It may come in a variety of forms, but it is that statement just the same. I have come to hate it whether it comes from my mouth or the mouth of someone else.
WHAT ARE YOU TELLING ME?
Have you thought about what it communicates? Here are some of the things it has communicated to me over the years. You may have others to add. As I write this, I can even think of ways I have failed others recently…close friends…by either directly or indirectly communicating the “too busy” mantra.
From a parent: “My needs are more important than yours.” “My career is more important that you.” “I couldn’t care less about you.” “I don’t want to take the time to stop and listen to you because it might remind me of pain in my past that I don’t want to think about.”
From a friend: “I’m busy and important. I’m not sure about you.” “I’m embarrassed that I haven’t been around lately when you have needed me and being busy seems to be a socially acceptable excuse for my not being there for you.” “I’m feeling overwhelmed right now but I don’t know how to tell you that! I’m not able to meet all my obligations to my friends and I feel terrible about it! But again, it is way too scary to admit that to you.”
From an acquaintance: “I want to impress you with my importance.” “I don’t know what to say, and this usually impresses people.” “I don’t really care about you and your life but I want you to be impressed by me and my life and how well I have it all together. Actually, I’m lonely and don’t know how to make friends…especially with people who are different from me.”
Obviously, these categories can overlap. We also have weeks that have been crazy busy. I’m not talking about the occasional week where that comes up. I’m talking about this as a consistent response…or a synonymous phrase that communicates something similar.
ARE YOU BEING GRACIOUS?
Please! I beg you, as a way of showing grace to your sisters and brothers in Christ, to your blood related family, to your friends and even distant acquaintances…find a way to get that out of your vocabulary. It builds a barrier to friendships…or closeness.
There are very few of us who don’t feel busy in the sense that we have more things to do than we can get done. Some of us are more efficient and appear to get a lot done. At varying stages of our lives, we appear to accomplish less than other times due to physical strength/health issues.
WHO/WHAT GIVES YOU VALUE/WORTH?
But what is our value based on? How much we get done in a day/week/year? Our value is based on whether we glorify God in whatever circumstance God places us. Depending on our life circumstance, that varies. We have seasons where we are able to be obviously productive, others that don’t appear to be as much…but require many relational skills. For the record, relational skills don’t develop easily or efficiently!
We learn to love our husbands, our families, friends and acquaintances…all in different ways! That takes time. Does it look productive? NO! Our responsibility is to be faithful, not be busy…particularly when it interferes with our relationships! (I can think of ways to be convicted by my own words right now!)
When you tell us how busy you are, it communicates something about us and our interests…that we are unimportant. It may tell us something about you…something you may not want to communicate!
PLEASE NOTICE THOSE AROUND YOU. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THEY MAY BE STRUGGLING WORSE THAN YOU.
Many of us feel busy, rushed and overwhelmed, but we set it all aside in a social setting and take on the discipline of listening. Or when we pick up the phone to call to encourage…or write a note for the same purpose…it is a gift…of our time, focus, energy. When you go on about your busyness, we don’t learn anything about YOU…all we learn is that you are self-involved and don’t want to be with us.
Don’t even get me started on the issues of rudeness to the people present when you are texting to friends when in a social setting! I do understand that there are times when it is necessary ie. re business situations that need an immediate answer, question from a babysitter, etc. but honestly…what do you think you communicate to the person you are with when you feel the need to check your phone for messages while with them?
My feeling often, is that I must be awfully dull company (which is a distinct possibility!)…or it may not be a problem with me! As far as I’m concerned, I’d rather a person excuse themselves from a party telling the truth…”I’m just too busy with work right now to concentrate on the party tonight.” or I’m just overwhelmed with some things I’m thinking about. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make the effort to concentrate on you (individually/plural).
What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments. Is this too harsh?…or is this a new perspective you hadn’t thought of before? Please comment. I don’t mind disagreement as long as it doesn’t include vicious personal attacks or profanity:) This shouldn’t be a difficult assignment.
(By the way, I had no one specific person or people in mind when I wrote this post…just to clarify.)