By LIBBO CROSSWHITE
Why “busy” is not a virtue
The clock reads 1:18 as I’m writing this and I feel like it’s the afternoon, but it’s really just after midnight. It’s the end of July, and for many of us in education, our internal clocks keep us up at night with the impending school year creeping closer. So many things to get done and probably so many things we want to do differently. It’s as if it’s the last week of pregnancy and New Year’s Eve all at once.
And I don’t think you necessarily have to be in education to have this feeling during the month of August, or any time of year. I can so easily find myself operating out of fear rather than joy. We worry about our kids. We’re afraid to mess up in parenting, in our appearance, in our jobs. Fear can dictate our every earthly move.
My anxiety for this month is rooted in both fear and a lie: that somehow there isn’t enough time in the day or enough in me to get things done. And I can find myself believing those two things are directly correlated to my worth. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I feel like my fear of failure dictates my choices more than my faith in a God who created both my children and me and has designed us for His glory. There is an innate part of me — I see you, sin — that’s terrified to mess it up, as if I have more control than God.
I saw this manifest itself this summer with the way Russell finally learned to swim without floaties. It was when he finally got over the fear of drowning and focused on the joy of swimming into his father’s arms that he could stay afloat. What a powerful picture of the gospel. Allowing ourselves to focus more on the Father and less on our fear is the only way we will keep from drowning in this world.
I want to spend this new school year operating out of the joy that filled my tank this summer — playing Monopoly while the rain came down at the beach and realizing I’ve created a competitive monster in Mary, or being at Dudy Noble for the magical ninth inning during the Super Regional.
I want to operate out of the same confidence that my Mary has in her love for her kitten and the Neshoba County Fair. I want to spend this year remembering the peace and contentment that came from less screen time and more dancing to “Old Town Road.” I want to remember the gifts that God has so clearly laid before me in the summer memories He has provided. And that means that taking time – with my Father and with my family – has to be taken off the never-ending to-do list and instead be ingrained as the desire of my heart.
So many times in scripture we see Jesus sitting or reclining with his disciples and followers, and maybe that’s supposed to remind us of the contentment found in relationships — and that we actually are the ones who create and decide a lot of the business and busyness in our lives.
Slow down. Find joy. Remember the gifts in front of you. Remember that it doesn’t last forever and that babies just don’t keep. And most importantly, spend time with your Savior to remind yourself that fear is indeed a liar.
And maybe this is more for me than anyone reading, but man, there is so much joy in less. Less time spent doing things that don’t fill us up or that we merely do out of obligation, less stuff, less fear, less things accomplished and way, way less busy. Worrying about getting everything done in one day has taken way too many years of my life.
In fact, my goal this month is to take the word “busy” out of my vocabulary. Unless I start running a bee farm, my prayer is for strength to remove both the attitude and the stress that comes with the word. Jesus had a whole lot to accomplish in His short 33 years on earth, and not once did anyone who encountered Him use the word “busy” to describe Him.
Take a deep breath. Remember who you were created to be and find joy in the smallest of moments.
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Madison and attend Pinelake. They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 5 years old and a son, Russell, who is 3 years old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison-Ridgeland Academy and can be emailed at email@example.com.