The "Too Busy" Trap

Every few months or so, I realize that I am suffering from a disease. Specifically: The Busy Disease. Which is not surprising at all. After all, being too busy and too tired and too exhausted and too overwhelmed is The Disease of the Modern Era. 

At the moment, I feel like I am like a kid in the toy store who wants it all! I want to do everything (and I am not doing any one thing particularly well). I want to be a good mom and wife and daughter and sister and friend. I want to excel in my job. I want to have and develop meaningful relationships with people. I want to contribute to our church and to the kids' schools. I want to exercise and read books and write blog posts and browse Facebook and relax. And almost every day has moments where I feel so busy or overwhelmed that I can hardly breathe, or want to cry, or both. 

 
 

I do not work the night shift, nor do I work three minimum wage jobs. I am not a single parent and do not have a deployed spouse. I do not live in the developing world. I have so much less on my plate than so many others. Feeling like I am so busy that I can hardly breathe at times is entirely self-imposed. 

When I think about this situation, my immediate reaction is that I do not know what the solution is. I have made lists to try to think of responsibilities to cull, and all I can think of are things that I would love to add, not cut. Well, I could totally give up all housekeeping - and have tried that before - but would rather keep CPS away. ;) I have tried adding yoga and meditation and journaling, but they end up feeling like yet another box to check in an already crammed day.

Just to complicate things a bit more, I know that for me, deep down inside, being so busy is a way of keeping the threat of depression at bay. I worry that if I were to slow down, instead of feeling a sense of peace and relief, I would only feel emptiness and despair. And I wonder if this is true with anyone else, and if we fill our days with activities and goals and projects so that we can keep our heads above water.
 
This is going to sound so obvious that it’s shocking that I hadn’t thought of this before, but one new revelation I had is that feeling so busy and so overwhelmed is a habit that is easy to keep us away from God’s love. And that feeling of emptiness inside is probably a sign that we need God’s love and connection even more now than before. But if we are so busy trying to fill, fill, fill our days, we end up missing out on the peace and space and connection from sitting quietly in God’s presence.
 
So the next time that I feel so busy and so overwhelmed that I can hardly breathe, I am going to do what seems impossible – stop and take a breath. And then another. And realize that this is God’s way of getting my attention, and that I need to stop what I am doing and turn all of my attention to His love. And what a wonderful new habit that will be.

Amy spends her days as the world's most unorganized accountant professor, and her nights chilling with her crazy, equally unorganized family. She is blessed to be part of a wonderful church family both near and far who pushes her, challenges her, and loves her. Amy loves chocolate, reading, running, and ignoring the dishes.  
You can enjoy more of Amy's incredible writing on her blog 4 is More.