Staying Sane In A Busy World

I’m a busy person. I interact with busy people all the time. Chances are, you’re a busy person (which is why you’re not even reading this introduction…you’re already skimming my four points below). Busyness is just in the air in our society. Not many of us like it, but few of us have managed to escape it. Busyness isn’t just uncomfortable; it can be dangerous.

There are few things as potentially damaging. Blaise Pascal once noted, busyness sends more people to hell than unbelief.

Here’s the thing. I DO like being busy. I’m not sure I agree with yer man Blaise. In fact, I would go so far as to say we are meant to be busy, meant to be productive, designed to be fruitful. I do however think that we are not meant to be overwhelmed by busyness. Our lives should have a full but easy and simple rhythm that allows us to live on purpose, achieving much and at the same time fully enjoying life. Here are four things that will help us


Psalm 127:2 says, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”

“Sleep,” a friend of mine once said, “is an act of faith.”

It is not your busyness that indicates closeness to God, but your ability to rest in the midst of a restless culture. Many times, our inability to sleep comes from the myth that we need to hold everything together. We need to learn that while we are sleeping, God is at work.

A lack of sleep doesn’t just lead to physical problems; it quickly fosters a spirit of cynicism that ruins our spiritual life. It’s no good burning the candle at both ends if it sours our view of God, deprives us of our joy, and ends our life prematurely. It’s no good burning the candle and being crabbie with the kids. They deserve the best of us. Someone once said, “Sometimes the most holy thing you can do is to just take a nap.”

Refuse to worry about tomorrow.

This one comes directly from Jesus:

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” (Matt. 6:34, NIV). I used to find this verse a little odd. “

Tomorrow is worrying about itself, Jesus? Well, that’s exactly what I was worried about!” But what Jesus is saying is that he’ll be with us tomorrow just like he’s with us today. The Israelites in the wilderness were only given manna for one day, to teach them that God would provide for their tomorrows. And he’s still trying to teach us the same lesson.

Create some margin.

You’ve heard of the “big rocks” and “sand” metaphor. Fill a jar with rocks and the sand will fill in to the cracks. Start with the sand and you’ll never be able to fit the rocks in, too. It’s a simple metaphor, but it’s still an insightful one: prioritize the “big rocks” of your life, and allow yourself margin for the “sand.”

Stress and busyness in our lives can come from doing too many things. But often they are the result of leaving no margin between the various items on our calendar. Rhythm and margin are essential to maintaining our sanity. To summarise: ensure that you have time for the “big rocks” of your life, and keep the peripheral items peripheral. You need to take control of your calendar, because if you don’t, someone will take control of it for you.

Here’s a tip I learned from The Storyline Productivity Schedule that I thoroughly recommend. Don’t do emails first thing each day, because if you do you are on someone else’s schedule and not yours

Observe the Sabbath Rhythm.

Now let’s be clear, I don’t mean let’s become Jewish, but let’s keep the pattern of rest and recreation (re creation). That’s why I love Sundays. We can be absent from work, be re-created physically through rest and be re-created spiritually through Worship and Submission to the Word of God and be re-created emotionally through the community of family and church. I have tried to practice something I heard Rick Warren say on this subject some years ago.

Divert Daily, Withdraw Weekly and Abandon Annually

Adapted from a post by JD GREEAR