07 July 2012


Over the years, I've discovered that the value given to being busy annoys me. It's not that I'm never busy, and I have always more than enough things that I can and ought to do! It's simply that there seems to be an assumption that being busy (or always doing something) is good. As a Christian I question this, partially because of my belief that Sunday is God's good gift to us to stop and rest (i.e., an invitation and command not to be busy) and partially because busy all the time often leaves little time for reflection, prayer and attention to others - all things which Christians are called to do.

In the last week, I have read and heard more about the messiness of busy. Hence these short reflections of mine. I wonder if I have more to say, but I think I'd like to spend more time being productive and not busy before I do that. Instead, I will leave you with the reflections I've seen this week and do some reflecting of my own as I cook dinner.

Taken from the * culture is not optional daily asterisk (27 June)
"From the moment we get up in the morning until we go to bed at night, we race from place to place and from one obligation to the next.... When we submit to this sort of schedule we are consenting to cultural patterns long in the making, patterns that have become so ingrained that we accept them as normal and thus beyond question or critique. But is it normal to think that our pace of life should be one that leads to exhaustion, hypertension, anxiety, boredom, and despair?" Norman Wirzba, Living the Sabbath

Tim Kreider's article, "The 'Busy' Trap" has been linked to many times this past week: not surprising, as it is insightful and funny (notice his description of how really busy do feel). It's also something that I generally agree with - after all, as Christians, we are both to glorify God and enjoy him, which is a call to a healthy balance of activity and rest. The following is a short introduction.
"If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation: “That’s a good problem to have,” or “Better than the opposite.”
Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs  who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence....

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