Being Obsessed with Busy


It’s been a while. For the past (almost) two weeks, I’ve been living in a stuffed head, sore-throated fevered fog. It’s somewhat ironic how my challenge for March is to rest. And then I was really forced to rest. And pop Tylenol and drink fluids and consume cough candies like bonbons. Last week was March break, and while we had so many plans, the girls and I were stuck in bed, sicker than sick, battling colds, fevers, ear infections and all around discomfort. It was not fun. (A big shout out to Jeff, who was so patient with us all, taking the night shift with the girls and loving all of us despite our snot crusted faces.)

I think it’s safe to say that most moms out there have a hard time being sick. We’re always on. We literally don’t get sick days….ever. This past week and a bit has not been the greatest, to say the least. Yet at the same time, it has forced me to rest, to be still. It allowed for space and time to reflect on what it means to rest, and the inevitable healing that comes from rest. Ultimately, resting forced me to realize, head-on, how much value I put on being busy – how I determine my worthiness through my busyness.

Now, before I begin, I want to state that being a busy person is not necessarily a bad thing. I truly believe that there are those of us who succeed in busy situations – and there are times in life when those people are truly, indubitably necessary. We tend to be the people who thrive under pressure, who love accomplishing tasks, who are great at managing and delegating. In and of themselves, these things are not bad. But finding my worth in these things is where the danger lies. While I laid in bed sick this past week, I had plenty of time to contemplate what motivates and drives me to be obsessed with busyness.

My story begins about eight years ago, three weeks before our wedding when my lung decided to spontaneously collapse. After surgery and appointments with my lung specialist, I was told that my current career as a hairstylist was detrimental to my health. I had to quit. Suddenly, I was thrown into the newness of married life while being abruptly forced to quit my career. Coupled with that came a huge sense of guilt that I wasn’t contributing financially to our marriage. And so, I quickly became busy. I made elaborate meals (each.and.every.night.), I cleaned our little apartment religiously, and as soon as the doctor gave me a clean bill of health, I acquired a myriad of part-time jobs just to prove that I wasn’t lazy, that I was still important.

Enter motherhood. That first year of maternity leave was bliss. I had acquired a bunch of new mom friends who were all in the same boat as myself. We were all figuring out this thing called parenthood while bringing in our maternity benefits paychecks. And then suddenly, that first year was done. The majority of my friends all returned to work. And so began my journey as a full-time stay-at-home-mom. (I didn’t have a job to return to that warranted paying for day care. In a nutshell, it made more financial sense for me to stay home.)

That’s when I went from being busy to very busy. In my personal circle, being a stay-at-home-mom is very much in the minority. While our mothers’ generation likely felt guilt about being the mom who returned to work in a world full of stay-at-home-moms, I inversely felt guilt at being one of the only moms not balancing both a career and motherhood. So I got busy. I had to prove that I could still be interesting, relevant and important in a world that often suggests staying home with your kids turns your brain into mush.

The cycle continued with my second pregnancy and the birth of our daughter, Elsie. I piled responsibilities, school, volunteer opportunities all on my lap. These things were not wrong or bad. However, my reason for doing them was oh so wrong! I was striving so hard to find my identity in these obligations. I was thirsting for approval from those around me that I was still relevant, still valuable. I was straining so hard in my busyness that I know I’ve let moments pass me by that I will never get back again.

I’m thankful to say over the past year and a bit that I’ve become a lot more comfortable in my own skin, in the journey that God has called me to. I’m thankful for a Father who sees beyond my striving, a God who calls me to rest and to just be, a Saviour who provides me with a new identity in Him. I’m thankful that I’ve started to learn to savour the moments, realizing that time goes by far too quickly. I’m grateful that God has unveiled to me that the perfect spot for me to be right now is at home with my two precious girls. While I acknowledge that I’ll likely always be a busy person (and that’s ok!), my prayer is that I will rest in my identity as a daughter of the King, rather than basing my existence on my never-ending to-do list.


  • Jason McFadden

    There’s a lot to say about our busy-ness. You might like Kevin DeYoung’s book “Crazy Busy.” We are human beings made in God’s image, called to be still and know He is God. I had ambitions once but started to think, maybe God just wants me to a dad, a good one…isn’t that enough?

  • Emily P

    Great post Jen. One of my struggles that just smacked me in the face recently is that my idea of “ministry” is of serving others – in my neighbourhood, in my church, in my extended family, in my friend group – who may have a need for a meal or a visit or a babysitter, who maybe need someone to reach out to them to get to know them to, in turn, be able to share the gospel with them, who may need someone to volunteer to organize something (which I always say, “I can do from home!” and always takes up way more time than I think it will…). None of those things in themselves are bad. They can be out of priority though. Somewhere along the line I have forgotten that the biggest “ministry” God has called me to right now in life is to be a wife, mother, and facilitator of our home, and what a giant task that is alone. And, if I am living this life as a “godly” woman outside of my home and yet neglecting the very descendants God has given me I am not really walking the talk to my children at all. A quote from some podcasts I have heard recently have stuck with me. “God’s plan for world evangelization begins with the family.” – Satan’s greatest attack on the gospel message starts in the home because a divided home causes so much family strife which translates into divided work places, churches, a bad name for Christ, etc. My greatest responsibility now is to pass on our faith to our children! Yes, I can spend time getting to know neighbours who don’t know Christ, but this can’t come at the expense of our children.

    I like to be busy too, and it’s funny how it’s been years in the making but I am slowly starting to love “home days” and am planning for our last “busy” season this spring (and summer is always a bit of this and that!) and making a great intention to set a more home-focussed fall/year for us next year and am very much looking foward to it! And, I think because I know this spring will be a sort of “last” for us as a homeschooling family, I think it is giving me more drive and purpose to be intentional about who I visit, what I commit to, and how I can serve wherever and with whoever I am around.

    Thanks again for sharing, sorry for the long reply! Blogger-wanna-be over here, just living vicariously through your wonderful writing and posts!!

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