I know what you thought when you read, “The Modern Day “B” Word,” but it’s not what you may think.
The modern day “b” word has everything to do with most people’s status of today… active, unavailable, engrossed, hustling, and/or occupied.
Simply put , I’m talking about BUSY.
“I had to __________. My plate is so full. Sorry, I couldn’t…. I was busy. There is so much to do today! I have a lot going on.”
If you’re anything like me, busy can be a normal way of functioning.
Always doing something, checking something, going somewhere, picking up this, stopping by to do that – the list goes on.
Rarely finding real rest.
All I have been seeing lately is people saying they are busy. Busy with this, busy with that. Caught up in this, caught up in that. Too busy.
Busy, busy, busy, busy.
I’m starting to think that people (myself included) consider busyness is a spiritual gift. Wrong. It is not. And when you look at the definition of the word, it agrees –
having a great deal to do, occupied, full of activity, overdone, fussy…
While the first couple of meanings of busy sound aye okay and totally doable, by the end it begins to turn into something not so pleasant. It actually alludes to a person being buried, slaved, and swamped.
So, what has us all so busy? What is going on in life where we aren’t enjoying what’s on the opposite end of that spectrum?
I’m sure there are countless reasons, but I want to share four reasons for today’s “b” word – BUSY.
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Wanting to Feel Needed (Accepted, and Valued)
I believe at the core of most people’s busyness, especially for women, is wanting to feel needed, accepted, and valued.
Of course not many of us would come out and openly admit to that, but you can tell by a person’s actions.
The reality is, we are always needed. If you are a wife, your husband needs you to be his helpmate. If you are a mom, your children need your tender love and care.
If you work, your boss, coworkers, and/or customers need you.
I will be the first to admit that it is wanting to be accepted and valued that sometimes fuel my tank – and that’s not really a good thing.
If I am not mindful about keeping my life in proper alignment, I will begin to seek the approval of others. Of course there is nothing wrong with receiving praise and thanks, but not at the expense of it being the deciding factor of one’s behavior.
The tough questions then become:
- Do you go out of your way to seek acceptance?
- What defines value for you?
- In what ways are you needed and how do you perceive it?
- Are you okay with never being told that you are needed, accepted, and/or valued?
A Scripture that comes to mind is Galatians 6:9 –
Regardless if you ever hear, “Job well done. You are appreciated.” or anything alike – always remember that you will reap, if you do not give up.
The Need for Control
This is another biggie. Do you find yourself saying , “I got this. I’ll do it. It’s better if I take over. It’ll be better if I…”
At the core of this apple is lack of trust, my friend. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s what it is.
The need for control is one sure fire way to keep yourself busy, and I’ll even go one step further and attach it to anxiety.
How can it be linked to anxiety, you ask?
Have you ever said (or heard someone say), “It gives me anxiety to not know what’s going on.” or “I’m not at ease unless I know it’s being done right [my way].” That’s how.
I recently had the opportunity to put this “trust and anti-anxiety skill” to the test. This year’s planning for our biggest annual event – Thankful for Homeschooling Online Gathering for Moms – took the hiring of two VAs.
Last year, I manned the planning, organizing, and execution of this event by myself. All while being 36 weeks pregnant.
This year I was destined to hire help. And I did.
Now part of me wanted to be over the ladies’ shoulders, watching their every move, and pitching in where I could.
I sat back and allowed those two women to do what they do best, and what they were hired for. I, on the other hand, was able to relax – and not be busy.
By relinquishing control, I had more time to focus on other things like spending more time with my husband and children.
Caught Up in the Cares of Life
I know things happen. I get it. And not just some things, but some pretty tragic things.
Back to us women, we can get pretty caught up in being busy – especially in the home. Just ask Martha!
“I have to cook. Clean. Do laundry. Homeschool. Work on my blog. Finish a resource to publish. Take one of the kids here. Grocery shop. Set up for this event. Meet so-and-so for whatever.”
It can go on and on. And by the end of that tape playing in one’s mind, we become the latter end of the meaning of busy – buried, overloaded, swamped, and fussy.
Of course everything mentioned above (and some) are part of life, but it’s a matter of perspective and mindset when it comes to understanding the difference between it being busy or a necessity.
In this case, there is another “b” to consider – balance.
There is a time to do the dishes, cook the meal(s), wash the clothes, do the grocery shopping, etc. And when it doesn’t get done, do NOT beat yourself up, or let mom [or wife] guilt sneak in.
Out of all the reasons why I think we become busy, I’d have to say that this one takes the cake.
They say it can take up to two months to form a new habit, and when you think about it – that’s really not that long.
So let’s break this down. Let’s say you recently started a business. With this business comes a blog/website, content creation, sales and marketing, collaborations, etc.
From the beginning, you throw yourself in and instantly develop the mindset that “you have to do this, you have to do that, you need to make this, fix that, email somebody about something, sell this, pitch that”…
And instead of stepping back, establishing a foundation that creates success, and then proceeding – you continue on attempting to make necessary changes, but doing Einstein’s classic definition of insanity-
doing the same thing but expecting different results.
Ouch! Does that sound familiar? That’s what I did for the longest time. And quite honestly, I couldn’t help it at first.
I couldn’t help it because it had become a habit to be busy.
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Practical Ways to Trump Busyness
You could do a quick Google search and find “21 ways to not be so busy.”
While the suggestions may seem dandy and doable, I would much rather look at the blueprint laid out in Scripture. It hasn’t failed me yet.
Psalm 39:6 says – As but a shadow each one walks; they busy themselves, only in vain. He heaps up wealth, but knows not who gathers them”
In this context, busy is connect to vanity. In other words, you can be busy producing something with no result.
So what do we do? In the next verse (v. 7), it says – And now, YHVH, what do I wait for? My expectancy is in You.
I believe this is telling us a few things –
- Do not be unnecessarily busy.
- Stay clear of doing things in vain.
- When necessary, wait.
- Understand where our expectancy should be.
There is also a passage in Scripture that relates being a busy body to being disorderly.
2 Thessalonians 3:11 says – For we hear of some among you walking disorderly, not working at all, but are busybodies.
The next verse (v. 12) gives us a tip of what to do instead – settle down, work, and eat [your] own bread.
There are several things we should note from this entire chapter:
- Being a busybody is related to disorder.
- There is a time to labor and work.
- It is okay, and recommended, to settle down.
- Do not grow weary in doing good.
Lastly, to solidify the fact that we can teach ourselves to be busy-
1 Timothy 5:13 says – Moreover, they learn to be idle, going from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, speaking what is improper.
This tells us that the behavior of being a busybody is one that can be learned. So, in hindsight, we have a choice.
We can choose to be busy for whatever reasons, or we can choose balance between doing less and being more.
The choice is yours my friend!
CHIME IN: How has being busy impacted your life? What are some ways you’ve adjusted to ensure you aren’t busy without cause? Share in the comments below!