This almost always follows the comment when I tell folks how many kids I have.
Six, in case you’re wondering. I have six kids.
While my answers have changed over time, I’m really starting to hate that question because of one simple thing: as a society, we have glorified “busy” and it makes me nuts.
Let’s be honest, y’all. We are ALL busy. We all have to eat which involves shopping, cooking, making and cleaning up breakfast/lunch/dinner. We all wear clothes which involves buying, saving, cleaning, folding and hanging up said garments. We all have a home somewhere which involves repairing, renting, paying, decorating and loving our humble abodes. We all feed our minds which involves working, studying, testing, reading and using our brains. We all move ourselves from one place to another which involves driving, waiting and attending to our mode of transportation. We all have friends and family who love us which involves tending, nurturing and lifting up those we adore. And, we all tend to our physical bodies which involves exercising, rehabilitating, medicating or working the temple which God has given us.
In short: if you’re alive, you’re busy doing something.
We have made busy our crutch, our excuse, our trophy, our barometer of success, our social media status and our sole reason for existing. Too many times, we get sucked into the machine. We say ‘yes’ too many times and we find ourselves drowning in to-do lists and carpool, meetings and obligations. Some of them are worthy and some of them just serve our egos.
Let’s be honest.
We’ve stopped doing the one most important thing: discernment. We’ve quit asking ourselves if this activity, this thing, this event, this commitment, will lead us closer to Christ or closer to our worship of self. Ouch. Those are hard questions, people.
The beauty of having six kids is that I can no longer sweep the hard questions of life under the proverbial rug. If I say yes to everything, I might as well lie down right now and let the world trample all over me. I’ll have nothing left to give. Maybe you don’t have six kids so your AHA! moment came in a critical health diagnosis, a spiritual awareness, the death of someone you love, a desire to slow life down or just better senses than I had ten years ago.
Stop telling other people you’re busy (newsflash, we all are) and be honest. Are you busy enough or are you too busy? Because if you’re too busy, then get off the train. Last I checked – and I have scoured the internet for it – there is no award for the busiest person alive.
There are seasons of our life that have been too busy, usually right after we have a baby. Sleep deprivation will do that to a person. But we’ve quickly reassessed because the call of sleep was so strong and we bowed out of things left and right. And that felt good. I’m not advocating you strip your life down to nothing (but if you do, no shame!). Rather, I’m encouraging you to ask yourself why you’re doing something. If your answer has any of the following – peer pressure, a desire to stay ahead, fear of failure, forced obligation, guilt, fear no one else will do it, etc. – then you might want to put that one to prayer and get real with those answers. I did it this week and bam, was I humbled.
A few months ago, I was chatting with a mom about select sports. We’d been approached by a coach and while we were flattered, we were pretty adamant that it wasn’t for our family. The expense and time away alone were deal breakers for us even though this kid is a talented athlete. She said something to me that my brain has on repeat: “I wish we had followed our instincts back then. If I could do it all over again, I would’ve chosen time together as a family than spending our efforts and our finances on something we eventually gave up.” I’m not demonizing athletics at all. Her comment was really directed at intention. They said yes to something that tore away at the nucleus of their family.
How many things are tearing away at yours?
We’re not a perfect family and only a marginally cool one, at that. But we are an honest one. Oh man, are we honest. The decisions around here aren’t always popular but we always strive to be intentional. I am begging you to have the same aspirations for your family.
At the end of the day, are you busy enough loving your family or are you too busy to even notice they exist?