Is Being Busy A Good Problem?

If you live in America, and attend a traditional church, or mega-church, or really any church that wants to “grow” its membership numbers, you have probably heard many people tell you how “busy” they are.  Saying you are “busy” has become a default response to say when someone asks how you are doing.

It seems like a sin to not be busy anymore.  What are we busy doing?

Go ahead, ask someone how they are doing, and they will likely say… Busy!  Just staying busy!

What do you usually say in response to that?

Well you know what I hear all the time in response … “That is a good problem to have”

Is it a good problem?


When it comes to the institutional church environment, is the answer that a person is “busy” a complaint, or is it a boast disguised as a complaint?

I think it is a boast.  You look “holier” when you are heavily involved in “church” activities.  The busyness is purely guilt-imposed.  The work and obligations along with classes, activities, groups, and studies everyone gets into is because of the guilt-induced “system” they are a member of.

Are we to boast?  No, so we hide the boast as a complaint.

Are we to be anxious and feel guilt? No, but  it is not as if any of us want to act and live like this, I feel it is something that the “church” collectively forces one another to do.

Tell people you are not signed up for anything … what do they say?

I think people are addicted to busyness, and have no clue how to function in life in the absence of being busy all the time.

I was in this activity-driven church world at one time where I was busy all the flipping time, and almost everyone I knew was busy too.  We all had no time for each other outside the “functions” of “church”, and the guilt I would feel when I was not participating in the 10 billion activities, events, groups, and studies would be so overpowering.  The guilt was laid on real thick.  You could cut the guilt with a knife.

Was there time for relationship building?  Absolutely not!  There was the façade of relationships within the walls.  The only relationship with others was only inside the “function” of church itself.  I never saw any true community building outside the walls, and believe me I tried to build them.  I hope others did not feel this way, and can find true relationships within this type of environment.

Ever since I left all the hustle and bustle of the institutional “system” of church and cleared my plate, it was very interesting trying to get together with others when I had a whole bunch of time on my hands.  There was no one around … they were always gone.  The neighborhood was a ghost town.  See, this busyness carries over into the world outside the church walls too.  People are generally “busy” all the time

Why is this?

How are we to build relationships with one another if people are so busy doing “things”.  The individualized society we live in inside and outside the church walls is going to be the death of community as scripture defines.  Busyness kills relationships.

When I was in “church”, if you wanted to try to have some “community” time, people would schedule in time for others like a checklist. By doing this you would look good to others within the country club of “church”.  You were giving time to others, right?

It was relationship building by checklist.  Get with others … Check! Guilt is gone.

Does this make sense to anyone, or is it just me and my crazy mind thinking this stuff up?

2 thoughts on “Is Being Busy A Good Problem?

  1. Ahhh, Swanny… Your forthrightness never ceases to amaze me… As you know, our family is +sized and as our family expanded over the years, with more demands being made on my time, I felt the need to withdraw from all the busyness of/that is, Church. Programs & activities are truly the catalyst for community in a big church leaving one with little time for penciling-in community/fellowship in the home, let alone getting to know your neighbors (guilty as charged…I have a LOT of catching up to do…) In addition to that, the majority of activities are geared towards different age groups, and the activities that are geared toward outreach or charity generally involve those in need coming to “us” and very little involvement in the home lives of our neighbors. This is not to say that people don’t do these things on their own, it just seems like once you’ve made your donation to the Food Pantry, you’ve done your part and are no longer compelled to seek out those in need.
    As my involvement in church activities diminished I found myself on the outside looking in. I made a genuine effort to keep involved by just making last minute calls or dropping by (which apparently I am the only one who still seems to practice the art…either that or I am INCREDIBLY rude…) or making invitations for a simple meal, but everyone was just to busy. I think I may have said this elsewhere, but what I finally realized what that people were satisfied to have “puddle” relationships instead of plumbing the depths of Family Life together…
    Thanks for another great post, Swanny. 🙂

    1. Genoise – Thanks for the comments. I know exactly what you are talking about. I too have catching up to do, but I have to admit it is difficult because a lot of people in my neighborhood are just so busy and never home.

      I guess I just keep on trying!

      Take care.

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