Busy, busy, busy!

RoundTuitHave you got a ‘Round Tuit’? I have seen a number placed strategically above work colleagues desks, probably given to them by someone exasperated that a backlog of work has been piling up. Whenever they get asked when a job will be completed the reponse is always ‘When I get a round tuit’  Problem solved! They now have a ‘Round Tuit’ – no more excuses!

The humour relies on the fact that we all feel so busy that we are run off our feet. How many retired folk have you met who are now so busy that they wonder where on earth they found time to go to work! As we move into November many will have a sense of foreboding regarding all that needs to be completed before the busyness of Christmas.

Busyness in itself is not a problem, and there are countless self help resources to advise you on how to manage your time more effectively.  The real issue is what lies behind our busyness? Often people feel trapped by their busyness and yet for many it is of their own making. There are 6 root causes of busyness:   a desire to prove ourselves, to meet other people’s expectations, to control our lives, to hide from our problems, to find satisfaction in possessions, or to make the most of this life. You can prioritise your to do list, even reduce your responsibilities but unless you deal with the root causes you will feel overwhelmed by the disease of busyness which is endemic in our society.

Jesus said Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’  (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV). Interestingly, Jesus answer to being weary and heavy laden is not the absence of burden altogether. Rather he invites us to share the burden. The answer to the disease of busyness is not better time management, rather it is to lean into Jesus and place our trust in him.

In his book, The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness, Tim Chester writes: ‘More often than not, those who complain about their busyness are those who are not finding their joy in God. And those who rejoice in God as their Saviour, Master, Provider, Refuge, Joy and Hope do not find their busyness a burden’.

So next time you find yourself talking about how busy you are, don’t wish for a ‘Round Tuit’ rather focus your eyes on Jesus to share the burden.

This blog post featured in the November 2013 edition of Lifelines

The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness – by Tim Chester 

The BusyChristiansGuideToBusyness Have you noticed that when people greet each other saying ‘How are you?’ a frequent response is ‘I’m busy!’ In this book Tim Chester addresses the busyness that afflicts 21st century Christians, particularly those who live in the post industrialised world. In the opening chapter he identifies the symptoms of the disease, demonstrating with alarming accuracy the many attitudes and behaviours that are associated with being over-busy. I was particularly challenged by the thought that intentional or not stating ‘I am busy’ pushes people away, the decoded message being that ‘I am too important to spend time with you’. Ouch!

He goes on to show how the disease of busyness its roots in the systemic changes in the patterns of work and rest that have evolved from the pre industrial era, through the industrial age into the present post-industrialised world that exists in countries like the UK.

No book on busyness would quite be complete without some practical hints on time management, and this is no exception. Indeed many readers will recognise the tips given from other specialist guides on the subject. Where Tim Chester’s book differs, and in my view wins, is that he regards these tools as addressing the symptoms rather than treating the disease.

The second half of the book comprises 6 chapters, each addressing the attitudes of our hearts that incline us to embrace the tyranny of busyness. The crux of the argument is that busyness is not something imposed upon us by forces outside our control. Rather we are driven by desires within our own spirit that we subconsciously believe are satisfied by busyness. As a result we have a love hate relationship with being busy. We loath the stress and burn out that it causes yet crave the significance that it seductively seems to offer. The solution is to accept the rest that Jesus offers those who are weary and burdened. To allow him to satisfy those desires and cravings in our hearts in a way that busyness never will. The antidote to busyness is not doing less, or being more efficient, it is to place our trust completely in Christ.

This is one of those books that the people who most need to read it will claim that they can’t afford the time!

Buy The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness from Amazon UK
Buy The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness from Amazon US

One Life. What’s it all about?

YOLO! This acronym was popularised by the Canadian rapper, Drake, through his 2011 song ‘The Motto’. The letters stand for the phrase “you only live once” and imply that one should enjoy life, even if that means taking risks and making mistakes. The philosophy that all we have is one life so we should aim to make the most of it is not new one, at different times throughout history people have advocated living for the moment. Classically the idea was expressed by the Latin phrase “carpe diem” penned by the poet Horace who lived between 85 – 8 BC.

While you are having fun YOLO can seem quite an attractive philosophy, but at some point the pursuit of happiness can start to seem hollow or life can become tough for some reason. It is at those times that we may begin to wonder “what’s it all about?” The Catholic thinker, writer and apologist G.K. Chesterton in his book ‘What’s Wrong with the World’ wrote “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”

Followers of Jesus believe that there is more to life than our brief human existence and that true purpose and meaning is found by following him. Many people have heard about Christian belief but have never really explored it for themselves which is why starting in October we are running the ‘Christianity Explored’ course which aims to help us understand the claims of Jesus though the window of Mark’s gospel. You are welcome to join us on Wednesday or Thursday evenings (whichever suit you best) for coffee and cake at 7:45pm in Life Church Centre. We will watch a short video presented by Rico Tice and then discuss what we have just seen. If you would like to join us then please contact cecourse@lifechurchhook.org

This blog post featured in the October 2013 edition of Hook Focus