Summer Reading for Crazy Busy People

Summer Reading for Crazy Busy People

Summer greetings to you, my Living in the Word friends! June is underway and it is time to talk about summer reading. In past years I have offered lists of my own recommendations and have also shared with you the reading choices of authors, pastors, and publishing world friends.

This year I’ve decided to do something different. Instead of talking about several books I’d like to talk about just one. And more, I’d like to invite you to read it along with me this summer and discuss it here periodically at Living in the Word.

The book? It’s one I purchased a few weeks ago and am just getting into. It’s not long. It’s not a difficult read. It’s not fiction, but I think we can manage an easy nonfiction book over the summer, yes?

The book is titled Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem (http://www NULL.christianbook NULL.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntt=crazy+busy&N=0&Ntk=keywords&action=Search&Ne=0&event=ESRCG&nav_search=1&cms=1) by pastor and author Kevin DeYoung. This man has the life of a typical pastor–he is busy helping people and studying and holding meetings and preparing sermons as well as speaking to outside groups and traveling and writing. And, he has a wife and five children, a home with needs, etc. He qualifies for crazy busy, and he admits it. Actually, he set out to write the book because he was sensing that his own life, along with the lives of most people around him, had become enslaved by busyness. He didn’t know the answers, but he embarked on writing (with lots of reading and study first) in the hope of somehow addressing his own pace and the resulting toll on his spirit.

When I say that DeYoung qualifies for crazy busy, I mean more than because of his roles as pastor, husband, and parent. He suggests in the first chapter, titled “Hello, My Name Is Busy,” that his overwhelmedness has more to do with his attitudes and choices than it does with his position in life.

“What am I doing? How did I get myself into this mess? When will I ever get my life under control? How long can I keep this up? Why can’t I manage my time? Why did I say yes to this? How did I get so busy?” I’ve bemoaned my poor planning and poor decision making. I’ve complained about my schedule. I’ve put in slipshod work because there wasn’t time for any other kind. I’ve missed too many quiet times and been too impatient with my kids. I’ve taken my wife for granted and fed important relationships with leftovers. I’ve been too busy to pursue God with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.”

In all of our lives with all the varied types of busyness we each experience, we can have a number of reactions.

“I’m just doing what I need to do and what no one else is going to get done. I’m a ________ (insert your title–parent, lawyer, manager, child of an elderly parent, etc.) and there is no way around being busy.”

“Hey, this is the world we live in and it’s not going to change. It’s pie in the sky to think it can be any different.”

“I like keeping busy. I like feeling productive. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

“I’m a bit of a perfectionist and while that may not always be good, it’s who I am and getting things right keeps me busy.”

And, I think for all of us, it doesn’t matter so much what our roles are and whether or not we have a high intensity job, are a spouse or parent, etc. Any of us in any of our lives can be crazy busy.¬† I’ll suggest more–we can be crazy busy without even realizing it, because of the choices we are making about how we spend our time. We can be spinning day after day in minutiae and missing the much that God has for us.

A friend who serves as a spiritual director recently posted this quote and I love it because it relates so well to this topic of busyness. She said, “It takes slow to grow.” Oh, that we would be willing to slow down and learn to be comfortable in the slow.

Friends, in the weeks ahead let’s take an honest look at where we’re at with how we spend our days. And as we are honest, let’s be open to hearing from God and placing our lives before him for his continued transformation. We can keep Romans 12:1-2 before us this summer as we consider the issue of busyness and our lives:

Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.=–this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

This topic will take more than a light-hearted and passing glance. Although the book is brief, I’ll suggest that it’s content will give us plenty to chew on as we camp and beach-go, as we sip iced tea and sit around our barbecue grills. It will change our thinking in ways that will stay with us for a lifetime.

Dallas Willard, as he closes his book The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, says the following. It has stayed with me for years.

Now you have studied a number of ways in which we can be with Jesus and with his Father [in this book about the spiritual disciplines]. It is time to take what you have learned and make your own specific plan for your life with them. This will come down to what you do on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. More importantly, at the outset, it will come down to what you do not do, to how you will manage to step out of the everlasting busyness that curses our lives. Didn’t God give you quite enough time to do what he expects you to do? (Careful how you answer that one!)

So, get your book, friends, and together let’s take a look at our everlasting busyness. I am thinking that with Father’s Day this weekend, there are probably some good sales/coupons at local Christian bookstores. And ordering online is also easy. The book retails for $11.99. You could order¬† through the link above.

Get busy reading!

Have you thought about busyness and your life? Has God nudged you to consider it in the past, or is God asking you now?

***Thank you to Elane O’Rourke for your help in locating the quote by Willard. Thank you to Lane Arnold for sharing your words on slowing to grow. I so appreciate you both!

{Thank you to Flickr/David McDonald for the use of your photo!}

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