On the 5th March I, alongside some of our young people at HBC, attended the EOSGP conference in Edinburgh. I took advantage of the discounted book deals on offer and bought some Kevin Deyoung books (Kevin was the keynote speaker for the conference). A particular gem of a book was his book “Crazy busy – A mercifully short book about a really big problem”. I have to admit the title caught me, I’m a pretty busy guy and many times feel overwhelmed, so I grabbed it hoping there would be a 5-point plan of how to be less busy, or cope with my busy schedule (I like lists!) I don't normally do any form of book review, but after reading crazy busy, it is a book I would recommend all Christians to read!
The first thing to say is that it is obvious my workload is no where near that of Kevin Deyoung’s. I was immediately humbled in reading this book that here is a chap who has 6 kids (think that’s right) has numerous degrees, currently doing a PhD, Senior Teaching Pastor and can still find time to write books! I wasn’t in awe, I was, I have to admit, annoyed! Suddenly I didn’t feel all that busy and started to think – maybe I don’t need to read this book after all! Humbled is an understatement!
Here is what I learned from reading Crazy busy!
Three things made clear in the book is that busyness can ruin our joy, rob our hearts and cover the rot in our souls. We get so busy doing lots of stuff that we never really stop to think what our life is all about. We get so busy because we like to people-please, get a pat on the back, prove ourselves, gain more money/possession and because we are bad planners. All of these things stem from pride! I have to admit I don't like to say no because I believe I can do it all, I convince myself I can slot in another task in to my day, I soon learn I am not super human and end up overwhelmed.
But Jesus too was a pretty busy guy, Kevin Deyoung makes the point that Jesus was always immediately doing things or going places. Did Jesus have an issue with pride? No, the difference is that Jesus thoughts were eternal and focused on the Gospel… are we really like that in our busyness? I don't think I can compare my busyness organising my office with Jesus' busyness reaching souls!
What impressed on me is this idea to know what is important and what is urgent. Most of what we do is important, and certainly as a Pastor it seems like nothing in my schedule can be dropped. But not all things are urgent and need done immediately. How we manage this is key.
Emails, texts, blogs, Facebook, twitter etc. all increase our busyness and we need to unplug sometimes. I have an awful habit of checking emails before I go to bed. Which leads me to plan the next day in my head and before you know it I am struggling to get to sleep. Not every email, Facebook post or tweet needs to be sent straight away. In fact, the world will survive if you don’t post on Facebook or tweet for one day. Unplugging will help us not feel overwhelmed.
The book summed it all up in this one clear quote:
“Making consistent time for the Word of God and prayer is the place to start because being with Jesus is the only thing strong enough to pull us away from busyness. We wont say no to more craziness until we can say yes to more Jesus… It is not wrong to be tired. It is not wrong to feel overwhelmed. It’s not wrong to go through seasons of complete chaos. What is wrong – is to live a life with more craziness than we want because we have less Jesus than we need”
So what is Kevin’s answer to a busy life. Well there is many things we can do to reduce stress and business in general. But ultimately we will be busy in our lives, we should expect it. But the challenge is are we busy with the right things - namely developing our faith in Christ, reaching others for Christ and nurturing others (family, neighbours, congregation etc.) in their faith! I for one have been challenged to fill my life with more Christ and less stuff!
You can buy Crazy Busy via amazon for £9 by clicking here.