Editor’s Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Brady Boyd’s new book Addicted to Busy: Recovery for the Rushed Soul (David C Cook, 2014).
Are you rushing through life with a packed schedule that pushes you along? Do you often find yourself stressed and exhausted from trying to fit too much into too little time?
If you look beneath your busy lifestyle, you’ll discover that it may be covering up something you lack spiritually. God intends for you to live a peaceful life, with plenty of time to rest. You can start enjoying that kind of life once you heal from the factors that are driving your busyness.
Here’s how to recover from being too busy:
Acknowledge the unhealthy rhythms in your life and count the cost of them. God has designed you to live rhythmically, but some of the rhythms you’ve chosen for your lifestyle may not be serving you well. Maybe you have a tendency to sign up for more than can reasonably fit into your schedule because you’re driven to feel needed, or perhaps you neglect to make time to spend in prayer with God each day. Whatever your unhealthy rhythms are, note the toll that each one is taking on your life in specific ways, such as leaving you with a sense of anxiety or a lack of purpose, or disconnecting you from important family relationships. Confess to God the different ways that your busyness has caused you to sin – from shortchanging your children the attention they deserve from you, to cutting corners in any of your business practices. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you change every unhealthy time rhythm in your life to a healthy one.
Set goals to bring rest to your body, mind, and spirit. Think and pray about specific ways that you’d like to enjoy life physically, mentally, and spiritually after you’ve recovered from being too busy. What would your life look like if you’re feeling peaceful within yourself and engaged with God and other people?
Tune out distractions and tune into God’s presence with you. Practice eliminating things that distract you from using your time well so you can better focus on God’s constant presence with you. For one 24-hour period, turn off your TV, iPad, smart phone, and every other device that typically distracts you from sensing God speaking to you. Use the time that you would otherwise have spent distracted to pray throughout the day, asking God to help you notice him at work in your life and to give you peace.
Dare to be yourself. Have you been bragging to others about how busy you are in order to make yourself seem important to them? If so, stop wasting time trying to manage other people’s impressions of you. Have you been spending too much time working in an attempt to earn money to buy what you see that others have? If so, stop comparing your life to other people’s lives. Embrace your unique callings from God and ask him to help you be content with who you are and what you have.
Enjoy some “bedhead days.” Receive God’s gift of rest fully on certain days when you’re not scheduled to work and can relax with your family. On these “bedhead days,” take a break from stressful obligations like errands and chores and just pursue restful and fun activities together – from sleeping in and eating leisurely meals, to playing games or taking a long hike outdoors. The more rested you are, the more you’ll be able to focus on pleasing God alone rather than giving into time pressure from other people.
Discover Sabbath shalom. Choose to follow God’s command to observe a weekly Sabbath day, in which you rest and focus on worshiping him. In the process, you’ll invite God to pour peace into every part of your life. When you experience peace with God, within yourself, and with other people, you’ll experience the blessing of “shalom” that will promote your wellbeing spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Thank God for giving you the gift of rest.
Teach your kids how to rest. Stop overscheduling your children’s lives. Free time is a crucial part of their healthy development, teaching them how to reflect on their experiences in light of biblical truths, express their God-given creativity, and discern God’s voice speaking to them. Keep your children’s lives simple, choosing their scheduled activities sparingly rather than signing them for every sport team, music class, or other activity that happens to interest them. Give them room to breathe so they can learn the life lesson that’s more important than any extracurricular activity can teach them: to rest.
Follow the example that Jesus set of living at the right pace. Jesus modeled the kind of life that everyone should aspire to live – including the proper pace. Jesus’ pace of life was rhythmic (he engaged with people and then withdrew to pray in solitude at regular intervals), relational (he spent his time focused primarily on investing in relationships, communicating often with God the Father in heaven and people on Earth), and resolute (Jesus insisted on building times of peace and quiet into his busy schedule to maintain a healthy balance).
Praise God rather than seeking praise for yourself. Check your motivations for the work you do on a regular basis. Are you truly spending your time trying to bring glory to God and express your love for him? Or are you staying busy trying to show other people how important you are and earn their praise? How willing are you to serve God in obscurity, doing good work privately for the sake of pleasing God alone? Rather than trying to promote yourself, trust God to promote you to bigger assignments if and when the right time comes for that.
Delegate tasks to others who can help. Enlist help from other people whenever you can’t reasonably complete tasks on time. Don’t be afraid that doing so will make you replaceable; instead, trust in God’s design for relationships of people working together.
Start living out the dreams that your new schedule helps you reach. Now that you have a healthy margin in your schedule, you can fit in the activities that are necessary to make your God-given dreams come true. Celebrate by starting to live out your dreams!
Adapted from Addicted to Busy: Recovery for the Rushed Soul, copyright 2014 by Brady Boyd. Published by David C Cook, Colorado Springs, Co., www.davidccook.com.
Brady Boyd is the senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Co., and author of Fear No Evil and Sons and Daughters. He is a contributor for ChurchLeaders.com and the Huffington Post. He is married to his college sweetheart, Pam, and has two teenage children, Abram and Callie. Follow Pastor Brady on Twitter @PastorBrady.
Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years, is author of the Christian novel Dream Factory, which is set during Hollywood’s golden age. She produced a site about angels and miracles for About.com. Follow her on Twitter @WhitneyHopler.
Image courtesy: ©Unsplash
Publication date: September 23, 2014