Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Busy (the 4 letter B word)

My mind comes up blank 100% of the time when people ask me the typical conversation starter question, "So what have you been up to?" Why why why is that the hardest question to come up with a good answer for? I mean, obviously there is stuff I've been up to. I'm up to all kinds of stuff. But what, exactly? Couldn't tell ya.

When we first arrived in New Zealand I started looking for a full-time job in childcare. But just a few days in I found a great family who only needed part-time nanny work. I took it because it's something I'd never done before and since the pay is good, I actually don't have to work full time hours. It's a win/win. The kicker to only working part time however, is that I have so much free time!

I get that most people don't understand what it's like to have loads of free time. To be honest, in the beginning I didn't either. It took some getting used to, having open gaps of time each day. I tried to fill those gaps with some kind of activity or outing or duty before I had to head into work in the afternoon. But I soon realised that doing unnecessary tasks just to fill up time is pointless and to put it bluntly, pretty stupid.

To be honest, I've struggled with this over the past year and a half. There's a fine line between having a relaxed, go with the flow schedule and laziness. I never wanted to fall on the side of lazy and unproductive. But it is really easy to feel that way, when you're sitting at home scrolling through Facebook at 11:00am on a Tuesday. Our feeds are full of people running marathons and travelling Europe, or getting a promotion at work, or delivering baby number 2 in a kiddy pool in their living room. And suddenly it's like why am I not doing all of these things?!

But if there are two things I've learned on this journey it's that Facebook is a dirty liar who convinces us that everyone else's lives are 100x better than our own, and that we as humans need to end the glorification of busy.

I could write for days on the evils of Facebook, (which I still have and use and don't delete because it is how the majority of you came to be reading this piece, no?) but that's another post entirely. This busyness stuff, however, that's one I've been thinking a lot about recently. Everyone in our western first world nations are just expected to be busy. And if you're not? Well, whats wrong with you? Don't you have friends and obligations and parties to go to and meetings to attend and isn't it just driving you mad?!

I know people go through different phases of life and our busyness levels will vary. I know some people work 20 hours a week, some work 50 a week, and some are stay at home parents and work 24hrs a day 7 days a week. Busy busy busy. But what I wish would end is the sentiment of 'if you're not busy doing things, whats wrong with you?' I will not feel inferior because I don't have a filled-to-the-brim schedule. I will not feel juvenile because I can go to the beach for an hour or 2 on a weekday just because it's nice outside. I refuse to be labelled as 'lazy' because I'm a 20-something who's not working myself into the ground.

Our Pastor touched on busyness last week and brought up the story of Mary and Martha. A quick run down; Jesus visits these sisters, Mary sits at his feet and listens to him, while Martha runs around preparing food and whatnot. Martha complains to Jesus that her sister should get off her behind and help do stuff. Jesus shuts Martha down real quick and says that Mary is actually doing the better thing. He summed up Jesus' response with; "Martha, stop making sandwiches I never asked for."

It sounds kind of silly in those terms, but thats the gist of it. And it made me wonder, how many sandwiches have I made that God (or anyone, for that matter) never asked for? Why do stuff just to do it? Because if no one is eating those sandwiches its all just a big waste of time (and bread).

With full discloser I'll admit, over the past few months I've have added a few things to my plate. I started another part time job, enrolled in an online literature class, and have volunteered for events at my church. But each of these are things I value, and feel strongly I should be doing in this season. They're not things to just fill up space. And guess what? I'm still not busy.

So if you have open spaces in your life right now, enjoy it. Don't say yes to things just for the sake of saying yes. Enjoy free time! Enjoy hard work (!). Enjoy this one and only life we've all been given. Quit makin' sandwiches nobody asked for.

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