Everywhere I look people are running in every which-way direction. It’s madness.
We wave while pulling out of parking lots.
We text instead of call.
We “catch up” between sprints and kid pickups.
We greet one another with questions that aren’t questions at all. How are you “?”
And when there are a few minutes of potential conversation, the same ol’ depressing opener has become the standard go-to starter, “I’m sooooooo busy.”
Ugh. I’m over it. I’m done with busy.
If it means handing in my badge, so be it. It never felt like an accomplishment anyway. Besides, know what’s even crazier than being crazy busy? It’s being crazy busy AND in crazy competition with everyone else to see who can be the craziest and busiest. I’m exhausted even writing about it.
And the church is no better.
Volunteer for this.
Get involved with that.
For this program, turn right.
For that gathering, turn left.
Get early bird registration for this conference.
And please don’t forget about the upcoming prayer meeting.
This can’t be the look of a thriving life or a thriving faith, can it?
When The Message says, live full lives, full in the fullness of God, and I’m too exhausted (a.k.a full of other things) to even think about what that means, there’s a problem.
Or when Paul challenges, don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking, and I can’t tell the difference between the way I’m living and the way everyone else is, something ain’t lining up.
But no more. I’m out. I’m done with busy.
I’m stepping off the hamster wheel that has me running in meaningless circles, going nowhere fast, and I’m calling out this busyness crap Ecclesiastes-style: it’s all smoke, nothing but smoke.
What’s there to show for a lifetime of work,
a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone?
One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,
but nothing changes—it’s business as usual for old
Oh, I did great things:
designed gardens and parks
and planted a variety of fruit trees in them,
made pools of water
to irrigate the groves of trees.
I bought slaves, male and female,
who had children, giving me even more slaves;
then I acquired large herds and flocks,
larger than any before me in Jerusalem.
I piled up silver and gold,
loot from kings and kingdoms.
I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song,
and—most exquisite of all pleasures—
voluptuous maidens for my bed.
Oh, how I prospered!
Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.
So call me old school, backslidden or a volunteer for social suicide, but I’m checking out of the rat race – in church and life.
To clarify, I’m not checking out of life to go live in a cave like some sweat-pant-wearing hermit never to emerge again (however appealing that sounds to my introverted self). And I have zero desire to live a faith based on and with finger-pointing angst.
By checking out I mean, I’m checking out of pressure, guilt, shame, envy, conformity, comparison, busyness and everything else that has actually stopped me from living a meaningful life and faith. And by checking out of these things it means I can actually check back into purpose, clarity, simplicity and intentionality.
Which means, dear FOMO: hasta la vista.
“Let us no longer glorify abundance without purpose. May this be the undoing of mindless multitasking. Let us cease thinking that busy is a measurement of worth. May we graciously learn to surrender a full life for a fulfilling life.” -Brittin Oakman
Cheers To A New Plan
So from now on, if you need me, here’s where you can find me:
I’ll be “busy” being rather than doing.
I’ll be “busy” listening to how the Holy Spirit is prompting my life.
I’ll be “busy” responding to these promptings.
I’ll be “busy” having intentional conversation that is focused on action rather than empty words.
I’ll be “busy” with focus living how I’m actually here on earth to live.
Less nose-to-phone, more face-to-face.
Less TV, more reading.
Less envy, more gratitude.
Less rushing, more relaxing.
Less scrolling feeds, more answering needs.
Less consuming, more creating.
Less driving, more walking.
Less programs, more free time.
Less worry, more appreciation.
Less surviving, more thriving.
Less yes’s, more no’s.
Less doing church, more being the church.
Less sharing Facebook posts, more sharing the gospel.
I’m trading in pointless busyness for a life of intentionality and meaning. And I’m hanging up “relevant Christianity” (which is a just a trendier way of saying chameleon Christianity) for a faith that’s effective, available, willing, engaged, participatory and countercultural.
Ahh.. feels good to say that. And mean it. Yay me! I’m done with busy! Who’s with me?