Freedom from Busyness
By Michelle Duppong
I don’t know about you, but I feel that a “busyness” pandemic is sweeping the nation and western world with the common side effects of stress, burnout, unhappiness, restlessness, fatigue, anxiety, etc. We try to break free, yet find our default response to “How are you?” is “I’ve been so busy.” It’s as if we subconsciously fear that others will think we’ve been slacking off by not being productive. I’ve been there. How about you?
By allowing our lives to be in a constant swarm of activity, life is being drained out of us! As a result, our families, friends, our relationship with God and we ourselves suffer. This spring I read in the winter 2013 CARA Report (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) that in a survey given to people who attend Mass only at Christmas and Easter 70% responded that the reason for this is that they are TOO BUSY. Busyness is a real problem, and it has infected most, if not all of us.
Human beings are made in the image of God and are both spiritual and physical beings. God gave man the greatest privilege of all His creatures when His son, Jesus Christ, took on our flesh and became man. Therefore, Satan and his minions are bent not only on destroying each of our souls, but our bodies as well. On top of striving to follow the Church’s teaching and love every person, have you found it difficult to get the sleep you need, eat healthily, get exercise, find time for hobbies and spend quality time with family and friends? Yep, I thought so. God is the author of order, and we thrive when our lives are ordered according to His design.
Holiness is found in the ordinary tasks of daily life—each of us can be holy! Here are a couple of tips to achieve ordered living:
Now, I’m not claiming to have mastered living a life of order, but I can testify to the fruits that striving for a life of order has borne in my life: peace, joy, freedom (especially from feeling that I have to get everything done and be in control), a deeper appreciation for those around me, an ease in being with God throughout my day, among other graces. May each of us be the saint God has made us to be.
- Make time for God each day. Plan your day around God. The saints say that it is necessary for the laity to spend 30 minutes a day in prayer, a.k.a. simple conversation with God. Start with five minutes and work your way up to 30 over several weeks or months.
- Your vocation (marriage, holy orders, consecrated life or chaste single life) is your path to holiness. Spend quality time with your loved ones each day. For those who are married, a natural place to do this is a family dinner.
- Keep Sunday as a day of rest and holy leisure. Don’t let items on your to-do list creep into this precious time. Enjoy “being” rather than “doing”.
- Keep work within limits. It may take up a good chunk of your waking hours, but don’t let it take over everything. You’ll never get everything done, so surrender your day to God and literally ask Him to show you what He wants you to do. Ask Him to make it clear, simple and easy.
- God has appointed a mission to you that only you can do. Do not sacrifice this “great” mission for endless “good” activities you could engage in. This is a common tactic of the enemy to distract us from God’s will and ensnare us. Be on guard!
- Along the line of the last point, do your kids a favor and limit the activities they are involved in, so you can spend more time with them and they can cherish the time with their family.