Busyness and Delight

How many times have I approached a friend or acquaintance that I haven’t seen in some time, ask them how they have been, and their response is, “Busy!” Too often, right? We have grown so accustomed to the response that we have forgotten that “busy” is not a “how” word, but a “what” word. And even though it isn’t even a grammatically correct response, it falls familiar on our reciprocating ears.

We, too, have been busy; we, too, have reflected briefly on how we are doing only to conjure to mind the many items on our to-do list. Life is busy. There is no way around it. I am busy. You are busy. Our days are full and time is always a coveted commodity. There are many good things to be done, many good things to add to our to-do list.

But the problem with busyness, I have found, is that it always edges out delight.

When I am the busiest I find I have the least amount of delight in life; when I have the most to do I enjoy the things I am doing the least. It’s ironic: we are a culture practically addicted to a busy lifestyle, but when we give ourselves fully to the rapid pace it requires, delight is sapped up and squeezed out. But we are well-trained citizens of this busy world, and we can live without delight for a while. Just as long as everything is getting done, we can get by without enjoying it. Unfortunately, the loss of delight isn’t the only sacrifice we’ll find of the road of the busy life. Soon enough, devotion wanes as well. Devotion: that adore for the cause, loyalty to the God who called us to the to-dos, that fidelity to the faith.

I have found that when busyness becomes my norm, not only does delight fly out the window, but the devotion is close behind.

And while we can convince ourselves to live without delight, we cannot life without devotion. So what do we do when we find ourselves here? When we are keeping up with the hurried pace of a busy life, not knowing what can be cut out (if anything), and knowing that we need to reinvest in our devotion but don’t know how, what do we do? You know, devotion is an ambivalent thing. We know when we have devotion and we know when we don’t, but we don’t always know how to get it. Devotion builds slowly over time, but it doesn’t come with an instruction manual.

Maybe I am over-simplifying things. Maybe I am being too practical. But I want to argue that if busyness edges out delight which edges our devotion, then to return to devotion we need to start by returning to delight. Like a set of stairs, one leading to the next, when we find ourselves at the bottom we need to go back the way we came. We need to retrace our steps, if you will. And it is my hope and prayer that as we choose delight in the midst of our busyness, devotion we will fester there again. And that is part of the purpose of this blog. I hope to choose some small forms of delight, incorporate them into my every-day, busy life, and share them with you. I am choosing delight in the daily chores, in the small circumstances. I am choosing to be delight in the life, world, family, community, and blessings our good God has given to me. I am delighting His good gifts, and taking the time to notice them.

And I pray that you will do the same. And you know what I suspect? Devotion won’t be far behind.

Leave a comment