18 December 2013

I'm Too Busy (A Lie)

Don't fall into the trap. You're not too busy.

Even as I type this, I am nodding at you--who are probably shaking your head--because I know exactly what objections are springing up. Yes, you have a full agenda. Yes, you have people depending on you. Yes, you have deadlines and meetings and emails and chores. Oh the chores!

And yes, you are busy. I never said you aren't busy.

"Busy" defines the end of the school semester.

But my challenge to myself and to you is this: Do not make it an excuse. Do not say "I didn't do it because I'm too busy." I'll tell you why...with an example.

My jaw first clenched at this cliche a few years back when sitting in Bible study. It was a Beth Moore study (awesomeness), which requires extensive homework every day. One of the ladies casually remarked, "I just couldn't do the homework! I'm too busy!"

And to my shock, others chimed in, clinging to her admission as likeminded reasoning. "Oh yes, me too." "I don't know how you others do it." "Wow, you did all five days of homework? I commend you! I'm just too busy!"

I wanted to scream. What does that statement actually mean?

"I'm too busy" means "I choose not to." 

If you're "too busy" to do your Bible study homework, you prioritized it below your other choices. It's that simple. And if those other priorities were necessary, then by all means, make those choices--but do not cover it up with the busyness excuse. Not only is it deferring your part in the decision-making, it also hints at pride--elevating yourself above whatever your time does not allow.

What a gift it is to make choices. If I make a foolish choice and squander time, it's prideful and untrue to say I was too busy to get done what I'd hoped. And if I choose other important things to do, it's not shameful to admit them and accept what was left unaccomplished. Either way, it's wrong to blame time when the choice was truly mine all along.

I wrote this entire post because I was tempted to say I was busy last week, explaining why this blog was silent for five days. The truth is, however, that I chose to keep my computer off and prioritize other things, and as I look back at what my week included, I can say that those investments were worthy of my time and should not have been pushed aside so I could keep my blog updated. I wasn't too busy to blog, but I chose other priorities. Now, blogging has obviously resurfaced, proving that it is (and you are) important to me.

Responsibilities can pile on. This happens whether you are abroad or in your home country, whether you are at home or at work, whether you are married or not. When another opportunity comes up and you're tempted to say, "No, I'm too busy"--stop. Maybe ask yourself, "Should this be a priority?" and "Can I replace something I'm doing with this activity?" And if the answers are no, I challenge you (and myself) to say this instead of crediting busyness: "No, I'm choosing not to."

Isn't it better to recognize our priorities? Then we don't lie to ourselves.

And interruptions happen. This can be as ordinary as a sick child or as grand as a cancelled flight. Whatever unexpectedly causes us to leave things undone is irrelevant. What matters is how we prioritize what does get done. What do we choose?

Do not choose the hurried spirit of busyness.
Do not choose excuses.
Do not choose idleness.
Do not choose productivity over presence.

Instead--
Choose stillness before God.
Choose tenderness with your family.
Choose needs.
Choose joy and patience and generosity.

And let's choose to own up to our choices.



4 comments:

  1. Thank you, Malia. I needed to hear this!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! I have a brand new outlook on this subject. Thamks for the uplifting post.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Comments awaiting moderation may not appear for several hours or--if the kids and I fall asleep at the same time--at least a day. Thank you for your patience and please do not feel deterred; your feedback and insight are most welcomed!