The Glorification of Busyness

As the founder of a public charity, I visit the large offices of wealthy donors, the crowded rooms of social service agencies, and the small houses of the poorest families. Remarkably, within this mosaic there is a universal refrain: I am so busy.” ~ Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives — Wayne Muller

 

I resonate with the words of Wayne Muller, for this too is my experience. We must stop the glorification of busy.

Brene Brown writes, “We wear busyness as a badge of honor. We’d be afraid of what people would say if we weren’t busy.”Rob Bell says, “Busy is a drug that a lot of people are addicted to.”

Now to clarify most, but not all. A single mom shares a window into her world:

“I find statements like this dismissive of many people’s stressful lives…trying to feed, clothe, house and educate our families. As a single mom, providing for 3 children and myself and trying to better my education and income prospects, so we aren’t living the stressful existence of hand to mouth, means I am busy. I don’t glorify it. I don’t like it. But in a capitalist world, it costs to live and raise kids.” 

If that’s your story, you have my admiration and support. I pray as a society we might recognize and assist in your journey.

Now for the rest of us (myself chiefly), I am soberly reminded by David Steindl-Rast that the Chinese pictograph for “busy” is composed of two characters: heart and killing.

This week I begin what has become an annual pilgrimage for me back to the sanity found in rest. For the next two weeks I will sleep, eat all my favorite foods, share in conversation with family and friends, sleep some more, practice slowing, think, write, dream, and walk in the woods. For if I do not, my busyness will make an assault on my heart.

As I am continuing in my apprenticeship of learning to live and love like Jesus, he too spoke of the vital need of rest. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28) Jesus frequently withdrew to quiet places to meditate, pray and be renewed.

So for the coming days my prayer and intentionality is to reclaim the freedom found in practicing rest and allowing the sun to rise and set without my work and constant creative energy. To create a space in my life to play and rest, to eat delicious foods, to pray, and to connect with the people I love.

For today, I am choosing to walk away from my addiction to busyness.

Growing older and hopefully wiser,

Jim Mustain: Founder & Executive Director at The Communitatus Group, Inc.; Loving Community