Of course, working hard is praiseworthy. But there is difference between a solid work ethic and endless busyness.
This world is undeniably fast-paced. In our incessantly-connected technology-crazed culture, it is easy to work nonstop, become glued to our devices, and to multitask (even—unwisely—texting or applying makeup while driving).
Competitive Busyness could qualify as an Olympic sport. You ate dinner at the table with your family? Wouldn’t it be nice to have that luxury! You got eight hours of sleep? How quaint! You flossed your teeth? I remember the days when I had time to do that. No, I actually don’t because I’m. So. Busy.
It seems Americans love nothing more than to lament the fact that we don’t have time to do the things we love. Post a picture of yourself on vacation and you’ll get pounced on quicker than a lame gazelle in the Sahara Desert.
We seem to calculate our worth according to the number of meals we eat in the car, how many engagements we can pack into a day, or how few hours of sleep we get. We can fall into the trap of considering bustle to be brag-worthy and relaxation a luxury reserved for children and the elderly.
Of course, working hard is praiseworthy (Colossians 3:23-24). But there is difference between a solid work ethic and constant busyness.
Even Jesus, who had the most important work of any person who ever lived, took time to rest and refresh Himself spiritually (Mark 6:30-32; Matt. 14:22-23).
Consider five good reasons we should avoid the trap of chronic overactivity:
- Living in a state of perpetual motion distracts us from God’s will. Just because our schedules are jam-packed doesn’t mean we’re engaging in the activities God desires for us. And sometimes being over-committed causes us to miss out on awesome opportunities because we are too busy or tired to notice them.
- Spreading ourselves too thin leads us to sacrifice quality. The more responsibilities we accumulate the less time and energy we can give to each activity. We cannot maintain the same level of performance if we continually add to our lives without letting go of anything.
- An overflowing calendar can be a sign of misplaced priorities. Matthew 6:21 reads, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I believe our time is the greatest treasure we possess. And time is a limited resource. Where and on what we choose to spend it speaks to what we most value.
- Overexertion can cause burnout. Humans are not wired to maintain a nonstop lifestyle. We need sleep and time to rejuvenate in order to perform at our highest level. God initiated the Sabbath for that purpose (Gen 2:3). If we make time for rest now, we avoid an inevitable burnout down the road.
- A strenuous agenda can foster pride. Being crazy busy is often viewed as a status symbol. It means we are sought after and indispensable. And that is usually how we want others to see us. Sometimes we don’t properly delegate or say no to activities because we want to be in charge. But Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”
Perhaps the strains of an increasingly hectic lifestyle will force our generation to admit that a slower pace is something to be celebrated and admired, rather than a sign of weakness.
By Carrie Blackaby