If, on any given Monday, you ask me how my weekend was, I will say: “It was probably good!”
I’m sorry, I know you’re making conversation and I am not being informative at all. But my brain has moved on to NOW, it cannot replay the last forty-eight hours for evaluation purposes.
(This is not because I am so great at being present, it’s just that this is all the energy I have available for thinking on Monday mornings.)
“Probably good” translates to “Nothing terrible leaps to mind, so everything must be more or less okay. And that is good.”
My pastor-friend Kate always puts her hand on my arm at this point and says, “No, really. How are you?”
If I think about it a little more, I will add that I am TIRED. I am good (or good enough), and also tired.
There was a time when I was busy, always busy, but now I usually just need a nap.
Unless I’m avoiding something.
Or unless I’m afraid. Then I slide right back into busy territory. There’s so much I can’t do if I’m busy, and having an excuse not-to-do sometimes feels like my safest option.
I can’t get involved, I’m much too busy. I can’t do that scary thing. I can’t try something new today. I can’t investigate, I wish I could. But I’m busy. Maybe tomorrow.
Really, sometimes hearing myself say “I’m busy” is my first clue that I’m not paying attention to the right things.
Because we all have ideas about what we would do if only we weren’t so busy, don’t we? We’d write that novel, we’d paint that masterpiece. We’d swing in that hammock while our kids played blissfully in the grass nearby. We’d make things better. But we can’t, not today! It’s not our fault, we’re just too busy.
Busy is a tool, but it’s working against you.
Busy holds up the status quo, guys. Maybe you can’t march because you’re really busy. You can’t write that letter. You don’t have time to make the call, too busy. Can’t have the difficult conversation, book the appointment, look for an opportunity, find a solution.
Who does that busyness serve?
And as long as we stay busy, we’ll never know what could have been. But we also never have to face the reality of doing the work to build the dream. We never have to confront the real questions that hide underneath: Do I have what it takes? Am I enough?
(You are enough.)
Busyness, then, is our escape.
We don’t think of it that way—we think we’re only doing what we have to.
But the things you do to feed your family and to feed your soul, and the things you do to make the world a better place—those do not have to be busy things. You can do those things out of love, and love leads to presence, and presence is the opposite of busyness.
If your days are scheduled out of fear—fear of missing out, fear of failing, fear of not being accepted, fear of standing out, fear of being wrong, fear of risk—you can never do enough to chase away the fear. You’ll always be busy cramming in more.
But when you’re following love, you can be here, now, where you are, even if you have lots to do.
See, busy is a refusal to sit with yourself.
It’s a refusal to endure the discomfort of boredom. It’s a refusal to sit in uncomfortable aloneness, because who knows what you might find when you do that?
It’s not even a refusal to listen to yourself—busyness is a step before that. It’s a refusal to notice that you might have something to say.
Keeping busy keeps everything the same.
The view never changes on a hamster wheel—but I have somewhere to go, and so do you.
How was your weekend? I hope it was good, or good enough. And how are we going to move into the week ahead? With a nap, maybe. Sure. But not with busy. We don’t have time for busy.