How to Slow Down the "Busy Blender"

Continue reading ONLY if you are a busy person.

Continue reading ONLY if you have texted while driving in the last 24 hours.

OK. Thanks for the honesty.

·         Have you ever watched the before and after of a fruit smoothie in the making?

I watched one of my kids making one the other day in the following way:

Individual frozen strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries were mixed with orange juice, and Greek yogurt.

The liquefy button was mashed and the blades of the blender began to whirl.

As my ears filled with the screaming roar of the blender, my mind began to realize just how busy my life has been.

·         Are you busy?

·         Are the mini-moments of life overcrowded with buzzing activity?

Would you like to learn two ways to slow down the “busy blender”?

First, know that busyness without a brake leads to burnout.

We all know what it is like to be overdrawn financially.

You live beyond your means.

But do we know that when we live beyond our means with the time God has given to us we become overdrawn in our humanity?

Calculate a quick time budget with me (Are you overdrawn?)

Let’s start with the 168 hours that God gives us each week.

I’ve heard counsellors suggest the following “healthy” time budget:

Sleep:  50 hours (Kinda important for our bodies.  This is applying the brake of rest to our always-on-the-go life.)

Work:  50 hours (We were created to work six days and rest one.  Work is aiming our effort at growing beauty for God’s glory.)

Family:  17 hours (About a “tithe” or tenth of our 168 hours.  Family/spouse time is all about giving undivided ATTENTION to family.)

Care/Recreation/Community:  51 hours (Break it down hourly any way you like…but don’t sacrifice family, work or sleep to get more from these three good things).

·         Care for your stuff (Cars, home, etc.)

·         Recreation (What restores and relaxes you?)

·         Service to others: (Sharing your gifts with your church family and community)

How did you make out?

Are you overdrawn?

Maybe you need to apply the brakes in an area that is blending too many ingredients for your own good.

Maybe you need to scale back and reduce the pace of busyness to avoid burnout.

Secondly, seek to understand the “Why?” behind the need for busyness.

If I’m honest, I usually whip and whirl the opportunities of life together at an inhuman pace because I am addicted to productivity.

I love to set goals, accomplish dreams, enjoy spontaneous opportunities and multi-task to make the most out of every moment.

But why?

Could it be that I equate my productivity with my worth?

Deep down I often see God as my employer rather than my smiling heavenly Father.

This category error pulls the curtain back to reveal the “why?” behind my high-paced productivity.

Listen to this oh so good news!

Psalm 37:7 says “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.”

Stillness for this Hebrew poet was a motionless silence of active waiting.

It’s like a child playing hide and go seek with her daddy.  As her dad counts to ten, she runs into the bathroom, steps into the bathtub, pulls the shower curtain and enters into a state of stillness.

She stands motionless in silence actively waiting.

Her dad playfully shouts “Ready or not here I come!”

Her pulse quickens as he rattles the bathroom doorknob and slowly slides open the shower curtain.

She screams with joy as she is discovered.

Did you notice that it was in the stillness NOT the busyness that she experienced breathtaking joy with her father?

I want to slow down the blender of busyness and heighten times of playful wonder with God.

·         What would you need to do to slow down the blender of busyness?

As we walk through the door of summertime, let’s enjoy times of stillness before the LORD.

We just might become more human in the waiting.

Pastor Howard
Senior Pastor
Metro North Church

Three Remedies for Hurry Sickness

Confession number one from a Presbyterian pastor:  I suffer from a severe form of hurry sickness.

Confession number two:  My self-imposed busyness is my greatest form of laziness.

Busyness is laziness?  Yes.  

For me, I stay busy as a way to avoid doing the hard, important things that take sustained work.

God architected me to be fully human by doing unhurried things like resting, watching the stars, playing with my children, gazing upon the beauty of my wife, or simply singing a song to God without distractions.

But slowing down to exert energy toward significant things is really hard work.

And I already feel like the frayed heel of a sock most of the time.

Desires, demands and expectations surround and bite me like a swarm of vampire mosquitoes.  

Most moments I’m feeling frazzled and lack the emotional energy for lift-off.

Do you suffer from hurry sickness too?

Here are three remedies to reset and slow down your restless soul.

  • First, remember that a chicken always needs a head.

O.K.  Graphic image—sorry.

The old farmers used to watch a chicken run around like crazy, after its head was cut off.

The body disconnected from the head, initially looks busy and hurried, but it finally runs out of steam, staggers, stops, and strikes the ground with a flump.

Have you ever felt like you were “running around like a chicken with its head cut off?”

Could “headlessness”  be why we run around so crazy-busy?  

Am I following Christ (he is called the head of his body and bride, the church) and his humanizing direction, or my own fast-paced, selfish pursuits?

  • Do I need to stay busy to maintain control over everything and everybody?

Wait a minute?  If Christ is the head and I am his body, then I don’t actually have ultimate control.

I can rest!

  • Do I need to stay busy because I want things to turn out perfectly?

Wait a minute.  If Christ is the head, he is directing all of my decisions to his decreed aims.  Even my mistakes factor into his perfect plan.

I can rest!

  • Do I need to stay busy posturing and posting for my prestige?

Wait a minute, If Christ is my head and I am his body and bride, I no longer have to push myself forward to be noticed in social gatherings or on social media for attention in order to get a “like” so that I momentarily feel like I matter.

I can rest!

The second remedy for hurry sickness is a schedule.

Sounds boring and hard?

Remember, busyness is often a deceptive form of laziness.

A schedule defends you from busyness and acts like a net that catches butterflies.

How so?

Those pressing desires, demands and expectations flitting around in your head can be caught and ordered so that the beautiful, significant things get top priority.

A schedule also acts like scaffold.  You stand on your planning to create one area of life at a time.

Like most truths, when finally embraced it seems crazy that I didn’t recognize it years ago.

I used to believe that free spontaneity always trumped planning and scheduling.

But when you chase two spontaneous rabbits at a time (like checking your email while eating at the table with your child) you catch neither.  The quality of the email AND being fully present with your child cannot both occur.

My poor planning is often ruled by my immediate desire for selfish pleasures.

Planning good things that serve Jesus, my family, my church and my soul prepares me for lasting pleasures.

It really is true, the second remedy for hurry sickness is a schedule.

The third remedy for hurry sickness is holiness.

Why would I say that?

Holiness is living life in an upside-down, totally “other” kind of way.

Slow down and ask yourself the following questions I recently found written by a pastor named Tim Chester.

 Use them like I did to diagnose your level of unholy hurry sickness…and be honest.

“Do you regularly work thirty minutes a day longer than your contracted hours?”

“Do you check work e-mails and phone messages at home?”

“Has anyone ever said to you, ‘I didn’t want to trouble you because I know how busy you are’?”

“Do your family or friends complain about not getting time with you?”

“If tomorrow evening were unexpectedly freed up, would you use it to do work or a household chore?”

“Do you often feel tired during the day or do you find your neck and shoulders aching?”

“Do you often exceed the speed limit while driving?”

“Do you make use of any flexible working arrangements offered by your employers?”

“Do you pray with your children regularly?”

“Do you have enough time to pray?”

“Do you have a hobby in which you are actively involved?”

“Do you eat together as a family or household at least once a day?”

 Holiness is not state into which we drift.

In other words, we need to connect our lives into Christ’s life and live differently as we surrender to his direction.

Instead of engaging our fingers and thumbs on endless screens that strangle our souls, what if we disengaged more from the digital world and reengaged our thoughts and hearts in deeper thinking concerning God’s kingdom and purposes?

What if we engaged our hands in sacrificial serving?

Would you follow me and get active and busy about engaging in these three new rhythms of rest?

The hurry sickness just might slow down enough for us to feel truly human again.

Pastor Howard
Senior Pastor
Metro North Church