By Juliandra Durkin
Recently, I was struck with an unintentional break from the busyness of my non-stop life the past few weeks, when I started feeling sick and run down with a cold. I had been pushing myself with vigor for exciting, new volunteer and work activities and I think that getting sick was my body’s way of saying, “Enough!”
It is not without reason that the Bible says to take a Sabbath, or a day of rest. A day to recoup and regroup, to spend time with friends and family, and ultimately to commune with God- our bodies, minds, and spirits need rest. I realize this, yet again, after shutting down; rest is a part of staying healthy. Even our culture celebrates this idea of taking a break with the recent Labor Day that just passed, but a day off is not the norm.
So, why all the busyness?
Why the constant emails, work, and driving around like a crazy person some days to fit in “everything” we have to get done? Why are we so busy we don’t know how to rest unless our bodies physically shut down on us? And why do we wear this busyness like a badge of honor that says, “I am accomplishing something important with my life” or maybe it’s the comparison game of “I am more popular and needed because I am so much busier than you”?
At least in my circle, this seems to be the case, and when I think about my life from high school to post college, not much has changed in the sense of feelings that, “If I’m not doing something, I’m not important.”
To be honest, I struggled with this idea for months this year. God really had to work this out in my life, when I didn’t have a “career” job and I felt behind all my friends, who I saw on Facebook accomplishing great things at work, or continuing their education after college. For months, I couldn’t be validated by what I was doing but instead learned from God Himself that I am valuable no matter what I do or accomplish. The fact that He made me is why I am valuable, and no amount of “doing things” will change how He sees me.
So, when blowing my nose, wiping away drippy eyes, and going through boxes of tissues like water, I began thinking once more of busyness. This time, I included my friends and to how I lived before and during college. I noticed that this Busy Badge isn’t something that I struggle with solely. The Busy Badge isn’t localized to an age group or cities like New York “The City that Never Sleeps”. The Busy Badge is a phenomenon that has caught up our generation of men and women everywhere and I wonder why? Is it wanting to be busy because we are lonely? Or maybe, it is desiring success so we work ourselves to the bone till we have it?
It seems we value speed and efficiency, doing more, and one upping our friends with the stories we tell of just how busy we are. It is as if we have to prove to ourselves and to others that we are Superwomen! That we can do it all, on our own, without resting because we don’t have time to rest. That we can handle stress and be more productive than the other people around us.
I also know, as I have a few friends who are married and are new mommy’s, that the busyness of a family makes them feel needed and important. That no one else can complete this task but herself.
Careers, studying, being with friends and family, running around, volunteering, chores, having fun, church activities, eating (often in the car or on the run), exercising, sleeping, checking emails and social media on our phones, and for some young women I know, kids and husbands thrown into the mix, is a lot to juggle! And I’m sure that with my recent brain crash, where the 1,200 tabs that I felt running in my mind at once as I tried to keep it all straight, shut down, I’m not the only girl out there to feel this struggle between time and my to-do list, fighting against each other, in a battle that lands me on the couch sick.
So, during my forced Sabbath week, I realize that rest needs to be built into my schedule, time, and way of life, if I truly want a healthy and God honoring life. And busyness is probably a cover up and code for things like loneliness, fear, and validation for who I am by what I am doing.
That said, how do we create time, when there truly are important tasks to be done throughout the day?
The simplest, yet sometimes hardest thing to do is to say, “No!”
Learning to say “no” to some things, to have better time management and take care of your personal self with proper food, sleep, exercise, and time with God in order to move throughout the day in peace, is so important. And it is something that I am working on within myself.
Saying “no” to friends, volunteer work, social media, Netflix, etc. means saying, “yes” to other important things for my friends, family, and myself. I want to be there for my family and friends. I want to be present in the moment with my best foot forward at work, not feeling wiped out. The people who are important to me, myself, and God deserve me at my best, not running around sporting a self-proclaimed Busy Badge for all to see.
So, let’s put down our Busy Badges and learn to rest. Let’s rethink what rest really is from mundane and lazy, to healthy and wise. Let’s build that into our lives despite all the other really great things that we can be doing with our time. And let’s learn to say “no.” These are encouragements I’d urge you to consider for yourselves, dear women.
Take it from the sick girl on the couch, resting by your own accord, instead of by your body’s making you stop from the busyness is so much simpler and better way of life. After all, even God laid down His work and rested on the 7th day at the dawn of creation.
Juliandra Durkin is the manager for Wonderfully Made’s blog Know Your Value. She also writes at Written Jewels, a personal blog with stories and reflections on life. Juliandra has a love of nature and exercise- walking her dogs in the woods and recently training for triathlons. Give her a beach or a mountain, sunrise or sunset, she loves it all! A graduate of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA, Juliandra has degrees in Spanish Language and Communication Studies, where she was able to attend three study abroad programs exploring the culture in Spain, the Middle East, and Mexico. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her family and volunteers at her local church working with the youth.