Busyness. In our culture it seems to be a mark of success. Busyness gives us a measure of importance. A stroke of prestige. It establishes our indespensability. Busyness also gives an excuse for relational distance and lack of emotional involvement with the people in our sphere.
- How we communicate busyness and our motivations of how and why we communicate in such a way.
- How we operate in busyness and our motivations of how and why we operate in in such a way.
How often have you had this conversation?
“How are you?” —- “Busy.”
Often we give this pat, one-word-answer to keep the conversation safe. We keep others at arms length using the BUSY CARD instead of sharing part of our lives, which would allow others in, rather than keeping them a safe distance away.
Instead when we are asked the question,”How are you?”, we could give an answer that is a sharing of ourselves and what is making our lives busy, allowing the asker to learn something about you other than you are busy.
“I went to the new gym downtown and signed up for 3 times a week kick-boxing classes.”
“I found a new food truck last week that makes the best tacos! I’m obsessed with it.”
“My kids are both playing baseball this year. It is hilarious the disparity between tee-ball and kid pitch ball.”
These types of answers invite the question-asker to return with a share of their own lives allowing you to learn more about this person and fostering a connection.
“Just now packing for 3 people for our trip in 6 hours. My life is so BUSY!”
“Grocery Shop. Check. Work. Check. Dinner Meeting. Check. Play with my kids. Check. Fall into couch and zzzzzzz. I am so BUSY!”
“No time to chat, friends. On the go go go. A BUSY life is the happy life.”
“Ahhhhh the holidays are right around the corner. Time to get BUSY shopping, baking, planning and getting ready to party.”
What exactly is the point of these proclamations? What is it we are trying to communicate? Is it for purposes of asking for help? Or is it for purposes of self-promotion? Or could it be that we use busyness as an excuse to not connect? Maybe we don’t want to connect, either with a particular person, group or cause. It’s uncomfortable sometimes to connect with others around us. It can make us vulnerable to judgement. It makes us think of someone else other than ourselves.
When we use busyness to enhance our comfort this way we really are being prideful. God has not called us to comfort, but has called us to connect. We must allow his Spirit to work through us to connect with others in our influence. Our self-proclaimed busyness gets in the way of connectedness.
We also use busyness to to validate our choices. To solidify our identity to whom we are speaking. We’re busy. We’re more important than the person with whom we are speaking. We elevate ourselves with the answer, “Busy.”
In our fast paced, produce-to-consume culture we have elevated the ability of multi-tasking to an unhealthy idol. We walk around with our heads in our smartphones answering emails, creating reports, studying information, and answering texts, while driving, or at our kid’s ball games, during dinner with our families, and even in the evening while “relaxing.” We lament that we are too busy to focus on one task at a time, but we secretly exalt that we are important and efficient enough to multi-task.
Lazyness. It’s the fear many have that they will be judged as lazy. It’s perhaps the most used argument heard between stay-at-home-moms and work-outside-of-the-home-moms. Laziness is the heart of the misconception that SAHM’s are lazy in their work ethic and sit home watching NetFlix all day, as well as the false presumption that WOTHM’s are lazy in their parenting and care of their family. Both which are grossly false and demeaning to not just Mom’s, but women as a whole.
We fear that if labeled as lazy that we won’t be included in our sphere. We will lose out on opportunities that are only given to those whom “deserve it.” Again, it’s a pandering for validation of our choices and our identity. This cult of busyness has changed how we leisure as well. Our society has adopted a “Work hard-Play hard” philosophy that has reshaped our definition of reward. The workaholic attitude is rewarded with an excess of self-gratification of luxury material possessions or activity that mostly creates an endless diversion from quiet, rest, and tranquility.
This is true for our children as well. Parents are constantly trying to fill children’s time with actions, achievement, and entertainment. Our kids are constantly rewarded with material things that give sensory stimulation and they are not able to just be, and enjoy carefree and programless time. There is no opportunity to connect. We fill our time with anything but quiet to just be…so there is both no connection with God nor our families…let alone anyone else in our sphere. So, let’s call this busyness what it really is…Pride.
These motivations of comfort and elevation are both egocentric provocations that place more importance upon self preservation than our calling of connection and communication. They are motives of self love, not God’s love. But does that mean all busyness is prideful? No.
There are seasons in our lives that will be very busy. When a spouse decides to go back to school. Allowing your kids to play a travel sport for the summer. A home renovation project. These are seasons that have a beginning and an end. They require extra time and effort. They will probably cause some extra stress and agitation, but are for a time…not forever. There are seasons in our lives that will be quiet, tranquil and maybe even a bit boring, too. We should capitalize on connecting and communication during those times. The problem is when we allow busy seasons to be the norm and the excuse for not connecting either for our comfort or for our elevation.
We have to ask ourselves some important questions when we find ourselves in busyness for an extended period of time. What is my motivation for this busyness? Is there something else I could be doing with my time that is more important? Is this allowing me to connect with my sphere or unhealthily inhibiting connection? We also should ask ourselves what we are trying to communicate to others when we say we are busy.
Escaping this cult of busyness we have created can be difficult, but it is essential to our connecting with those in our sphere.