discussions in the last few days. The comment “what is going on in my soul that this comes out as my chief challenge every year?” struck me in the heart. A great word.

  4. Lois W says:

    All of this is so good, so honest, so needed, and yet….it seems to me that a decision to be less busy does not go deep enough. Isn’t our greatest need to carve out time to meet the Lord in His Word at the beginning of each day? (See George Mueller on this–he who fed 10,000 orphans.) If we prayerfully lay before him all the pressures, obligations, and longings (for me there is no longing like getting down in writing something brewing in my head) He will set our priorities. Thus armed for the battle, I am more likely to remember that the frustrations and interruptions have all been ordained by Him. I continue to believe that it is possible to be peaceful and still inside while weathering the slings and arrows, the phone calls and unexpected demands and situations, even though I have only tasted it. I want to be a peace-filled ship sailing through turbulent seas.

  5. Sue says:

    I have appreciated the series of posts. Keep thinking on this issue. I am in the midddle of a long- term friendship going down a bad path and busyness has played a role in it

  6. Don Hartness says:

    On a practical note for fellow writers and bloggers, eliminating busyness sometimes involves discerning where we need to apply our efforts. Too often, we get locked into discussions and arguments (especially in the comments section) believing that it is up to us as disciples to help a certain individual “see the light”. Note, however, that Jesus often said something and then simply let it be. He didn’t argue his point, attempt to convince the other person he was right, or chase after others while saying “don’t you realize that if you don’t believe in me, you’ll die?!” He simply stated what he needed to say, and left it alone.

    Sometimes, we need to let the Spirit do the work, rather than gratifying our own need for self-vindication.

  7. Lois W says:

    Discerning comment, Don! My mother would quote, “A man convinced against his will/Is of the same opinion still.”

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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