Why Are We So Busy?

When we lack identity security, a rejection mindset will train us to find validation in being “productive.” Inside, lies a wound that we think will be healed by chasing achievement and a non-stop schedule. Stillness is seen as lazy.  We think that the endless activity will grant us fulfillment and give us a sense of identity.

Fear keeps us busy. Fear of lack, fear of being behind and the fear of not belonging. The fear of facing our empty heart is too much for most to bear, so busyness appears as an apparent alternative.

We fear missing out, so we fill our lives with as much as possible so we never miss an experience that could make us feel affirmed. We cram our kids’ schedules with tons of sports and clubs. We take on more work than we should.

For others, the fear of poverty or the fear of being broke drives them in an endless daily grind with no margin or room for rest. They are bound by insecurity not only of themselves, but of the ability for God to provide for their needs. The busy and driven person has bought the lie that all of life rests on their shoulders.

Busyness gives most people a badge of accomplishment. Our culture has been trained to reward busyness. Maxed out schedules are applauded and we stand in awe before people who work eighty hour weeks.

We fail to realize that it actually takes more work and courage for someone to work a reasonable amount of hours and then spend healthy time being refreshed and in healthy relationship. It is a greater act of self-discipline to end work, go home and release the rest of the results into God’s hands. It takes more work for a man to leave the office, go home and spend quality time being present with his children. It is easier for a man to stay at work, because if he spends time with his children, he has to work at being relational, vulnerable and heart connected. The truth is we get too much worth from our busyness.

We attempt to cover up brokenness with busyness and it only gets intensified over time. I have watched people over the years, who are in obvious pain, medicate themselves with busyness, create a white noise in the background to drown out any pain or voids. We get a false sense of escape, but the wounds will continue to surface and wear us down.

We have been busy for so long that slowing down and being still can be one of the most fearful and painful experiences. Most people keep the machine running, often never addressing the issues of the heart, until sickness comes in, relationships have collapsed or mind-binding struggles have become overwhelming. Then, even though it may already be too late, we make momentary changes in a panic, only to return to the one thing we know to do: stay busy. We become like the lobster that gets cooked in a pot. He doesn’t realize until it’s too late that his cozy hot tub is actually slowly boiling him to become someone else’s dinner.