Posted on July 16th, by Ian Nelson in Hand, Head, Heart. 3 comments


I know, I know. You’re too busy to read this. And I’m too busy to write this. Yet here we are. Somehow our busy schedules have aligned at this key moment in time, for us to have another important conversation about busyness.


Or perhaps the truth is that you’re actually not too busy to read this. And I’m not too busy to write this. And busyness is actually just a growing cultural myth we maintain as a way of feeling important, or as an excuse to not do the things we know we ought to in life.


In my last post I explored the idea that as followers of Jesus, we should be careful to avoid living an “I’m too busy for you” kind of lifestyle, because it has the danger of sending a message to the world around us that contradicts the message of Jesus.


For the rest of this post, I would like to propose a short list of additional considerations to help you rethink your own perception of personal busyness in practical ways. Here are five facts about you and busyness:


1. You actually have the same amount of time as everyone else.


Every human being operates with the same 24-hour period each day. The greatest geniuses and world-changers throughout history—people like Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Mother Teresa, or even Jesus of Nazareth—all of them accomplished their impressive feats while operating within the same daily time constraints of a 24-hour block of time. Perhaps our problem is not that we are too busy, but that we have not learned how to manage our time well each day.


2. You are not a machine.


Human beings are not meant to go, go, go. We require consistent breaks from busyness in life, or else we wear down and burn out. Staying constantly busy in life, simply because we live in a constantly busy world, is a recipe for exhaustion, discouragement, discontentment, and even health risks. In other words, you were not created to be “too busy.” What regular rhythms of rest do you need to build into your personal routine? This is not just about getting sleep each night. It’s about creating daily, weekly, and monthly forms of downtime to unplug, rest, think, recharge and dream.


3. You are never too busy to love people.


In the Gospel of John, Jesus clarifies his central message to the disciples: “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you” (John 15v12). Jesus boiled all of his teachings down into just one command: love each other. It’s what Jesus wants us to be all about, and it’s how the world around us will know that we are Jesus’ disciples.  Understand that Jesus will never call you to do something that is impossible for you to do when his presence and power are made available to you. That means that if I’m not loving someone the way I should, it’s no one’s fault except my own. And if I know I should be engaging with other people in my life in loving ways, but I just don’t have time for it, then something in my life needs to undergo drastic changes.


4. There are good kinds of busy and bad kinds of busy.


It’s possible to be busy doing things that are of little importance. There is a place in life for hobbies and leisure activities, but the moment things like video games, going to parties, or sleeping in late regularly take the place of kingdom work, something isn’t right. Or as soon as the requirements of a career keep you from seeing your family or being present in the life of a friend in need, it’s time to re-evaluate your busy lifestyle. If we’re going to be busy in life, then we better be busy doing the right kinds of things. And if we truly are busy, we better learn how to not become too busy to follow the way of Jesus in life.


5. You are not as busy as you think.


We all think we are busy, but all of us have the same exact dilemma of figuring out how to manage our commitments and maximize our fruitfulness in life. No one is exempt. In order to successfully follow Jesus in a busy culture, you must learn a crucial lesson of life: If something is important to you, you’ll make time for it. Whenever we tell someone that we are essentially too busy for them, we are actually communicating to them that we don’t value them. Whenever we use work or school or social events as a reason to not follow the way of Jesus in a given area of our lives, we are actually choosing those things over following Jesus. Perhaps it’s time to relinquish the subterfuge of busyness in order to truly follow Jesus in a busy world.

Ian Nelson Ian is the Teaching Pastor at Westside A Jesus Church, part of a family of churches in Portland, OR. He is an avid people-person, often found meeting with college-age hipsters in coffee shops. Ian is also a published writer, musician, and iPhonographer. Connect with Ian on Instagram or Twitter: @ianandrewnelson
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3 Responses to ““I’M TOO BUSY FOR YOU” (BLOWING UP THE MYTH OF BUSYNESS) Part 2 || Ian Nelson”

  1. Suzi says:

    Hi there,

    I would like to cite a quote from this for an article I am writing.

    Please let me know if that is ok.



  2. Kert says:

    Thanks for your thstohug. It’s helped me a lot.

  3. , I do think it’s important to have your own space. We have the luxury of 5 rooms on the second floor, so in addition to bedrooms, we each have our own non-sleeping rooms. I have a room with books, an easel for painting, a guitar I’m going to teach myself to play one day, heirloom trunks full of my treasures and mementos that is *my* space. He’s got a room that is disgrace IMO with all kinds of stuff strewn about- tools, old camping gear, clothes that may or may not fit. I just shut the door so I don’t have to look at it, I don’t clean it, and he stays out of mine.

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