I know you’re probably too busy to read this article, but what if taking five minutes to read it could reverse the ministry busyness in your life?
Somehow, we’ve arrived at a point where we think that the more we do, the more spiritual we become. If we’re doing more for God, we must somehow be making God happier with us. After all, how could God be displeased with someone who is running around frantically trying to get more done for Him and His glory?
The fact is, most of us are busy. Way too busy.
What to Do When You’re Too Busy
Being too busy is a very bad thing. That much is obvious. But what to do about it introduces a Pandora’s Box of complications. Any enumerated list of “ways not to be busy,” or “how to get more done,” is usually unsatisfactory, simplistic, and unrealistic. Rather than a list of more “dos,” here are a few pointers.
1. Say “No.” It is powerful.
Competent leaders are those who know how to say “no.” There is nothing wrong with saying “no” to things, even good things, even things that may seem to provide more ministry opportunity. “No” is a weapon of defense against the encroachment of a vigor-sapping busyness. Say it. Do it
2. Delegate more. This is even more powerful.
In addition to the power technique of “no,” you can employ the power technique of delegation. Obviously, you want to avoid making your busyness someone else’s busyness in the name of delegation, but you can and should share responsibilities among others. You may be one of those leaders who thinks that “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done at all.” Or you may think, “If it’s going to get done right, I have to do it.” If you operate on this assumption, first you are being very prideful. Second, you are being very selfish by refusing to give other people the opportunity to learn and grow. Third, you’re going to be way too busy. Be brave and delegate. It’s good for you and good for others.
3. Don’t just escape busyness. Exercise stewardship over your whole life.
Often we tend toward a flawed assumption in the discussion of busyness. We somehow think that if we try to rid ourselves of busyness, we are simply trying to escape a difficult situation. As this thinking goes, “escapism” is cowardly, shameful, and weak. Regardless of what others think, you should adopt the stewardship mentality. Rather than “escaping” from pressure, you are excusing yourself from certain things because of the stewardship principle. You must be a good steward of your soul, of your family, of your health, and of your ministry. Excusing yourself from the busyness is simply good stewardship.
4. Be brutal to your schedule, not to people.
When we realize that we’re too busy, one of the first things that we naturally do is look at our schedules to see what we can ax. Usually, we come up with nothing. So, we dive back into the busyness, burning ourselves out once more. In order to reduce your busyness, being brutal with your schedule is necessary. Some things just need to go. On the other hand, be gentle with people. It is unwise to just up and leave a crisis counseling situation because you’re too busy. In these cases, gentleness is advised, and delegation is encouraged. When it comes to the point where people must be dismissed from your schedule, it should never be your family. Keep your family at the top of your priority list.
5. Stick to the basics.
Leadership and ministry get complicated and messy, but some things never change. Love God. Love people. The basics of the ministry are still the basics, and you ought never to get away from these core fundamentals, no matter the busyness. It is refreshing to gain a perspective of ministry that cuts away at tradition, entertainment, hype, and pride. Busyness is one of those false spiritualities that you need to dismiss. Get back to the basics.
Do not underestimate the power of prayer. Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Bring your concerns, worries, anxiety and even your busyness to God. No matter how busy you are, make time to pray.
Sometimes it’s not so much the busyness that is the problem, but our response to that busyness. Bow to God’s sovereignty in every aspect of life. Sometimes, we have to slog through busy seasons of life. In these situations, submit to God’s sovereignty, and maintain the mindset that devotion to Jesus is of utmost importance.