Saturday, September 12, 2015

Book #29: Crazy Busy

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Amazon synopsis:
“I’M TOO BUSY!” We’ve all heard it. We’ve all said it. All too often, busyness gets the best of us.
Just one look at our jam-packed schedules tells us how hard it can be to strike a well-reasoned balance between doing nothing and doing it all.
That’s why award-winning author and pastor Kevin DeYoung addresses the busyness problem head on in his newest book, Crazy Busy — and not with the typical arsenal of time management tips, but rather with the biblical tools we need to get to the source of the issue and pull the problem out by the roots.
This book came highly recommended from a couple of friends. I don't consider myself an exceptionally busy person. In fact, I'll tell pretty much anyone that I'm boring and lame and have loads of free time that I spend on the Internet or Netflix. But said friends convinced me it would still be a good read . . . and they were right.

The subheading of this book is "A (mercifully) short book about a (really) big problem." Love it. It was mercifully short, while still packing in a ton of useful information and relatable anecdotes. It's a super easy read, not bogged down by burdensome theology or philosophical waxing. And it was actually really funny.

I loved his chapter on parenting. The tagline is "You need to stop freaking out about your kids." He talks about how we make parenting so much more difficult than necessary, piling on more burdens than anyone needs to bear. I loved this part:
It's all so involved. There are so many rules and expectations. Parenting may be the last bastion of legalism. Not just in the church, but in our culture. We live in a permissive society that won't count any sin against you as an adult, but will count the calories in your kids' hot lunches.I keep hearing that kids aren't supposed to eat sugar anymore. What a world! (67, emphasis mine)
Seriously! I try to take a relaxed approach to parenting, (my kids eat sugar!) but I constantly struggle with the guilt that I'm being judged or ruining my kids. The whole chapter had many great points about how we as parents give ourselves more power than we should. There are very few things we can do to truly screw up our kids. Similarly, there is nothing we can do to ensure with a 100% success rate that our kids will grow up to be godly followers of Christ. It reminded me again of one of my favorite phrases: I am not my child's Holy Spirit!

There was another great chapter on "screen obsession" and our social-media-obsessed-age. This is something I really struggle with. I think it's so pretentious when people totally "unplug" from social media. Like, "Oh, I'm too godly for facebook. I can't believe you worthless pagans spend so much time scrolling through statuses when you could be reading your Bible." (There might be some underlying bitterness there.) But I've been feeling more and more convicted lately about the sheer amount of time I spend on the Internet. I honestly feel like it's the focus of my whole day, and I get annoyed with my kids and husband for getting in the way of my Internet time. (This is humbling to admit.) I feel like I'm too busy to read my Bible, clean the house, or make a decent dinner. But I somehow find 8 hours a day to spend on facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. DeYoung's chapter wasn't condemning or condescending. It was just a reminder of how easy it is to get sucked in and waste our lives away on things that are so unimportant.

The interesting thing about this book is that it doesn't lay out a "plan for action" per se. There's no 10-step program to stress-free living. The closest DeYoung gets is the title of his last chapter: "The One Thing You Must Do." The "one thing" isn't learning to say no to commitments or making the perfect daily schedule or even "committing your plans to the Lord" (Proverbs 16:3). The one thing is spending time with Jesus - making him your number one priority. It's something I keep coming back to over and over again. I love how DeYoung admits that "daily devotions" can be one of the strongholds of legalism. He carefully addresses that and ends the book by saying that we'll never change by willpower alone.
We have to believe that hearing from God is our good portion. We have to believe that the most significant opportunity before us every day is the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus.We won't rearrange our priorities unless we really believe this is the best one. (115)
He points out that we try so hard to fill ourselves with earthly, temporal pleasures - and busyness. But we deprive ourselves of that which is the biggest blessing - sitting at Jesus' feet. He ends the book with this:
We won't say no to more craziness until we can say yes to more Jesus. We will keep choosing dinner rolls over the bread of life. We will choose the fanfare of the world over the feet of Jesus. We will choose busyness over blessing . . . It's not wrong to be tired. It's not wrong to feel overwhelmed . . . What is wrong - and heartbreakingly foolish and wonderfully avoidable - is to live a life with more craziness than we want because we have less Jesus than we need. (118)
Whew! My thoughts on the book were almost longer than the book itself! I don't have a very good habit of keeping things "mercifully short." Sorry!

3 comments:

  1. Rocky asked if I could get this book for him from the library and he's been reading it over the last week. I've been meaning to pick it up too. We've read others of his books and really liked them, and hope to get over to East Lansing to hear him preach some Sunday morning!

    As for screen time, it's something I really struggle with too. One thing that has helped has been to take a "screen Sabbath". Throughout the summer we would be unplugged for the whole Sunday (obviously would answer phone calls or texts if needed, but no computer or smartphone or tv). I should get into that habit again (not necessarily on Sundays) - it made me appreciate the rest of the week the times we did have screens, and made it more purposeful than mindless.

    One more book to go huh? :)

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  2. Glad to see it proved beneficial! Good review--you should post these thorough reviews on Amazon.

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  3. Have you read DeYoungs "Just Do Something" - it's a short/quick read but I liked it as well for those reasons. Nice review. I haven't read this book and may need to now. I loved the last two quotes you pulled. Convicting.

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