Are you being intentional or busy today? This is a question many of us know we should ask from time to time, but we avoid it.
Being intentional means there is a “why” behind doing something.
We choose healthy food options because we want to take good care of our bodies.
We schedule our appointments because we want to avoid burnout.
We say no because we must be aware of how we are managing our time.
Many of us are busy, very busy. When we are busy, we are exhausted. We are also frustrated because there is “So much to do and so little time.” As I was thinking about the shift I am making to be intentional about how I spend my time, I chuckled at a story a good friend shared with me.
Both of us had a ministry assignment and at the time, I was also in my junior year of college. I had to make a tough decision to take a course to finish my degree program, which was only available at night. This meant anything after 7 PM on Tuesday or Thursday didn’t fit my schedule. I don’t remember having to step away from my responsibility, but my friend reminded me of the moment. As she saw me comfortably saying no, she shared a few thoughts she pondered:
What am I still doing here? I want to step away too.
Where is she going? She is leaving me.
How did she get away with ease and just say no?
As I’ve matured, I’ve struggled with avoiding busyness whether in my personal, family, career, or ministerial responsibilities. It was much easier when I was in my twenties! There are many reasons why we are busy, and here are just a few of them:
- As people we want to be affirmed, loved, and valued.
Why do we accept the commitments that we do? Is it because we are genuinely called to do them or is it how they make us feel? As individuals, we should be in community with other people where they can remind us that we are valuable and loved. They can remind us that we have a purpose. If we are only in our circles or communities for “feelings,” this is dangerous. What happens when someone in your community, who lacks boundaries, pressures you to do “one more thing” for them? If we thrive off of human appreciation, we have given in to the trap of people pleasing. When we are intentional about being in relationship with healthy people, we will realize that they want God’s best for our lives. When we are too busy, they don’t have a problem confronting us, in love, to slow down. When we are looking for affirmation in all the wrong places, they will help us to get our eyes off of people and back on purpose.
- We want our work to matter and our impact to be remembered.
At our core, we want to make a difference. No one wakes up and says, “ Let me get up early and waste the day!” No, we want to seize it! We want to do something that will build a legacy for future generations. At the same time, we have to be careful of the trap of workaholism. This is the idea that the more work we do, the more acceptance we will receive. We take on one more responsibility hoping someone will value what we are doing. When we don’t see what we were expecting, we feel cheated. When we select work that is intentional, we only occupy spaces that God has called us to pursue. We can then recognize that our work is “unto the Lord” and whether anyone recognizes it or not, God called us to do the work. We weren’t self-appointed.
- At our core, we don’t like to see people struggle. We feel we can help every situation.
This one is my personal pain point at the moment. I am naturally drawn to those who are hurting. I rush in, without assessing the situation, and then get disappointed when the struggle continues. I then rush in again to try to rescue the person from themselves. It is a never-ending cycle. How many times have you rushed in to save someone when deep-down you knew you were resentful about doing it? The critical question to ask when you are faced with a moment is to ask, “God is that my assignment?” I became busy trying to help people to be better and do better, but they hadn’t asked me to mentor them in the areas I was offering them. When you provide instruction to someone who isn’t prepared to receive it, you haven’t accomplished the goal of teaching. This is why some people return to us over and over again expecting us to be their saviors. If we are busy saving people, we aren’t being intentional about serving those we are meant to serve.
Each of the areas we’ve identified are areas I’ve had to do work to overcome. I am still doing the work. God reminded me that when I was feeling tired and burned out, it was because I was being busy. The first step to overcoming something is admitting that you have a problem. I’ll be the first to admit it: I have a problem with busyness! Now, that you’ve been honest with yourself and God, take some time to reflect on the questions to consider:
Today’s Questions to Consider
Select one reason you find yourself busy:
Do you need to be affirmed, loved and valued?
Do you struggle with being a workaholic?
Do you struggle with savior syndrome (rescuing)?
What is your busyness costing you right now? Be very honest.
In what areas do you need to become more intentional?