The dictionary defines busyness as:
a : engaged in action : occupiedb : being in use <found the telephone busy>2
: full of activity : bustling <a busy seaport>3
: foolishly or intrusively active : meddling4: full of distracting detail <a busy design>
Interestingly enough, I don't see anywhere in that definition where busyness is a forced activity.
Most "busy" people are the flustered type. They say things like "Sheeeeww! I'm so busy!", "I'm just too busy!" "Go away, can't you see I'm busy!" "When I'm not so busy, I'm going to _____________." It seems to me that people are more a victim of their own busyness than blessed by it. In fact, most "busy" people are controlled by their busyness! That's not a desirable thing because I have found that busyness does not have a reverse gear, only a forward and faster one. People are busy, for the most part because they choose to be or they allow themselves to be. Most of the sighing, complaining and frustration is self-inflicted.
I'm not saying that there aren't busy people in the world. There are. Even I, busyness's greatest naysayer, have times in life when I am "full of activity" (see definition #2). And sometimes, it's not by my own choosing. It just comes along with being married to a man who is also "full of activity" who needs a helping hand. I have seasons of busyness. Problem is, those seasons try to extend themselves, much like winter is trying to extend itself this year. (Currently I am sitting in my living room still a little sore from the sunburn I got from mowing in a tank top on Thursday while my kids are standing here asking if there is a school snow delay today.) But when I find myself slipping into the negativity that busyness tries to inflict me with, I stop and take a good long look at my life and my schedule and make the needed adjustments. That requires that I get real honest about what my priorities are and allow the Holy Spirit to show me where they are lacking. Many times this requires that I run counterculture. But you see, I am not of this world. I am a citizen of another country whose builder and maker is God. Abraham spent his life looking forward to it, but through Christ, I get to live in it! It is country "full" of activity that brings peace, joy, and happiness, not one full of distractions and frustration!
I am not advocating laziness. Laziness is sinful! Even when I'm not busy, I'm not sitting around eating bon-bons and watching soap operas. In fact, I'm almost always involved in at least two things at once. For instance when I do watch t.v., I also knit, or exercise my brain in some way. I may chat with a friend on the computer or frustrate myself by losing as many games of Words with Friends as possible. (For someone who likes to write, I sure do have a limited vocabulary!) LOL!
A few years ago, some ivy league schools released the results of some research they had just completed on school aged children. The research determined that kids that were over scheduled during the school years were not prepared to handle the independence of college life and were failing due to lack of ability to organize and schedule themselves! In America, this is an epidemic. And not just with kids!
The problem with the attitude of busyness is that we often are so busy with activities that we're too busy for people. We have our lives so planned out and scheduled that we cannot just spontaneously take time to be with someone who wants to spend time with us. Granted, even busy people will drop everything in the case of an emergency, but what if someone just needs some human companionship to help with discouragement, frustration, or just needs some fellowship??
Several years ago, the Lord really impressed upon me to prioritize and simplify my life. Number one priority has to be time with God. If this bond servant's day does not flow from time spent first thing with the Master, finding His direction and instruction for the day, then of what value could it be? My daily prayer is that the Lord will "order my day". I then walk in faith that He will and is doing that. So when busyness, with all it's negatives, tries to overtake me, I can just rest in knowing that God is ordering my day and that there is sufficient grace to do whatever He has led me to. If MY to-do list sits unchecked at the end of the day because circumstances (that the Lord allowed or caused) took me a different direction, I don't sweat it and stay up all night being "busy" and losing sleep. Nope! I go to bed knowing that the Lord ordered my day even if I didn't understand it! And I can sleep like a baby.
Priority #2 is people. Sinners and saints alike. I will drop almost anything to help another person, no matter how great or small the need. Jesus asked Peter simply to do one thing-"feed my sheep." He commissioned his disciples to "go......and make disciples." Christ came to save the world, i.e. the people of the world. The actual world will be renovated by fire someday, so to me it seems pretty ridiculous to be busy about fixing it up or making ourselves a "place" in it at the expense of leaving people in their need. In fact, Jesus rebuked people for ignoring the cries of neighbors in need.
I choose to look at my life as "full." It makes a huge difference for me. Just the word full creates an image of blessing and abundance. I hate it when people say that they didn't ask me to do something or go somewhere because they "know how busy I am." I just want to wear a sign all day that says..."I'm not busy!" That doesn't mean that I allow people to fill my life with their drama or dysfunction. But I do allow myself time to be doing things that totally do not benefit me in any way if it will enrich, strengthen or enhance the life of someone else. I guess it just depends on which bank you have treasure stored in.
That's it! God and people. Two priorities. Because those are the only two things, out of all the things that we know, that are eternal. They are the only two things that really count.
"Thou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself."