When you ask someone how they’re doing, often the response is something like, “Ah, I’m super busy!” It seems that busyness has become the norm in our culture. Of course this can be good. We don’t want to be lazy or idle; we want to work hard and be productive in the right areas (2 Thessalonians 3:10-13). The need for adjustment comes, though, when we’re so busy that we become run down, when we don’t get the rest we need, and when we feel we can’t invest in the people and activities that are truly important!
If you feel that you are being crushed by busyness, begin praying about what God is truly calling you to. Consider making a list of all the relationships, activities, and commitments in your life according to categories: family, home, career, church, extended family, community, etc. You may want to do this with a spouse or close friend. Now, pray over this list, and ask the Spirit for guidance as you assign one of the following labels to each area:
- Do: These people and activities are your top priorities. These are the commitments you need, and want, to be investing in. You might find things you’ve written down that you’ve been neglecting, but you know God is calling you to invest more in. The people and things here most likely include your spouse, children, work obligations, and certain ministries.
- Diminish: These are areas that you want to continue to be involved with, but you recognize you need to diminish your involvement. Maybe you need to cut back on your overtime hours, or only mentor two students not four, or only play golf once a month not once a week!
- Delay: Somethings are important, even necessary, but they don’t need to be done right now. Maybe there are other things that need to take priority, and this can be delayed. Perhaps you can wait until next year to go back to school, or go on that trip, or start that house project.
- Delegate: There might be some areas of your life that you’re responsible for, but you don’t personally need to be doing. Ask yourself: Am I the only or best person to be investing in this? Delegating it to someone else doesn’t mean you have no connection or don’t care about it. It means you are training someone else to take responsibility. Are there chores around the house your kids could be taught? Are there work projects someone else on the team could do? Are there ministry responsibilities other volunteers can take over?
- Delete: This might be the hardest category, but if you are feeling crushed by busyness you must consider deleting some of your commitments! Letting go of a commitment or even a relationship doesn’t mean you don’t care; it means you trust God. You can’t do it all. You can’t do everything important that needs to be done. But God can – let go of it and trust him! You will only be successful and fulfilled when you’re doing what you are truly called to do. So maybe you need to cut out that travel soccer team, or that extra job, or that daily Netflix appointment!
Remember, this whole assessment is an ongoing process. Be patient. Be realistic. But if necessary, be willing to make some drastic changes. And who knows, if you are successful in cutting out the excess in your life – and you find time to catch your breath and rest – you might make space for God to call you into a new relationship or opportunity!