I’ve been making some observations over the last several years. One of them is that women suffer from a debilitating, often undiagnosed disease. It’s pretty crippling, actually. Symptoms include (but are not limited to) anxiety, stress, loneliness, lack of joy and exhaustion. Yet, no one goes to a doctor for this one. In fact, most women shrug it off and let the disease spin out of control, without ever addressing it as an illness. So what is this awful affliction?
The disease of busy.
I crave authentic, life-giving community like no one’s business. I want to spend time with great friends, make lots of memories and laugh until my sides hurt and tears stream down my face. Maybe I am wrong but I feel like it was a lot easier to experience those very things when I was younger.
This is not about being old. It’s about a shift in our culture that, frankly, alarms me. Mostly because I am as guilty as every one else. Here are some of my ‘disease of busy’ sightings:
· You set up a time to meet with friends. The day before or the day of the event one person cancels followed, slowly, by the rest of the group. Ultimately, the plan is scrapped ‘until a better time.’
· You ask someone how they are doing and their automatic reply is, “Busy!” (I think this is code for: please don’t add anything else to my schedule.)
· You find yourself alone on a weekend (miracle!) and you cannot think of a single person to call to ‘hang out’ because you know they are all busy. And you aren’t. You must be the only one.
When did busy become so trendy? When did it start to mean you were a loser with no life if you didn’t have a cram-packed day? Why is it that life-giving relationships have taken a back seat to the calendar?
Why is it all so hard?
I am not sure that I have any good solutions here. This disease has impacted my own life on many levels, more times than I can count. Here is what I do know…it isn’t supposed to be this way.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Jesus (Matt 11:28-30)
For any bible newbies, a ‘yoke’ is a way of life.
Doesn’t that sound so good? Weary and burdened? Yup, that’s me. Do I want rest for my soul? Yup, me again. Jesus basically is saying here life shouldn’t be so hard. When did we lose sight of that? When did I lose sight of that?
They say knowledge is the first step to making a change. And like any other disease that has gotten out of control, recovery will be gradual. But I am resolving to make changes to my life through my calendar so my life will be better.
The thing is, I need others to make this choice, too. We need to take a good long look at our calendar and our priorities and start making some tough calls. We need to choose relationship over accomplishment. Friendship over productivity. We need to stop scheduling stuff and start scheduling life.
I really think this disease is a silent killer that is on the verge of being pandemic. I want to replace anxiety, stress, loneliness, lack of joy and exhaustion for love, laughter, memories and life-giving relationships with women who are amazing, not busy. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.
Who’s with me?