Pretty much every person I know is busier than they’d like to be. I believe our ability to harness busyness and focus it toward major goals is vital for accomplishing our life’s purpose. Personally, I've decided not to accept busyness as an excuse for not doing what is most important in my life.
Productive or Distracted?
Busyness isn't bad in itself. I want to be busy. I want to create, build, and innovate. I want to be sought out and invited to be part of great events and projects. I want to be busy (unavailable) resting when I need it. However, I want to be productively busy, not distractedly busy. That means living with priority. That means creating momentum.
“Just because I can doesn't mean I should”
Just because I can doesn't mean I should. Living with focus and clarity on my most important targets is my key to living with priority. There are many targets I could choose from, but there are a few I cannot afford not to prioritize. Slowly I am beginning to learn how to say “no” to all the good things so I can “yes” to a handful of GREAT things.
What does the bible have to say?
I love how the Apostle Paul spoke to the Ephesian church about living with clarity:
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV
These words are so powerful. “Be careful how you walk...wise, not unwise...make the best use of your time...understand the will of the Lord…”
Right before this, Paul encouraged them to "be imitators of God as dear children" (vs. 1). This is really important. God has never been late on a project. He doesn’t procrastinate or get overwhelmed. He isn’t distracted by emotional manipulation or guilt trips. We are his children and therefore destined to become more and more like him as we grow. You don’t need to perform in order to find your worth or significance. Your significance is already safe and secure in how God created you, and the sooner you discover it with clarity the sooner you can prioritize your life and receive your inheritance from God, your Father.
Powerful, not powerless
I believe God is inviting you and me to get back in the driver’s seat. A few months ago, I shared a thought with my wife, Erin, that I felt God speaking to me: “Distracted busyness is not God’s heart for us. He doesn’t want us to feel “time-poor.” He wants us to accomplish a great and specific purpose and he has given us everything we need to do this.” From that point, we started trying to make powerful choices, not powerless ones.
“Distracted busyness is not God’s heart for us. He doesn’t want us to feel “time-poor.””
God doesn’t want us to feel “time-poor” when it comes to the dreams he has placed on our hearts. His heart for you should prove that there is more than enough to accomplish your dreams if you are willing to choose them over other distractions.
If this blog has stirred or inspired you, try this exercise:
On a piece of paper, create two columns. Label the left side, “Productively Busy” and right down everything you, “Cannot afford to fail at.” These could be things like being the spouse and parent you want to be, writing that book that is within you, or going back to school. Make sure the list has a focus on the things only you can do and should do. Look for opportunities to build momentum (like sequential steps that build into each other).
Then label the other column, “Distractedly Busy” and write down all the “good” distractions that would keep you from focusing on the great things. Examples could be taking on unnecessary projects at school or work, relationships that need new boundaries, or binge watching Netflix.
Finally, pray. Ask God for help. He is your biggest fan, your greatest investor, and he wants you to succeed more than you could ever know. With God on your side, and clarity in your heart, you cannot fail.