The Art of Being Busy

I have decided that on one Sunday a month or maybe two, I am going to share some of my thoughts, my musings, my ramblings with you. Ideas that have been floating around in my head.These thoughts will be of a more personal nature. An opportunity for me to share a little more of my personal side. I share a lot with you on the blog but I’d like to share more of the why behind my what. Why I do what I do. You game?

I was recently reading an article in a church magazine we receive each month called the Ensign. The article was entitled “Don’t be in a Hurry” by John C. Thomas. The article got me thinking a lot about being busy and how so many of us, myself included, have turned it into an art form – The Art of Being Busy.

Have you ever greeted a friend, asked how they were and they then proceeded to tell you how busy they were and all about everything they had to do. The thing is though, you joined right in, sharing with your friend how busy you were too and everything you had to do. It almost became a friendly competition of who was busier. Been there, done that!

In my magazine article Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin is quoted as having said, “…feel that the busier we are, the more important we are – as though busyness defines our worth.”  Does your busyness define your worth?

I have always loved the quote by Henry David Thoreau:

The art of being busy
That is my question today – what are we busy about?

I remember several years ago driving behind a car and looking at their bumper sticker.  It said:

“Jesus is Coming. Look busy!”

Well, for most of us that wouldn’t be a problem.  There are so many things, both mundane and meaningful that compete for our attention on a daily basis, on an hourly basis and even on a minute by minute basis.  Technology is to blame for a lot of the busyness but we have caused a lot of it all by ourselves!

How many of us play that game of “When this happens (fill in the blank) , then things will slow down.”  I know I’ve played it – many times and I still play it.  I remember years ago sitting in a meeting with a group of ladies from church.  We were all playing the “I’m so busy” game.  Each talking about all the things they have to do and I remember hearing several of the “older” sisters (of which I am now one of!) talk about how busy they were as empty nesters.  I remember thinking to myself, “Yeah, right, you can’t possibly be as busy as I am.”  But they assured me that their life now was just as busy, if not busier than it was when they had kids at home.  I didn’t believe them.

Now, I do.  It is just busy doing different things.  I have discovered that being busy doesn’t come with a certain season of life.  It is self induced.  I am just as busy now as I was when I had four children living under my roof.  I have perfected the Art of Being Busy.  I continue to fill my life with activities, work, obligations, etc.  I am sure some of you are shaking your head at me right about now but it’s true.  When you have perfected the Art of Being Busy or should we call it the addiction to being busy it doesn’t just stop when your kids move out.

But lately I have been trying to work on another art form.  The Art of Being Still.

In the church magazine article I was reading , I found this quote,

“Our hurry to meet the relentless demands of the clock tears away at our inner peace.” ‘

-James E. Faust

How many of you have felt a little like the  Queen of Hearts  in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland when she says to Alice:

alice in wonderland quote Life just seems to be running at such a pace that we can’t keep up or catch up.  There are always too many things on the list and not enough hours in the day.  No matter how late you stay up!  My To Do list as an empty nester is just as long as it ever was before.

But I have decided I don’t like it.

Now I’m not going to get into a discussion about how many activities you should be involved in or your kids should be involved in.  That is your decision.  If you’d like to invite me to lunch someday I’d love  to have that discussion with you though.  What I do want you to ask yourself is this –  “How can we obtain the peace we want to enjoy, even in a world of commotion?

Let’s face it, we can make some changes, we can eliminate some activities from our life but we are still going to be busy.    Neal A. Maxwell said, “frantic, heedless busyness…crowds out contemplation and leaves no room for renewal.”

So ask yourself:

What am I busy about?

How much frantic, heedless busyness do I have in my life?

Is there room in my life for renewal?

How can we leave room for renewal in our life ?

How can we develop the Art of Being Still?

So I’m going to leave you with some food for thought today.  I’ll be back the first of next month (or maybe sooner)  to share with you some more of my thoughts and how I have found ways to make room for renewal in my life.  And I promise, you all have room for it if you just choose to make room.

If you’d like some more food for thought today I’d invite you to visit a few of my blogger friends:

Mandy over at Sugar Bee Crafts

McKenzie at Girl Loves Glam

Mariel at Or So She Says

 

Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

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Comments

  1. Lynn says

    LOVED this post! It sure has got me thinking. And I can totally relate. I am “half way” to be an empty nester. 4 of the 6 are gone. But I feel like I am spinning faster and faster. I suddenly realized that all those things the “older ladies” said when I was a new mom were true. The older the kids get the busier their lives…….the crazier my life. I told my mom one day “Thanks a lot. You never told me that it would be like this….and I am sure you are going to tell me that you are even busier as a grandma.” She just smiles. ; )

    Thanks for the motivating thoughts. I have much to do. That is……I have much to do…..to change a few things around here. lol.

  2. Kim says

    Thanks so much. It is just what I needed this morning as I stayed home from church because I am so “behind”………

  3. Wendy Webster says

    Thank you for your thoughts and I wish I could take you up on that lunch! (But I live about 10hrs from you) With my children being so little I often wonder how many sports do they really need, how long do they need to participate in Piano? We live in a very well-to-do community where kids start at young age and move to competitive by 10 and do everything year round–it is so tricky. While we feel blessed to live in an area that offers EVERYTHING our children could dream of, it is also a curse because we prefer to be a family and we prefer not to overextend ourselves financially. :) Thank you for the thoughts…obviously it got me thinking too!

    • says

      Wendy, If you ever get to Portland let me know and we’ll go to lunch. We each need to take the opportunity to examine our own lives and our priorities and be brave enough to do what is best and right for our family.

  4. says

    Loved your article…I too share an “all about me” post typically once a month on my blog…just a glimpse into how things are going as a newly and early retired SAHW…I am busy but I am busy going about making my home a peaceful and organized environment for my husband who so graciously allowed/agreed for me to retire early from my very stressful teaching position and stay home to enjoy home and enjoy being a grandma. So, yes I am busy but not in the sense that most people say they are soooo busy…my busyness is a good thing and I would not want to be busy doing anything else! I love my life!!

  5. Valerie A. H. says

    Great post Leigh Anne! I’m looking forward to your upcoming peronal side posts along with all of your other regular great ones.

    I have learned a great lesson. We all have a choice in our own lives as far as what we do. I’ve learned that people try to fill up my time with what they want me to do. What about what we as individuals want to accomplish in our lives. What about having time to use our talents. It says in the scriptures that if we don’t use our talents, we lose them. I am not saying not to serve or help others but to make sure that we nurture ourselves too. We need to expand, learn and grow the way our spirits are trying to alert us to do. We really need to listen to that still small voice inside us.

    The world is a place with lots of “Noise.” We have a choice whether we partake of a lot of that noise. We don’t have to follow all the latest trends to “keep up” with the world. Being in the world but not of it is what I strive for.

    I’ve noticed that my friends do play “The busy game” that you mentioned Leigh Anne. The past month I have told my friends that I will be scarce because I need to refocus my time and regroup. Instead of listening to people’s chatter about unimportant things, I’ve decided to not listen to it and focus on things I need to do for me. Blocking out energy zappers. I’ve always had wide shoulders for people to cry on but that takes something out of me. I have to carry it. So, for the past month, I have chose to clear my mind more with prayer and meditation (meditating is wonderful by the way), my spirits are high, I read more, I am in a doll club and am almost finished with my project (I have not sewed in a few years before now), I have started exercising again and eating healthier, I’ve lost some weight, I don’t do twitter or facebook and limit computer time. Ya know what?
    I’m happier and feel freer. One of my mottos is “Peace Be Still.” To me this is so important to feel and hear what the Spirit of the Lord is trying to tell us. We can’t possibly do that when there is constant noise going on. We have a choice to choose what we put in our day (besides kids and things that are a must). This is what works well for me.

    • says

      Valerie, Love your thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing them. It is so important to take time to Be Still. To listen and ponder. Our world has become so noisy and you are right we always have a choice and we need to be strong enough and brave enough to make the right choices for what is right for us. Thanks again!

  6. says

    Hi Leigh Anne,What great thoughts. I absolutely agree. I love the idea of articles like this on your blog. Keep ‘em coming!

    Warmly, Michelle
    PS – Are you coming to SNAP again this year? You were one of my favorite people that I met there & I’d love to see you again.

  7. Harlene says

    Wonderful post. As I look back on being a younger mom, I realize that so much of my business came out of fear. Fear of failing as a mom, fear of not being perfect, fear of disappointing my kids or husband, etc. I remember feeling on the brink as I drove my oldest two 8 and 6 to suzuki violin, with my three younger ones 4, 2, and 3 mos in the back of the suburban. I didn’t know how I was going to keep them all quiet while I participated in the lessons. It was absolutely a horrible afternoon. Forgot the diaper bag, two out of five had no shoes, etc. As I started to cry at a red light I felt so strongly, “Stop parenting out of fear. Do not only have Faith in Me, but have faith in your children and have faith in yourself.” It took a few more years for me to finally “get it” but once I did, our family and home became a different place. My children have grown up to be remarkable individuals despite my failings. Sometimes you really do need to embrace mediocrity to move forward.

  8. says

    Love this…I actually have felt this way for a long time and intentionally stay away from the phrase “I’m busy” because I don’t want people to ever feel that I don’t have time to love and serve. Honestly, I want to be less busy, do you have any tips on that one???

  9. says

    Hi Leigh Anne, Well, I am kind of the opposite, oh my goodness. I actually do not like to busy at all and I stay away from “busy” as much as possible. LOL! My boys are involved in Scouts, but that is it. We have tried a couple of sports, but it didn’t really stick. It seems that sports and dance is the most time consuming with most of my friends’ children. I would enjoy going to sports activities and watching my boys..so don’t get me wrong. A few months ago, I was at Small Groups meeting at church {small groups is small groups of people from church, who meet twice a month for Bible study and we become a tight knit group, help each other, pray for each other…that sort of thing} and each mom in the group was going on about how crazy busy their life is and how they are so busy that there is no time for “family time” and their whole life is so rushed and they are so exhausted. Of course, I did not chime in…as I am not busy!! LOL! But, it was honestly the saddest thing ever. I’m looking at these moms, listening to their stories and I’m so sad for them…genuinely sad, not looking down at them at all. They all have young children, work full time, and are over scheduled. I thought to myself, what is the point of having a family if you are killing yourself and barely getting through the day with all the activities and working. When I got home, I talked to my husband about what I had witnessed and hugged him so hard and thanked him for our way of life, that we do not believe in running ourselves ragged and that we continue to sacrifice “things” so that I can be a stay at home mom. It’s funny because while most people are wearing their busyness as a badge of honor, I am wearing my “my schedule is clear” as a badge of honor. Having said all of this, I do know that if my kids had turned out to be sports guys, I’m sure my life would be a bit different. I also want to say that I am totally understanding that a lot of mom’s HAVE to work!! I completely understand and I don’t want anyone to think I am judging at all!

    • says

      Bonnie, Thank you so much for your comment and input. I absolutely love what you had to say and I love that you wear that badge of honor so proudly and are such a great example to those around you. Keep it up girl! It is amazing how so many women wear their busyness as a badge of honor and almost feel quilty if they aren’t busy enough!

  10. says

    Love this! I have been trying to slow myself down. Great food for thought! BTW, I am also the activity days leader and the primary chorister in my ward. Best jobs ever! I wish you lived here and I would take you to lunch!

  11. says

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you so much, However I am experiencing difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anybody having identical RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

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