Busyness

 

Busyness. 

Not business, but busy ness. Seems epidemic, perhaps pandemic now days. And with it, the mantra of how good multi-tasking is. While multi-tasking is often necessary in some circumstances, motherhood as an example, research and common-sense states that multi-tasking is detrimental to being mindful.

Busyness, faithfulness and consistency. These are the topics for the day.

So much of our lives and our days are filled with busyness. Much of the busyness is job related or commitment related and cannot be avoided. And then we add to that wanting to connect and have relationships or pursue our hobbies and the things we enjoy. 

So… 

we multi-task. Attempting to squeeze out of each minute all that we possibly can for efficiency sake in hope that we will free up time. We mop the kitchen floor while preparing a meal and get the tea brewing for the next batch of kombucha. We take that business call while working on the project on our computer. We call a friend to catch up and dust furniture while we talk. Gardening, we listen to a podcast and clean out the garden shed in-between tossing weeds into the bin. You get the idea. 

When I was waitressing, I mastered multi-tasking. Sort of a requirement to efficiently serve the patrons. It just made sense to me the way I organized my time and I was quite proud of my skill set. This skill transferred over to other areas of my life. Now looking back, though I was perhaps efficient, I wonder if I missed much of life in exchange for efficiency. Missing the moment because I was focusing on what was next. Missing the moments, forever gone.

In the shuffle of all we have to do, I believe we miss out on living and enjoying life, if we don’t practice being engaged in the moment. 

If we don’t practice mindfulness, the moments slip by.

Here is a disturbing statistic…

A couple decades ago the average attention span of an adult was 20 minutes. Now it is…are you ready for this? 9 seconds! Thanks to social media and phones that have us instantly connected for whatever sound bite of information we want. Coupled with the drive to get tons done…to multi-task…we have reduced our ability to pay attention from nearly a half-an hour to less than 10 seconds!

9 seconds! It takes us longer to pee! 

That is a staggering reduction in attentiveness…in being in the moment and mindful is no longer measured in minutes but just a few seconds.

A 9 second attention span is grounds for a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD. 

Now I am not making light of this diagnosis, but do you see where the epidemic may not be the letters as much as our lifestyle practices? That there might not be the need for the astronomical proportion of medicated peoples but a change in how many of us do life?

Busyness. A part of life and culture. But can we do busyness different? Do we have to fill every waking hour with things to do and tasks to accomplish? Can we dump some things and only do the most important, the best things? Can we do busy differently?  I think so.

It starts with our mindset. A choosing to be in the moment more than getting tons done. A choosing to not get it all done or doing it all. 

Because ultimately those little tasks, like cleaning out that drawer right now, is not as important as looking your child in his eyes while he tells you his story about his day. To not do so, to let this moment pass and moments like these…your child will soon learn that getting stuff done is more important than connecting and meeting soul needs. 

And the practice of continuing to work on a project on the blue screen while speaking with a client… well, 

People can usually tell when we are not listening, when we are not truly engaged in the conversation. And often we miss important details because we are not intentional with the conversation. How can we be when our brain is also attempting to do something else for efficiency sake?

And how about we no longer choose to hurriedly clean up the kitchen immediately after a meal? Because how often have we missed the spontaneity of conversation and connection, segregated…isolated in the kitchen. The clean-up will happen…later. And that is okay

Or sometimes people join in the clean-up. The importance is to stay engaged with the people around you rather than worrying about the busyness of a task.

Busyness…it segues into the habitual days of routine amidst our busyness. 

Where we may ask ourselves, “Does any of this really matter or make a difference?” 

You know, caring for the little things, the every day commitments…is it worth it?

I struggle with wanting to make a difference…somewhere.

I think of that kid on the trike from the movie, The Incredibles. Remember the scene where Mr. Incredible sees the kid on the trike and asks what is he waiting for…the kid replies, “Something amazing…I guess.”

And that is what I wait for. The opportunity to do something amazing.

I am still waiting. 

Trying to slow my pace of life and level of busyness. Learning to be mindful and engaged in the moments of life that really matter. You know, being consistent and faithful in the little things. Cause it is the little things that prepare us for the bigger things. 

And sometimes the big things happen and we aren't even aware of them happening…how they have impacted lives. School teachers, medical professionals, military personnel, law enforcement people, volunteers…moms. We are often unaware of how our reaching out in small ways makes a big impact on a person.

Consistency and faithfulness in the little things…

We know busyness is a fact of life. The level of busyness we can adjust accordingly. But busyness remains and we must be both faithful in what we do and consistent in our practices. 

 And as I often like to do, especially with words that I have grown too familiar with, I like to check their original definition…sometimes even checking the contemporary definition.

What does faithful and consistency mean? 

Faithful is defined as remaining loyal and steadfast. And loyal means giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution. Steadfast…resolutely firm and unwavering.

Faithfulness segues nicely to consistency-which is defined as the quality of achieving a level of performance which does not vary in quality over time. It is unchanging in nature, standard or effect over time.

Nice, huh? For the little things in life that we must do-the busyness we cannot avoid- to be faithful and consistent. Firm and unwavering in what we do with a level and quality of performance that does not change over time. Meaning…we do it to the best of our ability even as it has become routine. 

That is why it is important to prioritize with what we busy our times. This is theo only way we can be faithful and consistent in doing them. And since it is humanly impossible to do it all…we must make some choices…

Just how many clubs or sports or activities we will let each child participate in? How many volunteer groups will we be a part of? How much time will I devote to work-perhaps wanting to advance my career, but not at the rate of working more than 50 hours a week. Will we hire a cleaning lady or will we clean our own home? There is always a choice and an option as to how we fill our time…how busy we want to be. 

And this thought leads me to…At the core of our being is the desire to have a purpose for what we do. The drive to live life with a vision and a purpose. We want to make a difference in our part of the world with the use of our time. There is a  desire common to human-kind, to make a difference. It is in the fabric of humanity to live for something bigger than ourselves. 

And yet, there are times and seasons of life where the every day, the routine, the humdrum and monotony of days seem relentless…and we judge them as holding little or no purpose. All this busyness…But faithfulness is learned over time and with practice. Consistency develops with faithfulness. And here is what I am slowly learning…

I am learning that it is the faithfulness in the little things that prepares us for the bigger things. The consistent practice of remaining steadfast in the little things we do, doing them to the best of our ability, always, will bear fruit in other things and sometimes bigger things. 

Ladies, we are each created unique and wonderful with a magnificent purpose that only we can fulfill. Very often we do not see the purpose, but if we live with vision and intent…we can be assured that even in the routine, there is purpose to our lives.

There are stories of teachers, who remain unknown, that have touched the lives of those who have gone on to be astronauts, or medical doctors on the cusp of discovery or missionaries who reach the lost…and the list goes on. Is the teacher any less in her contribution, her purpose? The fame and notoriety may not accompany her contribution, but in the eternal scheme of things, she is noticed and cherished and honored. 

We measure too much of what we do against what others are doing. We most often harshly assess ourselves, falling short of some unnamed standard. And feeling then like we have little to contribute, we abandon using our gifts. 

The stodgy regime of my days overwhelm me at times. The monotony of maintaining a home can feel like stringing beads without a knot on the end. It is too easy to look at others lives and see that they are making a difference, but me, mopping the floor seems such a waste of time. 

Yet faithfulness in the little things pays dividends in my soul. Because doing all things as unto the Lord rather than men, puts it all in perspective.

And during these seasons where there seems more quiet than accomplishment, I have to remind myself of this truth frequently. Faithful in each little thing, consistent in my practices; and trust for the bigger things. And those bigger things? We may not even be aware of the big impact we have had on another.

Many FeSociety ladies demonstrate faithfulness. I am blessed and encouraged by each one as they go about their days, purposeful, committed and full of joy, limiting their busyness as they live life on purpose…living intentionally

… Women who fully embrace motherhood, reveling in this awesome relationship. Women who are faithful in their work and career, making a difference. Women who faithfully help other women become more healthy and fit and strong. And women who use their gifts to create, to teach, to administrate, to organize…all in faithfulness. In their faithfulness more of their beauty is revealed. 

I have practiced far too often and too consistently the hurriedness of getting to the next thing. Because if I hurry to the next thing then it gets me closer to the next thing and that next thing brings me closer to that thing I want to obtain, fleeting though it is…

then I realize, looking back, I have missed many an opportunity to rejoice, celebrate and enjoy time with the people God has placed in my life. 

(I thank those of you for faithfully sticking with me through the years of my oblivion) I missed tender moments because I have let other things get me outside of the moment, j

And so now I am learning to be trained by the small things in my life, like cleaning the horse stalls each morning, like tidying up the kitchen from a mess not my own, like preparing a meal, and fun things like enjoying the time of coffee with a friend...to be faithful. I am learning that I can write and share and listen. I can send cards and letters, touching lives. And I trust God for what He wants for my life, big or small, for His Kingdom purposes.

Hold on to this thought, a quote from Robert Collier, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”





 
Robert Vernon