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  • Melinda K. Bowens

#BreakingTheCycle: The Defense of Busyness

The Defense of Busyness

We’re busy people these days and that statement really came as a shock to no one; but I thought I would start there. Before we keep going, I just want to stop and say this post does not end with a magic formula on how to get it all done. Because if it did, I would be selling that secret to fund my dream of retiring early (and be a full-time writer, of course). And by “get it all done” I mean getting everything on that never-ending to-do list of life that’s been growing uninhibitedly since senior year of high school. We know that list. It goes a little something like this:


-Buy groceries



-Complete degree one

-Lose weight

-Cure world hunger

-Gain weight

-Facilitate world peace

-Wash hair

-And oh, have it all done by 9 pm to get a good night’s sleep

Now, we might be giggling a little, but that’s what a lot of us sound like each day trying to tackle “the list.” And how much of our list we accomplish tends to dictate how well we think our day went. Don’t believe me? Watch the face of the next person who tells you they finished everything on their list for the day. It’s like a small light of euphoria comes over their eyes as they tell you about their day. But most feelings of accomplishment give us that same feeling.

The thing about external achievements is that they have to keep coming to keep that feeling coming. So we continue to add to the list because we’re bound to at least get some of it accomplished, right?! But this line of thinking can go a couple of ways. One, we add sooooooooo much to our list and possibly don’t get much of it completed so we feel like we’re failing. Or the other side, we handle every task and feeling amazing, but we don’t have any new tasks and feel somewhat lost on what to do with life.


It’s not a secret that I am a former super planner who is currently in recovery. I mean, I would spend hours researching and finding just the right planner for the year. I even made my own one time (please don’t judge my decisions). On top of my yearly planner, I had a four-year plan taped to my fridge and a five-year plan saved to a USB drive. Why did I have two? Because one was an academic plan and the other was a life plan. I told you, super planner…in recovery.

But somewhere around five-year-life plan number two, I had received the degrees I was supposed to get, I had networked with the right people, I had been socially and professionally active with the right organizations, but I was missing my oomph. I was at a loss for more checked boxes and consequently came to a loss for what I was doing with life. My list was empty, I didn’t know what to add and wasn’t sure of my next move.

And this story sounds similar for many of us. When we’re not busy, we’re almost bored. Somewhere in our stories busy became synonymous with productivity. But the thing is, busy and productive are not the same thing (not even close actually). Being busy gives us a sense of being accomplished, while being productive is the accomplishment.


Moving from the idea of busy to productive also requires us to know purpose. But before we can know purpose, we have to believe we have one. Just in case this is your first time hearing it, you so have a purpose in this life (Ephesians 4:7). Happy we took care of that step.

But we don’t create our own purpose and/or gifts, they’re given to us. And any gift ever given to us by God is always perfect (James 1:17). As creator and giver of all these gifts and purposes, He also knows exactly how they work best (Romans 8:28). So while we’re out here estimating how this life works because we only looked at the picture on the box, God is available with the instructions if we’ll choose to seek Him first above our check list (Matthew 6:33).


Chat with God (Be honest. It’s just you and Him)


What’s on your to-do list? The whole thing.


How often have you sought God about your purpose (not to be confused with your future)? What did He say?


What is your one sentence prayer to God in this situation?


Please invite a friend to this series who you think would like to join this journey!

Get information about my new book here!

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