By the end of the last school year, I felt depleted and exhausted. The guilt of not spending enough quality time with my family settled deep in my heart. I felt overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities that were placed on my shoulders – both responsibilities that were mine, and the responsibilities that belonged to others. My faulty characteristic of being over-responsible was kicking in again. And it took more time and energy than I had left.
We are all busy, there’s no doubt about it. We think we get almost through our ‘to-do’ list only to add more things onto it. As I scrolled through the handful of new books that were available to me to review, this one title caught my eye…and my heart. Doing Busy Better: Enjoying God’s Gifts of Work and Rest. It is written by Glynnis Whitwer, and author I hadn’t heard of before…but I knew the large ministry she worked with – Proverbs 31 Ministries! So, I ordered it. And it was good. So good. For my heart.
I was given a copy of the book by Nuts About Books in exchange for a review on my blog.
As soon as I started reading Glynnis’ book, I could totally relate to her. It’s hard to say ‘no’ to requests for so many reasons. I fear there will be no one else to do them. I am afraid of backlash – something so ingrained in me it is almost impossible to purge. Or maybe I will be left out, miss something. Glynnis is honest in her ‘why’ of having an over-busy life. I love that she doesn’t sugarcoat things.
Right from the beginning, she explains that we all benefit somehow with an over-busy life. We might pretend or act like we don’t – or maybe we don’t even see it for what it is – but there is a benefit. We feel important or valued. Or perhaps it is power and influence. Control. Earning God’s love or approval. It can be any number of things. Glynnis shared her driving force…and I knew it was the same as mine. There is an “internal wiring to be responsible”. She went on to describe her childhood – forever the responsible one. The dependable person. Oh, yeah, that was me!
Over-responsibility isn’t all there is. There is also guilt. This seems to go hand-in-hand with being over-responsible. If I didn’t perform as I should, I would be met with the extreme disappointment of others. Guilt is such a difficult emotion to overcome. It still almost consumes me when I say ‘no’. I appreciated what Glynnis said about guilt:
We are assuming guilt for things we haven’t done wrong. This false guilt is crippling because there’s nothing for God to forgive, so we never have the sense of forgiveness. We condemn ourselves and live with a quiet sense of shame and failure. (Whitwer, 32)
And right after that paragraph, she reminds the reader of what Romans 8:1 says. She also reminds us that true rest is only found in Jesus Christ as we are in His presence.
And rest is good. Resting in the Lord is so good.
Being Versus Doing
Glynnis continuously drives home the point that being busy isn’t bad. In fact, it is good. It is healthy and God-honoring to be busy. She went on to talk about ‘Being versus Doing”. This was such a great chapter for me. She included this quote from Carol Brazo:
I was always worried about what I was doing. God’s only concern was and I what I am being – a child of His, forgiven, justified by the work of His Son, His heir. (42)
Isn’t that so good?
And then here is what I desperately needed to hear this past summer – a summer fraught with frustration and irritation with one of my kids because they weren’t performing as I wanted them to.
God’s acceptance of us, and hence our identity, is not defined by our actions. So we will never be a ‘failure’ when our performance doesn’t match our expectations. When we reassign the source of our value and worth to its rightful place, we will be free from fear of failure or the opinions of others. (45)
I saw how I was setting my daughter up for the same trap of over-busy that I was stuck in. I apologized to her the second I was able to.
Busy is Best
In chapter 4, Glynnis talks about the benefits of being busy in a healthy way. She discusses the Proverbs 31 woman (I love learning from her!). She points out that the foundation of everything this amazing woman does is because of her fear of the Lord. Out of her desire to worship Him, she works heartily.
Glynnis then talks about the creation story. I love how she applies practical wisdom to busyness with God’s work! She shows us that “God focused his attention on a few things each day”. What a beautiful model He has given to us! God could have easily created the entire earth within seconds. Probably even less. But He chose to do it over 6 days so that we could apply His work ethic to our own lives. He is so good.
Glynnis gets into other topics and ideas in her book such as rest, conditions of unhealthy busyness, the condition of our hearts, and practical tips to help us incorporate – and maintain – a healthy balance of work and rest in our lives.
If you are a woman who feels over-extended with busyness, drowning in that sense of shame and guilt, or just want some tips on creating balance, Doing Busy Better will help you do just that.