Hi there my blog readers. Two random thoughts/links this post…
- Catching up on some magazine reading, I saw a review of this book: Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore. It won Christianity Today’s 2016 book of the year. Have you read it? I have not. But the review said that Moore is especially concerned about providing a corrective for 3 types of Christians:
- the hand-wringers who are too focused on the end of the world to communicate the good news about the kingdom
- those who use the culture’s hostility to fuel perpetual outrage, indignant that the “other side” is “ruining” everything
- and those who accommodate on certain issues in an effort to keep Jesus popular and relevant
Yep, that pretty much nails it! In “real life” here in the Bible Belt, I know more who fall into number 1 or 2. I think social media sadly contributes to and exacerbates #2. For #3, I know more people online or indirectly, but #3 is rearing its head in the denomination I am a part of. Several individuals left the conservative mainline church I attend for a more “accommodating” one.
- Busyness. I’ve blogged on this before. (See my recent book review of God Space.) I am pretty much sick and tired of the lame excuse of busyness -or- people wearing busyness like a badge of honor. It is not a badge of honor. Not having time for what matters in life is a problem and concern. I recently came across this practical article: Why I’m Not Busy & You Shouldn’t be Either. The intro states this:
- “Living in a continuous state of busyness reflects poor stewardship of time. It reflects an inability to prioritize. I get that sometimes no matter how well you steward and prioritize your time, you’re still busy. I’m in the same boat. But I’m talking about excessive busyness. I’m talking about feeling busy most days of the week. About the mentality that people like to wear on their sleeve as a status symbol. I don’t think that type of busyness is healthy, and therefore I try to avoid it.”
The article then shares practical ideas and book recommendations. While the thoughts are more about the employment setting, the general ideas could apply to other areas of life. Give it a read!
* Update: Another article here: The Disease of Being Busy.
Laura Droege said:
I read the article and while I definitely see the application for the workplace, I’m not certain his ideas translate well into my everyday life as a parent. I guess that’s kind of my workplace, in a way. But here’s my take on his article . . .
Number one, keeping God first is one point I wholeheartedly agree with! That gets neglected far too often.
But . . .
Sometimes I simply can’t plan ahead. When the kids were extremely young, plans had to be able to be changed at any given time because someone pitched a tantrum or got sick. Or, at the stage I’m at right now, the kids are active but can’t drive themselves anywhere. So even though one kid plays only one sport and is involved in one academic club (engineering club, once every other week) and the other is only involved in two clubs (yearbook and math team, both meeting once a week after school), I’m the chauffeur and keeper of the calendar. I have a feeling that many parents are stuck with that kind of busyness.
I always used to wonder about sports parents, how busy they were, and wonder why they let it get in the way of their lives. But in the past 2 years, my daughter has begun playing tennis for the school team. It takes over the entire spring semester: matches, practices, driving the kid wherever she needs to go, often without knowing when the matches will end (there’s no set time limit in tennis), and needing to be extremely flexible with dinnertime, etc. I can’t say no; she would be kicked off the team if I refused to take her to a match! (And I would hate that. Tennis team and the engineering club are her “groups” and at a school of nearly 2K students, she needs a group to belong in.) It’s chaotic. And that’s only one sport, and not the most demanding one, either. Imagine if she were gifted athletically and played multiple sports, or was involved in a life-consuming sport like team/competitive gymnastics, where the kid travels hours to compete. (I’ve heard horror stories about that one.)
For me, right now, I want to help my kids find their passions and where they’re gifted and explore what careers are available. I didn’t know what mine were and I didn’t end up knowing what to do with my degree after I graduated. I’ve known multiple people like that, too; they didn’t do anything meaningful in high school and went to college, wasted a lot of time and money, and floundered trying to find a job. They wasted their God-given abilities and time on things that were meaningless. I don’t want to see my kids do that. I don’t care if they go to college or trade school, as long as they can honor God by using the gifts he’s given them in whatever field they choose. They’re both smart girls and have a lot of interests. Trying to figure out how to navigate their tween/teen years into adulthood and find out what gifts He’s given them is both exciting and time consuming. So that’s why the extracurriculars are important and given a priority at this point.
The other big factor is being the generation dealing with older parents. My mother in law has Alzheimer’s and that adds to the stress!
Even though I limit what’s on the calendar, say no to many unnecessary things, and try to leave margin for things to run late, etc., there are certain time periods where I’m busy and exhausted. I do one volunteer activity (for Ruminate) and hold down the home fort, so to speak, and write.
I can block out my time during the school day (my work day, where his ideas do fit!!) but before and after are often chaotic. I’m a planner by nature, so this really irks me. I’m also a low energy person, so that contributes to the feeling, too. All that to say, I’m simply not certain how his ideas can apply very well to this particular area of my life.
I do know there are people who thrive on being busy-busy-busy and need to chill, cut back on doing everything (or having the kids do everything), and take stock of their priorities, but I don’t know if that’s the majority of them. It really is a shame that kid sports take over the player’s existence, and that seems to be spinning out of control (if it isn’t already). It’s also a huge, horrible thing, that so much of this busyness is unnecessary but often not within our immediate control.
I hope I’ve explained what I meant. I just wanted to offer my perspective on the matter.
Laura Droege said:
Dang it, that was a loooong comment. Sorry to do that to you!
Laura, I was going to wait a few days to reply, and tell you it was because I was busy! haha. Thanks for sharing this. I’m wordy myself, so no need to feel bad about a long comment. In past posts about busyness, I’ve emphasized that there are legitimately busy stages of life. I’d say you are definitely in one of the legitimately busy times. You sound balanced, not wanting your kids to be over involved but wanting them to try different things – and for good reasons.
My “beef” is more with the busyness that pervades our culture in a general sense. I’ve heard it called things like a “hurry sickness” and the “busyness epidemic.” Even people not in a busy stage, as you are, are somehow still busy.
For example, we know multiple young empty-nesters (40’s to 50’s) whose kids have left home and one of the spouses has dropped from full time to part time employment (or even stopped working) – but they are still busy-busy-busy. No time.
My husband and I enjoy showing hospitality (having people over for dinner for fellowship and friendship) and we don’t do it near as much anymore. Why? No one has time. If we ask, it takes them months to schedule us in, and then when they finally come over it is literally eat and run. Our invitation was a burden to them, and it was definitely not our intent to burden someone (the opposite actually)! And we usually are not inviting parents with active kids/teens at home either, but people who should, in theory, have more free time.
So that is more where I am coming from…Since I don’t have kids I can’t really speak about the busyness that families with kids encounter — So it is helpful that you shared your life situation. I am a low energy person, and I don’t think I could have even functioned with kids!
Laura Droege said:
Yeah, I don’t understand the empty-nesters and retirees who are that busy, either! Having never been either retired or empty-nested, I can’t imagine how they are filling their time. And it’s truly sad that those you invite are so busy that they can’t enjoy an evening of your hospitality. They are missing out on a special time.
I was hoping that my original response didn’t come across as . . . I’m not sure what the term would be. Something along the lines of “holier-than-thou”, the parent version, or maybe defensive. I apologize if that’s the impression you got. It wasn’t intended that way at all.
I think no matter what stage of life we’re at, we can all benefit from hearing others’ points of view. And all we definitely need to make the time to minister to others and show them God’s love. No activity, planned or not, should take precedent over taking the time to be there for other people when they need us. I should never be too busy to give someone a hug or an encouraging word! That is one thing that the busyness culture neglects.