For most of us, being busy feels like the norm, but is it really supposed to be that way? Were we designed to move through life at such a breakneck speed? The Bible makes it pretty clear that we were not. We were made for communion with God and others, and for the kinds of experiences that exist in the margins. Here are six reasons why we should slow down and enjoy life instead of basking in the artificial glow of the oh-so-busy life.
It happened again. The stress and anxiety spilled out over my life just when I thought I finally had it under control—the dreaded pit in my stomach, fog in my brain, and uncharacteristic desire to hide under my covers all day long. How many times will it happen before I finally learn?
Racking my brain for the common denominator of these flares, I noticed a pattern. The most common way I responded when people asked me how I was doing during these times was a single, disturbing word: “Busy.”
It’s a big, fat lie that a busy life is a fulfilling life. And yet—so many of us wear the ‘busy’ badge with honor. After all, if I’m busy, I’m valued. People need me. I have a purpose to fulfill. The problem is that we were never designed to live a busy life. Filling our days with no margin for the unexpected, no time for play, and no time to be still with God is a recipe for disaster, not something to display proudly. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of the example that Jesus set for us.
Here are 6 reasons why it’s time to burn that busy badge once and for all.
1. Life is not an emergency
In the very beginning, God designed us to walk with Him in the garden. Sure, we messed up that original design. But it doesn’t discount the fact that we were created to simply enjoy communion with Him and with each other. That was the plan—the original blessing. And I believe that is still what God wants most for us all.
2. We are designed to work from a place of rest
The rhythm that God set into motion for humanity is like a pendulum. It swings from rest to work, rest to work, rest to work—back and forth like the tick-tock of a clock. Look at the creation story, the seasons, and the circle of life. So often we tell ourselves that we will work really hard and then catch up on our rest, but that’s backwards and it never works. Originally, God’s people understood that their work week started with their day of rest. It wasn’t something that might happen if all the work got done. It was so important that it had to come before everything else.
3. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience
Our bodies are fragile. They are finite. They can only take so much. We live in the tension of knowing we are spiritual beings limited by the capability of our human bodies. And yet, for now, our bodies are the temple of the Living God. Caring for our body is a big deal and stress is a destructive force.
4. Our body, mind, and spirit are connected
A busy mind creates a weary body and restless soul. Combining mental stress with a chaotic schedule and little time to satisfy the soul will eventually impact every single area of our life in a negative way. Relationships will suffer. Mental health will diminish. Physical stamina will decline, and our quality of life will slide downhill.
5. People are more important than plans
Jesus is pretty clear that out of all the things we could spend our time doing, the most important things are to love God and love people. A schedule filled with commitments doesn’t leave much time or energy for the most important thing—love.
6. Jesus sure didn’t seem busy
I’m amazed at how unhurried Jesus seemed during His three years of ministry. He took His time and He paid attention. He was present, and He was most definitely not overcommitted. Did that mean that things didn’t get done that could have been done? Yes. Did that mean that people were disappointed? Yes. But, Jesus prioritized presence over progress. He knew what He was doing. He calls us to follow Him and do the same.
What’s the biggest barrier preventing you from burning your busy badge? Are you afraid to say no? Worried that you’ll disappoint a few people? Trying to live up to the expectations of people whose opinions don’t really even matter?
My prayer for you is that this is a wake-up call—that you’ll look at your schedule and your family’s schedule and see what can go.
I pray for you to see giant white blocks on time on your calendar and know that this empty space will be filled with the things that truly matter. When you look back on your life, I guarantee that you will not wish you had been busier, but you will wish you had wisely used your time to live and love like Jesus.
Don’t let a fake, silly badge of honor stand in the way of that.
Let’s make a pact to burn our busy badges together and choose to create intentional margin, prioritize the white space in life, and hold one another accountable. May our burning badges be a turning point that lights up the whole world to begin truly living free.
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Such good reasons why we wear the busy badge, “I’m busy, I’m valued. People need me. I have a purpose to fulfill.” I know I have worn the badge for these reasons. Everyone else was busy and seemed to be doing important things, why wasn’t I? I think we also get in a competition with others. It can be such a bragging point and we can actually argue over who is busier. But it is not a fun badge to wear. It steels our joy and wears us out. Slowing down and resting and having time for people and God makes us so much happier.
It’s so true that we often try to “out-busy” another person. Imagine if we tried to “out-rest” one another instead!
I love “Jesus Sure Didn’t Seem Busy” – that is so good. Such great wisdom in this article — so much of my own busy badge is truly about ego and approval-seeking behavior. Thank you for such beautiful wisdom on why we all need to burn our busy badges!
Yes! Just think how powerful it would be to actually burn a piece of paper that says, “busy” on it. I may just do that with my family!