The year I lived just outside of Washington D.C. was one of the most stressful periods of my life. In large part it was due to the culture of the area—everyone was busy, all of the time. Seeing anyone outside of work required several weeks’ notice; no one had time for anything that wasn’t already on their calendar. I felt a lot of pressure to do as everyone else did and pack my week with activities. Doing so left little time for the relationships that mattered most to me—particularly my relationship with God.
Thankfully, I’ve since moved and settled into a slower pace of life. But the habit of busyness that I picked up still lingers, and every once and awhile I’m forced to do a reality check and ask—am I overcommitting again?
Brady Boyd, senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, just wrote a fantastic piece called Signs You May be Addicted to Busyness, offering some great insights into what drives us to be busy. In it, he bravely shares the tipping point for his addiction to being busy—the afternoon his wife packed her bags, ready to leave him unless he changed. 24 hours later he had resigned from every role he held—a drastic step that helped him see just how deeply his addiction to busyness ran.
Since that day, Boyd has thought a lot about some of the warning signs of being too busy. Here are 4 red flags he found are often prevalent with those who lean toward being over-scheduled.
1. You feel like you’re in your glory when you’re busiest. “I like how success feels,” Boyd writes. “I don’t want to unplug.” If you fear any whitespace on your calendar, your priorities may need refocused.
2. You’re more fascinated with gadgets than with God. Ever leave your phone at home and feel like a part of your body has been disconnected? Or sit down to read your Bible and pray, but can’t seem to focus because your phone is dinging and your computer keeps alerting you to another email in your inbox? Huge red flag! Satan would love nothing more than for you to be so consumed with technology that you find time with God dull in comparison.
3. Your favorite compliment has become, “Wow, you’re so busy.” Boyd writes, “I have a theory on this, which is that busyness is our means to impress. If I’m busy, then I’m important, and if I’m important, then you’ll be impressed. That’s the reason I spend so much time being busy: to impress you, so perhaps I’ll feel like I matter.” Everyone wants to be needed and feel useful, but when it becomes your identity, that’s a problem.
4. You don’t have time for the ones you love. This may be the worst sign of all, Boyd writes. Don’t let it get to bags packed at the door—if you’re struggling with busyness, start taking steps to slow down and find rest today.
“God is not merely a peaceful person; God, in fact, is peace,” Boyd says. “When you and I sit in God’s presence, we’re sitting in the presence of peace. And when we sit there—actually stay there, quiet, still—we come away breathing differently.” If we’re to be more conformed to God’s image, that means desiring to live out the values and priorities that God embraces, including rest.
If you’re looking for a few helpful ways to find rest, particularly if you’re in the midst of back-to-school activities and other commitments that fall can bring, check out Bonnie Gray’s post, Beat Back-to-School Stress with These 9 Tips for Rest. She shares some fantastic, practical ideas for carving out time in your schedule for God and family.
As Christians, our identity hinges not on what we do but on what Christ has done for us. Check your heart—are you finding your worth in a busy calendar and people depending on you? It may be time to reevaluate why you’re so busy. Ask God to help you move away from glorying in your busyness and instead toward glorying in His rest.
Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com.