Christian Living

Three types of busyness

The other day Doug Fields wrote about battling busyness in ministry and offered these 6 action steps.
  1. Declare war on busyness
  2. Go public
  3. Clean the piles
  4. Go to bed earlier
  5. Journal to find the “yes”
  6. Quit lying to yourself
[Check out his descriptions here]

This is such a crucial topic. As I unpacked these action steps I sliced and diced a particular segment of the argument.

Forgive the introspection. But I want to dive deeper. Specifically, I think there are three different types of busyness in my life.

  1. Seasonal busyness. When I was a youth pastor FT, that was September & December. September because we launched everything, December because it was Christmas and that’s always crazy in a church. Every type of career faces these… I think they are pretty normal.
  2. Legitimate busyness you just have to push through. This last season was like that for me. Summer 2011 will go down as my most busy ever. But it might also go down as the biggest season of blessing our family has ever experienced. God blessed our socks off for no good reason. It’s been my task just to keep up.
  3. Illegitimate busyness. Where I’m staying busy to hide from something else OR looking crazy busy so people think I’m important.

As I peal back the onion one more layer and look at busyness types 1 & 2– Pride isn’t the right word for describing how I feel about these. But there’s a certain level of satisfaction in pushing through something and acknowledging hard work for what it is.

Then there is #3. For me, that’s where the shame and accountability come into play because I can convince myself that I am so busy for such a good purpose. I’m thankful I have friends in my life who call my crap. I try to label 3 as 1 & 2 sometimes… but a true friend knows the difference and doesn’t let me get away with it.

One thing I know about busyness. I hate when people start a conversation with: “I know you’re busy, but…” I always want to reply by saying, “I’m not hat busy, really.” But then I always wonder… “Why do I look so busy? What is it about my demeanor that makes people think I’m busy even if I’m not?

What do you think? Are there legitimate and illegitimate types of busyness? Or am I just trying to slice/dice this to justify my behavior? 

Christian Living Culture

Lord, change me first

What motivates people to change?

Here’s a list of things that I’m coming to terms with…

Things that I see which don’t change people or organizations but should: (Generally speaking)

  • Biblical truth
  • Their current reality, state, or condition
  • Current position, authority and/or aspirations of
  • Scientific research or law
  • Reading books about other organizations or people who change the world
  • Inspirational stories on the internet, television, or radio of success and/or failure
  • A new program at their school, work, or place of worship

Now, if you are part of an organization, think about the amount of money you spend on the list above. Probably most of it.

Chew on this…

Things that I see which do help people and organizations change behavior: (Generally speaking)

  • Selfish ambition, money
  • Accessibility to something which feeds their ambition, money
  • Fear of losing their family, friends, position, income
  • Losing family, friends, position, income
  • Fear of being discovered
  • Being discovered
  • Peer pressure, positive or negative
  • Cultures laws, mores, and taboos

Thought #1: Behavior change isn’t the point of the Gospel.

Thought #2: Behavior change can be a manifestation of the Gospel in an individual or organizations life.

Thought #3: The majority of  my time/my resources/my energy is invested in things that should change behavior but don’t. There’s a gulf between “ought to affect change” and “does affect change” that people I need to wrestle through.

Thought #4: When I stop trying to be the answer for the top list and start building community where the bottom list is shared openly, then I see the Gospel go places I never thought it would.

Thought #5: As a believer, according to Scripture, I am the answer to the change the people in my life so desperately search for. The question for me to wrestle with is this, “Do I want to be the person people expect me to be and focus on the things that ‘ought to affect change’ or do I want to look in the mirror, deal with my own mess, and help people exchange solutions that don’t fix a thing for solutions that are really hard but affect long-term change.”

Christian Living

I’m a walking contradiction

My life in a Bible verse:

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.” Romans 7:15-17

I’m a walking contradiction.

Outside of the sin world– and boy am I a sinner– this verse speaks into a lot of other areas of my life.

And in the gray areas of life, things where it isn’t abundantly clear it’s a sin issue, I’m literally a contradiction.

  • I love my kids, but boy do I love to spend time alone with Kristen.
  • I love spending time with the students in the youth group, but every Tuesday night I struggle to make time to go to youth group and hang with them.
  • I love my church, but I’m quick to wonder if we’re going to the right church.
  • I love the people of Haiti, but to live there? Not in this lifetime.
  • I hate big box stores, but when I need something in a pinch you’ll find me at Target, Home Depot, or Costco.
  • I hate disappointing my children, but I also know that if I give them whatever they want they won’t become the people we hope they become.
  • I hate discrimination against people, but if I’m honest I do it without thinking all the time.
  • I hate people who talk on their phones while driving… even with a headset on, but I do it all the time.

This is the problem I face every day. I want to be a person of integrity. I want to be a person who makes the right choice for the right reason every time. But life is full of so many contradictions that I’m often left feeling like a hypocrite. I intend to do everything based on my convictions… but I fail a whole lot.

I do the things I don’t want to do and I can’t stop myself. I even do the things I don’t want to do without thinking about if I want to do them or not. People say I’m a good person and I’m quick to say thank you. But when someone points out my faults I’m just as quick to try to justify myself.

What’s the moral of the story?

I’m no better than anyone else. I’m just as much a mess as the guy next door. I need to remind myself constantly that the Gospel is just as much for me as it is for my neighbor.

To take a stance that I’m somehow better or less a sinner only validates a position that I’m a hypocrite.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Through Christ, I’m a walking contradiction, forgiven purely by grace.