You’re running late to pick the kids up from school because you’ve worked late at the office again. Then, the rush begins. You go straight to soccer practice, frantically run to the house and back because you forgot the cleats, drive everyone home, help the kids with homework, fix supper, shower, get the kids in bed, open your emails and enter a vortex of more work, stare at your phone for five minutes until you crash— and then repeat this process the following day. Does this sound familiar? If so, you might be too busy.
I get it. I’ve been there. But justifying your busy life by saying, “I gotta do what I gotta do,” is actually an excuse to keep going down a path filled with stress, anxiety, and even depression—all in an endless pursuit of being a perfect parent, or a perfect employee, or just plain perfect.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. We want to do our best for everyone who is counting on us to give our best effort. But in reality, being too busy means sacrificing our personal sanity and self-confidence. Being too busy makes us an open target to the negativity of other people. It causes us to crumble when we hear our boss asking us to pick up the slack after already working demanding hours or to get angry with our child when they say, “This is gross!” after you worked hard to make dinner.
Do we often make plans for work because we’re stressing over a promotion? Do we make time for that after-hours meeting because we think it will boost our numbers? How many one-on-one times do we miss out on with our spouse, our significant other, or our kids when we do that? At that point, we don’t honor God with our time. When we start lacking proper priorities, we can get fed up with life. The writer of Ecclesiastes hated life because he experienced that being busy for the wrong reasons was just chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 2:17). He wanted to honor God with his time.
Being busy in and of itself is not a bad thing. People have busy schedules because of their jobs, the number of activities they or their children are involved with, the travel that may come up because of a family member’s unexpected hospital stay, or any number of other reasons. But we hit a wall when our busy schedules draw us away from the Creator of time. We forget that He created our days before any one of them came into existence (Psalm 139:16).
God is pleased when we’re great parents, great people, and great employees, sure, but more than anything, He created us to have a relationship with Him. We like to think that because we’re busy, we are doing the right thing—working for God.
When we’re too busy, we often stray into a thought pattern called globalizing, which is when we use the words “always” or “never” to justify something. For example, “I’m always working overtime, so I don’t get to see my kids’ games,” or “I never have a spare minute because I’m too busy.”
In Psalm 46:10 NLT, God tells us, “Be still and know that I am God!” When we allow ourselves to get too busy, we don’t take the time to slow down and remember the relationship we have with God. God wants us to spend time each day to renew our relationship with Him. He wants to know about our failures and our victories, our strengths and our weaknesses, and our joys and disappointments. If we fail to remember Him daily, we get caught up with the distraction of pleasing other people.
It doesn’t matter precisely when we spend time with God each day, especially considering He tells us to pray without stopping (1 Thessalonians 5:17). He just wants us to take time out of our every-minute-has-something-in-it schedule and talk to Him. He also wants us to remember that He is the One we should be seeking to please. In doing so, our schedules will become God-centered because we have put Him first. God doesn’t want us to just be busy; He wants us to give Him glory with the time we have.
It can burden our minds to think about the day too much, but God has a different plan for our lives—to be glad because today is a day He has made.
This is the day the Lᴏʀᴅ has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 NLT
When we put God first in our schedules and make time for Him, we find that we look forward to that time, like meeting an old friend. If we make our schedule God-centered, we will find rest even in the busyness. Why? Because we know that we can give our worries to God (1 Peter 5:7). And when we put Him first, everything else seems to fall into place (Matthew 6:33).
So, if you’re a morning person, spend time with God in the morning. If that doesn’t work, try it on your lunch break or right before you go to bed. In doing so, you will find what Philippians 4:6-8 calls the peace that surpasses all understanding, which will guard your heart and your mind from the chaos of being worried about anything (like being too busy). The book of James gives us the proper perspective:
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14 NIV
Stop being too busy for what really matters. Stop over-scheduling and overcommitting. Instead, find peace that is found in Christ Jesus alone.