These last few weeks I have been busy. I launched a new website for my friend Steve at I Am Steve Austin, and have been coaching a new blogger while helping get her site design started. I’ve carted the kids around to all kinds of practices and “lasts” of the school year. (Being a homeschool family rarely means you spend your days at home.) I went to a women’s conference. I was a co-host in a webinar with my friend Christa over at Do A New Thing. And I could bore you to tears with a long litany of things I’ve been busy doing. But you really don’t care because you’re busy too.
But I’ve been thinking about that phrase, “I’m busy.”
How are you doing? I’m sooo busy.
Can we schedule a time to get together? I would love that, but I’m just too busy right now.
I could really use your help with this project. I can’t take on one more thing right now. This time of year is just so busy!
I’m too busy for that.
Busy is my default answer, especially this time of year. And I’m busy with good things. Some of those things are not something I chose, others I did. I have learned over the years to guard my yes’s so that I can say yes to the best things, but sometimes in the moment I commit to a “best thing” only to find it was more about an immediate gratification or a “shiny thing” that looked perfect on the surface but turned out to be a time suck that someone else could have done far better than I did. And sometimes I say no out of selfishness when I should have said yes.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Busy is my default answer, especially this time of year. And I’m busy with good things.” quote=”Busy is my default answer, especially this time of year. And I’m busy with good things.”]
The struggle is real.
When I say I’m busy, it’s not a lie. At all. But I know when I use it as a reason to say no to something, what I really mean is “I’m too busy for that.” And yeah. Sometimes the that sounds pretty snarky in my head. Or it sounds like pride. Or even judgment.
Sometimes I just want to pull a Phoebe from Friends. “I wish I could but I don’t want to.”
She spends so much time taking her kids to all the activities she’s signed them up for. My kids only have one thing because I’m too busy for that. (Yes, I have totally thought this! You do you. I know I shouldn’t judge you and your choices as a mom. Ack! I’m so ashamed. But if you want to come chat with me, I would love to tell you why we don’t overschedule our kids or sign them up for competitive sports when they’re young.)
I’m getting read for a missions trip, running social media for an online auction fundraiser and two different blogs, one of which is a ministry. I’m too busy to do that. (Prideful much? I totally said this. And I felt important for half a second and then I felt like a schmuck. Sigh.)
I am absolutely an advocate for being careful with our yes’s and no’s. Giving myself permission to say no was a huge freedom in my life, and something I was terrible at when I was a young mom. So today I’m reminding myself that no is a perfectly good answer. It doesn’t require qualifiers dripping with pride or judgment. It can stand on its own two letters. And if I need to explain it, I can do it without allowing it to become a measuring stick for myself or anyone else.
Being busy is not necessarily a bad thing if we’re busy with the right things. And there are seasons that no matter how careful we are to guard our time and create margin in our lives, we will be “too busy.” Whether you measure your time and ability in slices of pie to share or things on your beam that you can balance or spoons to give away, we all come to a point where we’ve got nothing left to give and we have to cry “Mercy!”
So if you’re busy right now (And I’m guessing you are!) let’s just be real with each other. Let’s not use our busyness as an excuse that shifts the blame, weighs someone else down with judgment, makes them feel less valuable or builds up our own sense of pride. And if you see a sister with one too many spinning plates in the air or one too many irons in the fire and you’ve got a minute, see if there’s a way you can help her out, even if it’s just dropping by with a cup of coffee from Starbucks and saying “Me too, friend.” #metoo