Our recent post on a study linking teenage depression to bedtimes drew a healthy discussion in the comment section. One reader named Micaela asked a question about “busyness” — and we thought it was important enough to share with you.
Micaela wrote: “I have question. The purpose of the rebelution is to encourage young people to “do hard things” and to “rebel against the low expectations of today’s culture.” I think this is absolutely wonderful, and I have a few ideas brewing on how I am going to do this. But how can you tell the difference between doing “hard things” and just plain doing too much?”
Micaela’s question gets to the heart of what it means to “manage our time” for the glory of God. As Christians we must live our lives with proper understanding of the preciousness of time (we’ll post about this next week), but in Micaela’s case, also grasp the difference between busyness and fruitfulness.
As Alex and I have wrestled through this same issue in our lives, we have been well-served by C.J. Mahaney’s seventeen-part blog series on Biblical Productivity. God used this man to convict us of being busy procrastinators and hectic sluggards and to help us to re-align our priorities to achieve “biblical productivity.” Below is an excerpt from the first installment. See if it whets your appetite for more:
Lazy? Not me. I’m busy. Up early, up late. My schedule is filled from beginning to end. I love what I do and I love getting stuff done. I attack a daily to-do list with the same intensity I play basketball. Me lazy? I don’t think so!
Or at least I didn’t think so. That is, until I read about the difference between busyness and fruitfulness, and realized just how often my busyness was an expression of laziness, not diligence.
I forget now who first brought these points to my attention. But the realization that I could be simultaneously busy and lazy, that I could be a hectic sluggard, that my busyness was no immunity from laziness, became a life-altering and work-altering insight. What I learned is that:
- Busyness does not mean I am diligent
- Busyness does not mean I am faithful
- Busyness does not mean I am fruitful
Recognizing the sin of procrastination, and broadening the definition to include busyness, has made a significant alteration in my life. The sluggard can be busy—busy neglecting the most important work, and busy knocking out a to-do list filled with tasks of secondary importance.
If you feel you suffer from busyness — and especially if you automatically equate busyness with productivity — we would strongly encourage you to read Mr. Mahaney’s entire series. In the meantime, join in the conversation in the comment section. How would you answer Micaela’s question? What is the difference between “doing hard things” and just doing too much?