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Why Are We So Busy?

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Whenever I ask someone how they are doing I usually get the reply: "I'm good, but I'm really busy." Very rarely do I hear someone say, "I'm not very busy."

Busyness

Why are we so busy? I believe we are living in times where people are more restless and distracted than ever before.

People are Restless.

In his book Crazy Busy, Kevin DeYoung, gave a prime example of how busy we are.

"In 1967 there was testimony before a Senate Subcommittee that claimed that by 1985 the average work week in America would be just 22 hours, or that people would only have to work 27 weeks a year. They saw a vast improvement in technology was approaching where computers, satellites, and robotics would remove menial aspects of work and deliver more opportunities for rest and relaxation. Instead, Americans lead the industrialized world in annual work hours. Our annual work hours have increased from 1,716 hours in 1967 to 1,878 hours in 2000. Our world has become far more complex than ever before. Because we can do so much we do so much."

Think about it. Because of the increase in technology, we can't seem to turn work off. You bring work home with you on your iphone as you check emails, reply to text messaging, and answer phone calls. The expectation from many companies is to reply quickly, even during off-hours.

A recent report revealed the average American takes less vacation, works longer hours, and retires later compared to anyone in the industrialized world (compared to English, French, Germans, & Japanese).

The demands of jobs, the stress of making ends meet, and an unpredictable economy have caused people to constantly work.

People Are Distracted.

Not only are we restless, but we are living in a time where there are so many distractions. Recently I spoke with a Radio Disc Jockey who told me in 1968 the average tv sound bite for an interview on the news from a reporter was 1 minute. This meant that if someone was interviewed about a particular story, you would see them on the news for at least 1 minute with 1 camera angle.

Now, guess what the average sound bite is? 7 seconds!

When you watch movies and TV shows, normally within 7-8 seconds, you’ll have a different camera angle or a set change. This is because people get bored seeing the same things, and they get easily distracted with other things.

What distracts you? Text messages on your phone, children crying, dogs barking, the email chiming?

With us being restless and easily distracted, I'm concerned we are not taking care of our souls. I'm concerned our spiritual lives are getting the leftovers.

Because we are so busy and distracted, many of us may end up living by the old Alabama Country Song that says,

“I’m in a hurry to get things done, oh, I rush and rush until life’s no fun. All I really do is live and die, I’m in a hurry I don’t know why.”

If you're reading this and can relate, please be intentional to make time to do the following...

  • Rest - There is a reason God rested on the 7th Day, the Sabbath. Most stores are open on Sunday. When you are off from work, take the day to rest. That's what God designed it to be (Exodus 20:8-10).
  • Solitude - This is so hard for people to do in a distracted world. Carve out 1 or 2 days out of your calendar to get away by yourself and spend time with God. Spend time to think, reflect on your spiritual life and goals, and even meditate on God's Word (Mark 1:35).
  • Pray - The busier Jesus was, the more He prayed (Mark 1:32-35; Mark 6:45-46). Martin Luther was known to say, "I have so much to do today that I'm going to need to spend 3 hours in prayer in order to be able to get it all done."

If you do these 3 things well, it will help you concentrate on what really matters. These 3 things are the cure to our "hurry sickness."

I preached on this topic a year ago. Check it out here.

 

1 Comment

Yes, Jesus, after healing people all night, withdrew to pray when morning came. He was super busy but still took time out to recharge with God. That must be our priority too - and Lord please forgive me when it's not!

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