I read an article in the Summer 2020 women’s magazine Just Between Us entitled Journaling as a Spiritual Practice: Tracking God’s Faithfulness in Your Life. In the article, author Helen Cipero outlines life using the compass directions. North is God. East is what is emerging in your life. South is your calling or passion. And, West is what is setting or changing in your life. While a simple exercise, looking at the compass of my life clarified that my two most important priorities in my life are God and family. However, when I looked at how I had been spending my time, it was obvious that something was out of order. The truth is when we say yes to something, we also say no to something else. And, unfortunately, I was saying no to God and family a lot.
I realized that many of my yes decisions were and continue to be based on the belief that I need to be “busy” in order to be viewed as worthy, competent, or responsible. Or, if I am a good Christian woman, I will be a servant and use my gifts to help others. What I didn’t see was that when I do these things not out of God’s power I am really not working for Him, but rather engaging in people-pleasing. Those beliefs are not real and create misplaced and misleading expectations on my schedule. They also make me lose my way, they disorientate my compass. They certainly keep me distracted from creating God Space in my life.
While I still struggle and will probably always struggle with this tendency, I have tried to implement what I call the “pause”. When I am asked to do something that is outside my “normal” I use a new normal automatic response which is either “Thank you for asking, I need to pray about this request” or “Thank you for asking, I need a few days to think about this request and review my schedule”. It’s a small, but significant change in my behavior that has provided a steadier compass for me and the ability to be more intentional every day. It helps me to recognize that I am not a victim of busyness, but rather I have the power of choice.
How do you manage busyness? We would love to hear about your tried and true methods of managing busyness.
Contributed by Liz Hunt