The best things often come in small packages. That’s certainly the case with Crazy Busy, Kevin DeYoung’s delightful little book of 118 pages. It’s one of the simplest yet most insightful books I’ve read in a long time. DeYoung is a superb writer – clear, funny, self-effacing, discerning, and biblical. It’s no wonder that Pastor Rick Warren states on the cover of the book, “Everything DeYoung writes is helpful for life and ministry,” or that seminary president Al Mohler declares, “DeYoung is a careful thinker, a gifted pastor, and a writer who keeps us on the edge of our seat.”
I would add to these comments that Kevin DeYoung, who was born in 1977 but has already penned numerous books, makes me think of what Elihu, another young man, observed: “It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right.” (Job 32:9)
I’m sure that over-busyness has always been a problem for people with drive, but in the twenty-first century, there are multiple factors that make it an even greater issue than before, especially in the West, and very likely more so with church-going Christians than with the general population.
Chapter by chapter, DeYoung helped me to diagnosis why throughout my life I’ve felt I must stay busy (my own comments in italics):
- Chapter 3: You are beset with many manifestations of pride. (Certainly see it in myself!)
- Chapter 4: You are trying to do what God does not expect you to do. (Sometimes true for me.)
- Chapter 5: You can’t serve without setting priorities. (At times I’ve lacked clear focus.)
- Chapter 6: You need to stop freaking out about your kids. (So true for young parents today!)
- Chapter 7: You are letting the screen strangle your soul. (Great insights for the digital age!)
- Chapter 8: You’d better rest yourself before you wreck yourself. (Crucial in our age of burnout!)
- Chapter 9: You suffer more because you don’t expect to suffer at all. (Surprising thoughts here!)
- Chapter 10: The one thing you must do. (Right on, brother!)
De Young points out that because of the tendency of “mission creep” in our lives, we should come to grip with the necessity of setting priorities. We can’t do it all, and when we set priorities, we can serve others most effectively. In addition, he reminds us of the necessity of allowing others to set their own agenda. Don’t try to do it for them.
I’ll end with several actual quotes to give you a glimpse of how helpful this book really is:
“The presence of extreme busyness in our lives may point to the deeper problems – pervasive people-pleasing, a restless ambition, a malaise of meaninglessness.”
“It’s easy for preachers and leaders, or just plain old Christian friends, to pound away at ‘more’ – we should pray more, give more, show hospitality more, share our faith more, read our Bibles more, volunteer more. Maybe because I’m a type A or left-brained or an ESTJ or a good pastor or a people-pleasing sinner, but I feel these ‘more’ imperatives poignantly.”
“The busyness that’s bad is not the busyness of work, but the busyness that works hard at the wrong things. It’s being busy trying to please people, busy trying to control others, busy trying to do things we haven’t been called to do. So please don’t hear from me that work is bad or that bearing burdens is bad. That’s part of life. That’s part of being a Christian.”
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