Thursday, November 17, 2011

Avoid Life - Be Busy

A few weeks ago I shared some of my thoughts on busyness. It prevents us from spending time with God, breaks down our relationships and hinders our spiritual growth.

If we know this is a side effect of leading hectic lives, why do we do it? Why can’t we say no? Why do we schedule every minute of our work week and every minute of our weekend so we hardly have time to eat, sleep and breathe, let alone rest, relax and rejuvenate?

Busyness becomes an excuse. We use it as an avoidance tactic. We hide behind busyness so we don’t have to face truth or circumstances in our lives that make us uncomfortable. Perhaps as a short term coping mechanism busyness is effective. But if it’s used on a long term basis it becomes damaging.

If we’re too busy we don’t give ourselves time we need to reflect on problems in our lives. We don’t have time to address outstanding issues and to heal our emotional or psychological wounds.

I think women are masters at using busyness as a tool.  Here are a few examples you might recognize:
  • After a separation a women intentionally schedules all her free time so she doesn’t have to think about her broken relationship.
  • A single woman pours herself into work and fitness so she doesn’t feel the empty, loneliness of the house around her.
  • Someone else spends evenings and weekends with friends and takes night courses to avoid giving in to self-damaging behaviour when she’s home by herself.
  • A single mom becomes a “super volunteer” with parent/teacher associations and school functions to fill the void of losing her husband.
  • When her youngest child moves out of the house a mother spends all her free time volunteering for the church so she doesn’t hear the silence of the “empty nest”.
This fall I had an unusually busy travel schedule for work. While I didn’t intentionally plan it, the busyness allowed me to avoid thinking about my step-mother’s breast cancer diagnosis.  As long as work consumed my time I didn’t think about the inevitable chemotherapy treatments. I lost my mother to cancer when I was fifteen and I remember how the chemo affected her.  The thought of my step-mother going through that absolutely horrified me.

Sooner or later we all have to slow down and deal with reality. It’s not healthy to stay too busy. It’s not healthy to run away or pretend our problems don’t exist. The only way to deal with them is to face them, admit we have no control over the situation and ask for help if we need it.

Sometimes this means getting professional coaching or counseling. It could be as simple as taking some quiet time to work things through in your own mind. Perhaps it’s something we haven’t taken to God in prayer. We need to pour out our worries to Him and spend time in silent reflection listening to the Holy Spirit whispering to us while we feel God’s peace wrap around us, soothing and warm as an electric blanket.

None of these things are possible if we persist as hamsters on the wheel of life. Are you busy today because you’re avoiding a circumstance in your life? Do you need to make time in your schedule for quiet reflection? Is it time to take steps to resolve the problem once and for all? Don’t wait any longer, start today.

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1 comment:

Cindy Palin said...

Thank you Carol for reminding us to take time to talk to God, still ourselves, and stop being scurrying little hampsters on the wheel of life!