Unless your life resembles that of our fabulously lazy cat Buttercup, whose entire existence consists of one long nap punctuated by the occasional rodent hunt, you’re probably pretty busy with more important things to do. Maybe even “crazy busy” – you have more “must-do” items than time, you’re often stressed, and sometimes you feel that you’re on the point of drowning in a tsunami of responsibilities, demands, and deadlines.
Almost everybody I know is busy. It’s part of modern life – we live hurried and harried lives in a frantic age. And we need help to understand our incessant busyness from a biblical perspective. And this is what Kevin Deyoung offers in his book Crazy Busy – A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem.
What Deyoung give us is not a program for tackling our overburdened-schedules or a technique for better time management. Rather, the book is a meditation on the problem of busyness in the light of biblical teaching. He says he wrote the book mainly for himself, to help him think through his own chronic struggle with an overly-busy life. But reading Crazy Busy will most certainly help you see more clearly the true nature of your own problem with busyness.
Deyoung argues that a hectic lifestyle poses spiritual dangers – busyness can ruin our joy, rob our hearts, and cover up the “rot” in our souls. Certainly he is right about all of this – our over-committed and imbalanced lives are indicative of a greater spiritual dynamic at work in our hearts. Busyness can draw us away from Christ, even if so much of our activity is ostensibly in the service of Christ.
Deyoung also exposes all the wrong reasons why we are busy (with an impressive display of alliteration!): people-pleasing, pats on the back, performance evaluation, possessions, proving myself, pity, poor planning, power, perfectionism, position, prestige, and posting. Busyness not only threatens our spiritual health, but it is often a consequence of our own sin. Let Crazy Busy assist you in some soul-searching: could your busyness (at least part of it) be a result of some sin or pride in your heart?
I especially enjoyed Deyoung’s chapter on parenting: “A Cruel Kindergarchy: You Need to Stop Freaking Out about Your Kids.” Yes, God gives us Christian parents a tremendous responsibility properly to raise and train our children. But sometimes we think as though their eternal destinies are at stake with every daily decision we make concerning them and their upbringing. Deyoung injects a good dose of common sense (and humor) into the discussion of Christian parenting.
I’m also grateful that Deyoung touched on the issue of the Sabbath, showing how God has ordained for us times of rest that we ignore at our own peril. Here I thought he could have gone even further. Would not ordering our weekdays so that we make ourselves rest on Sunday be a great help in taming busyness and reducing the stress that accompanies a life of non-stop activity?
Crazy Busy also contains good insight and sage advice concerning the ever-increasing digital distractions that can result in so much trivial and wasted activity.
Deyoung writes in an engaging, conversational tone. And he’s got a nice sense of humor. Crazy Busy is easy to read but not superficial – there’s solid theology buttressing all he says about our problem of busyness.
Again, it’s not a how-to manual for getting your life under control. But if you take seriously Deyoung’s insights into the true nature of busyness, I think you’ll come up with plenty of ideas of how to apply these to your own life. As Deyoung points out, if we are seeking to be faithful to God, we will be busy in this world. However, with the sort of help Deyoung offers, and by the grace of God, our busyness might become more like that of Jesus himself: intensely active, but always according to the priorities his Father had given him.