It may surprise you to know that I am not a very busy person. Sure, I have busy weeks just like everyone else, but those are the exception and not the rule. I used to try to max out every day of my life. I was proud to work long hours, volunteer my time and lead community organizations. As you can imagine, those days lead me to be nearly burned out as a Pastor.
Over the last 7 years, I have committed myself to not being busy all the time. For me, that meant learning to say “no” to numerous activities. I dropped out of community civic clubs, stop doing most weddings, limited my involvement in youth sports and started keeping a tighter schedule. In fact, I find myself saying “no” much more than I say “yes.”
First – I needed to establish my priorities. For my that meant making a short list of who gets my time. My time goes to the Lord, my wife, my children and my job. I enjoy sports and so does my family, but it is not a priority. I enjoy having several hobbies but they will not take away from what is really important.
Second – I needed to set boundaries. For example, if you want to meet with me on a Friday, my response is “no.” Friday is a day off to recharge my battery and spend time with my family. This type of thinking lets me leave most nights open instead of packing them full too.
Third – I needed to stop playing to the crowd. Too often we are busy because we desire to make everyone happy. We can quickly fill our time trying to please the people who we feel are watching. It sounds like this, “I better get more involved at school or the other parents will think I am a slacker.”
Fourth – I needed to understand that most busy people end up in heartache. I am not trying to scare you, but most of the people I know who have had an affair, one of the people was too busy. Either they were not at home and they got connected to a person at work or they were always alone while their spouse worked and finally they got lonely. Long hours and lonely nights are always a recipe for destruction.
Fifth – I needed to stop trying to be God. One of the reasons I was busy was because I tried to live as if everything depended on me. My control issues would not let me give responsibility to anyone else. I thought that no one could do it better than me. I kept taking on more and more work while I tried to control the world. I had to learn to trust people and let God run my universe.
Over time my life has gone from run, run, run while trying to multitask to a large amount of my time is free. It is not because I do not care about other things, it is because being busy was a symptom of the problem with my soul. Sometimes the most Godly thing we can do is to say “no” to the rest so that we can say “yes” to the best.