I ordered and read Kevin DeYoung’s new book Crazy Busy as soon as it became available. My initial skepticism faded when I found the book to be very much on target, pinpointing the causes and impact of busy lifestyles. The author connects with clear writing, captivating stories, personal experiences, and evidence that he has read widely in the works of other experts on busyness.
Here are a few of the busyness-producing forces that DeYoung identifies.
- Inner attitudes, most of which reflect pride. We want to be liked, accepted or affirmed so we say “yes” to requests when we should say “no.” We push ourselves in order to prove ourselves. We talk about our busyness with the prestige-building subtle message that overly busy people must be important and needed.
- The pressure of possibilities. We encounter opportunities that we don’t want to miss or needs that we feel guilty bypassing. So we take on too much and try to do more than is possible without considering what God wants us to do. Even Jesus didn’t try to meet everybody’s needs.
- Lack of priorities and boundaries. We can’t control busyness unless we have clear priorities and a determination to stick with them. Well-intentioned church leaders, mentors, parents and even close friends are among those who pull us off mission and convince us to do more.
- Kindergarchy – being ruled by our kids. Of course children have time and energy demanding needs, but parents live under the myth that every opportunity needs to be provided for their kids to be successful and well-rounded. So parents rush their kids from event to event, wear themselves out and teach their children to be crazy busy in turn.
- Screen strangulation. The book argues that most of us are controlled by our screens so we spend hours checking messages, surfing the web, or watching mindless television. Then we wonder why everything else in life squeezes our schedules. DeYoung boldly identifies this as time-consuming addiction.
- Lack of rest. We take pride in running all the time and seem to believe that sleep and time off do not matter. But even God rested.
Building on the story of Mary and Martha, the book calls readers to take time every day to get alone with God and reset our priorities. What is your reaction? Please comment.