Do you ever have the feeling that you’re so busy, major values and priorities in your life are slipping? This is a sinking feeling—and bailing water doesn’t help. Time to plug the holes in the boat!
Here’s a short list that might help you evaluate priorities and return to that which is most important in your life. Not all of these things always indicate busyness. Sometimes they indicate a lack of discipline or planning. Sometimes they indicate distraction by lesser things. But if you’re so busy that these things are falling through the cracks of life—you’re just too busy.
You’re too busy if…
1. You aren’t walking with God faithfully and personally. This is when you read His Word and walk with Him in prayer—and there is no replacement. In fact, if you’re not doing this, you are absolutely more stressed and frustrated in life than God intends. Your walk with Him changes everything—it provides stability and perspective that nothing else can. If you’re too busy to walk with God, something must change right away. Develop your walk—develop variety, different spaces, good music, good books, and creative ways to spend time with God and converse with Him. Whatever you do, make sure it doesn’t become mundane, routine, and boring. If it does, you probably won’t do it faithfully. Keep it fresh and you will want to come back to it often!
2. You haven’t shared the Gospel with someone recently. This is why we are here—to be ambassadors. When we go long periods of time without sharing Christ, we miss our central purpose, and our hearts begin to grow cold towards the heart of Christ. It may be during an organized outreach time, it may be handing someone a tract or a book during your week, or it may be an ongoing relationship that you are developing around the Gospel. Don’t stop looking for opportunities in your day to be an ambassador for Christ.
3. You haven’t taken your spouse on a date recently. Whether it’s once a week, once every ten days, or once every two weeks—do you pull aside as a couple and regularly nurture your marriage and rekindle your connection. The more frequent, the better. Is it possible to spend “too much time together” as a married couple? I doubt it. But let’s face it, for most people that problem isn’t even a possibility. Strong, healthy, romantic, passionate marriages are made of people who will fight all the forces of earth to protect and maintain quantity time together. Don’t let busyness rob you of the joy of marriage. After all, when you fell in love, you didn’t marry that person with the intent to never see them…
4. Your spouse is unhappy with the time and attention your are giving to your marriage. This is a simple test—just ask. Don’t get defensive or irritated. Just honestly look at your spouse and say, “Are you getting enough time and love from me?” Be ready to take corrective action if the answer is “no.” Perhaps a good follow up question would be, “How can I do better?” If this is a difficult conversation for you to have, then there’s already trouble in the mix. Swallow your pride and decide to meet your spouse’s needs—as they are felt by your spouse, not as you feel they should be. Don’t try to tell your spouse to expect or need less. Accept the needs as your spouse has them—acknowledge them as legitimate and reasonable—and then get to it! Meet them!
5. Your kids have gotten use to not spending time with you. Are your kids content to just hang with their friends, occupy themselves in their room, or go days without meaningful interaction with you? This is not a good sign. It’s time to make some changes that allow you to deeply and relationally engage with their hearts through personal time together. If your kids still enjoy spending time with you, jump on that, thank God for it, and keep that relationship alive and well. Schedule time one on one with them as often as possible!
6. Your family isn’t enjoying a regular family night or two every week. Is every night of your week filled with extra curricular things? While there’s nothing wrong with sports practices, recitals, night classes, and other such activities—when combined, they can eat up every single night. Each week, look ahead seven days and ask, “When will we be home, together, this week? What can we do as a family to make that time special?” There are always exceptions, but don’t stop fighting for weeks where the whole family is home and enjoying each other for at least one or two evenings—or more. Again, the more the better!
7. You haven’t taught your children a Bible principle recently. Whether through regular family devotions, bed time prayer, or in the flow of daily life and conversations—are you regularly bringing God’s principles to play in the circumstances and dynamics that your children are facing? Our kids bear burdens—child-size burdens, but huge to them. And those burdens are made lighter—those problems are resolved when our kids open up to us and we provide biblical counsel and insight. When your daughter is wrestling with her friends or appearance, when your son is wrestling with issues about girls or grades—your parental wisdom provides a landing place for their emotions. Bring God’s Word into their world and help them respond with truth.
8. You aren’t taking a regular day off just to rest and restore—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If five days isn’t enough to get it all done, what makes you think six or seven days will really make difference? Let’s face it, whether you take a day off or not, there’s always more work to be done than you can possibly do. There’s nothing noble about being a self-proclaimed work martyr. In truth, you will get more done, work better, work smarter, and work more efficiently if you take your day off to truly rest and restore. And on top of that, your day off will help you keep all your other relationships in balance and healthy—which makes you all that much better an employee! If God worked six days and rested the seventh—well, that’s enough of an example for me. He certainly didn’t need the rest. Something tells me He did that as a model for us.
9. You haven’t read a great book recently. We find time to do so many things—watch a movie, catch up on news, see part of a football game. We find time to Facebook and Twitter. But rarely do people find time to immerse into a good book that will challenge them spiritually and strengthen their understanding of God’s Word. It has been said, “People who don’t read are no better off than people who can’t read.” What life challenging book have you read recently? Decide to read a book a month—and then dive in. You will be shocked at how God will change you through great biblical reads!
10. You haven’t cultivated close friendships recently. Dana and I just spent five days with some close friends. One of the most convicting aspects of our time together was that it was the first time we did so in our 25 year friendship. Life often gets so busy that we fail to appreciate and benefit from time with godly friends who sharpen, challenge, and strengthen us in all the right values of life. Fellowship is a biblical principle—and God desires for us to benefit mutually from strong friendships. Do you have people in your life that greatly encourage you and who you can encourage? Don’t take that gift for granted. Get it done—make the phone call, schedule dinner, make it happen. Cultivate closeness that honors Christ and blesses the heart.
So, there are ten things that may indicate you’re too busy—if you think of more, add them below! Now do the courageous thing—the tough thing. Make the changes necessary to make it happen. God bless as you do your best to live with Christ-like priorities!