5 Questions to Ask When You’re “CRAZY Busy”

“We’ve just been so CRAZY busy!”

I have a friend whose emails contain this phrase along with profuse apologies about her perpetual stress level almost every single time she writes me.

Sometimes I want to shout at the computer “Well STOP DOING so much!”

Brene Brown says exhaustion is the new status symbol. If we don’t feel overwhelmed we must not be doing something important.  Are you buying into that?

I want to tell my crazy busy friend about my sister-in-law who realized that they had had so many people visiting their lake cabin over the past few years that none of their family was actually able to enjoy it.  They were always hosting someone else, so she called a moratorium for this one summer.  A time out.  To that I say “Bravo!”  It can be done.

But I also realize how hard it must be to think of disappointing friends who don’t have lake homes and who look forward to visiting every year.  Boundaries are not without their downside.  They take courage and resolve.

As I’ve been thinking about my friend and my sister-in-law, 5 Questions have come to mind that might be helpful to ask ourselves when we’re “CRAZY Busy”:

1.  How does this level of busyness affect the state of my soul? Really.  Am I at my best at these rpm’s?  How much does my busyness feed my false self – the part of me that needs to be validated by my achievements?

2.  Is this just a season (temporary), or is it an on-going pattern of over-extending myself?

3.  Why have I said “yes” to each of these commitments?  Which have I said “yes” to out of fear or a need to prove something?  Examine your commitments one by one.

4.  Do I have choices where I may have been making excuses? (Ex.: I have to work on the sr. high school party because I did it when our other child was a sr.)

5.  Who are the right people to disappoint?

I’d really love to just sit down and have a conversation with you about this over a DQ Blizzard because I’d like to hear your thoughts too.

What do you think?  Is there one person you feel like you need to be willing to disappoint in order to have a healthier rhythm of life?

Need a little more encouragement?  You are not a victim.  You own your choices. Learn from Bob Goff who tries to quit something every Thursday.photo-157



Defining the Relationship

As I write this we’re in London with some of our closest friends, heading to a board meeting where our husbands will work, and the wives will continue to play. We pray for them and drink tea.  Or wine.  It’s an arrangement I’m partial to.  


Anyway, I wrote this post (below) a week or so ago and as I read back over it this morning before hitting “publish”, I think it is true, and hopefully helpful, but like most things, it’s certainly not the whole story.

We are blessed beyond belief with the relationships God has given us.  If they are healthy, they ebb and flow.  We weep together in one season and laugh together in another.  Sometimes those seasons are one and the same.  We give and take, rant and chatter and share vulnerably.  We listen, and pray.  A lot.  We gather around a table or show up to help each other move or we write a note. We are all resourceful, important, trainable, nice, draining people…and somehow in the midst of doing life together we are changed.  We are iron sharpening iron and I am so grateful that God has given us all to each other.

It seems like there’s been a recurring theme in a bunch of my conversations lately.  It’s the DTR theme, and I don’t mean in the dating sense of the word. Continue reading

Coming up For Air

This morning I sit across from John at Starbucks early.  I keep hearing deep sighs as he sips his skim white mocha.  There’s a mixture of snow and rain coming down outside.  The fire is on in the fireplace, which is the reason for my sighs, but not his.

We just returned from several days of meetings in one setting and he is heading into a long day of meetings in another.  New place, new set of challenges.  He’s trying to ignore the clamoring emails and choose the daily disciplines of devotions and journalling.  It’s a struggle because… there’s just.so.much.

I’m privileged to have a lot of close friends who are world class leaders.  They are humble but brave.  They are wise and trust God for great things.  They are kingdom bringers.  And somedays they make mistakes, and most days they’re praying like crazy for discernment, and many days they are under a tremendous amount of pressure.  Lately it seems even more stressful than usual.  And they’re facing a lot of situations that feel “between a rock and a hard place-ish”.

“World class leader” may not describe you or me, but we all get into seasons when we’re in over out head.  Whether you’re a student or a CEO or a mom or you just feel like you’ve been holding your breath for too long, I want to stand up and shout Continue reading

Christmas Lists

I love making lists.

And I’ve been making a lot of them lately.

To-do lists, grocery lists, lists of goals, and especially Christmas lists of gifts, and party planning, and elf-like stuff.

I think one reason we make lists is because we like the illusion of control it gives us.  It says “I have a plan!”  We get to check things off, accomplish things (and yes, I’ve been known to do something and then add it to my list so I could check it off).

But sometimes those lists are the very thing that threaten to leave us clutching a bottle of Advil, wondering “How in the world did I get in this mess and how many days til January 2nd?”

And then I imagine Jesus saying, “Come to Me all who are weary with Christmas and give me your lists.”

Continue reading

How Do You Correct Spiritual Day Blindness?

I’ve been struggling with something recently, and it’s led me to pray differently.

Not all the time.  Mostly at meals.

It’s happened because awhile back we spent time with some Christians in a foreign country who never prayed.  I’m sure they did sometime, but not in our presence.  They’d let us pray if we asked to, but that’s all.  And it flumoxed me.  It was curious and dissonance-producing and I wasn’t sure how I felt.

I was confused.  I thought, “We’re Christians.  We’re supposed to pray.  It’s what we do.”

On our own, but also together.  Out loud.  At group devotions in the morning and at meals at the very least.  It’s kind of a rule.  Like brushing your teeth before bed, or saying please and thank you, or taking out the garbage.

Eventually, what I noticed about the people we had been with made me notice something about myself.  The speck in my own eye if you will.  I realized how rote my throughout-the-day prayers had become.

Predictable.  Going through the motions.

We say the same thing.  “Bless this.”   “Be with them” (a phrase I hate).  And  “Thanks for that.”

It made me think, “What are we really doing when we pray before meetings, or at meals or whatever…?  What does God desire?”

So I talked to God and my husband John, and processed for awhile.  And during that time God used His word like a megaphone.  It seemed like every time I opened the Bible I’d come across verses like:

Psalm 29:2 “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name.”

And Matthew 10:32 “Whoever publicly acknowledges me I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.   But whoever publicly disowns me I will disown I will disown before my Father in heaven.”

Psalm 34:3 “Magnify the Lord with me.  Let us exalt His name together.”

Magnify huh?  Acknowledge what?  Ascribe to who?

I have a condition called night blindness.  It means I have no depth perception when I drive at night.  I get disoriented easily.  I’ve driven through stoplights and on the shoulder of the road.  One dark night I was driving home from seminary and wasn’t paying attention.  I made a wrong turn without realizing it and all of a sudden looked around and had absolutely no idea where I was.  I couldn’t get my bearings.  I’m beginning to think I (and maybe all of us) also have day blindness.

We need periodic reorientation so we don’t forget who we are (not God), and whose we are and where we are – far from our true home, dependent on the king of that kingdom.

I try to orient myself to God in the morning, but once the busyness of the day begins I’m at the center again, putting Him on the margins in my manic busyness.  Treating God like He should revolve around ME.  Through-the-day prayers are a chance to switch places back.  Again. And again.

These through-the-day prayers with others are about stopping.  More about submission than supplication.  The wise men and the shepherds bowing before Jesus.

Re-orienting.  Like a sailboat that’s drifted off-course, re-aligning sails to the wind.

Silence.  Stillness.  Pausing with others at lunch, in a coffee shop, in a meeting room…truly being present to God seems to be my best reminder to start with.

We get so wrapped up in the speed of the day that often those prayers at meals are “throw-aways”...a quick word because we’re “supposed to”, and not because we’re truly aware of returning to an awareness of the presence of God, ascribing to Him the glory due His name.

So, I’m trying.  It’s not easy.  But I find, like a sailor who has turned his rudder, I sometimes catch just a bit of breeze and feel the delight of the Holy Spirit.

Do you pray in public?  Does it feel meaningful?  Awkward?  Pretentious? Rote?