The Art of Not Being Busy

This post has been drafted in my head for about three years now. That is kind of crazy now that I write that out but it's true.

As many of you know I moved to Korea in February of 2012. That year abroad was life changing for me. What you don't know is the kind of crazy busy my life was before. If I could sum it up it would be in one word: overfilled. The things that filled my time weren't bad, like running, working, Bible study, spending time with friends, etc. but I just filled my days full to the brim and didn't take time to be still. And that's a terrible place to be. At night when I sat still to read my Bible I couldn't even stay awake to do that.

My life was so full I honestly thought something was wrong with my brain because I couldn't remember normal things. I remember telling Dave I wanted to go get an MRI done of my brain (ha ha!) and he very kindly told me nothing was wrong with my brain but that I was just too busy.

Well, I went from busy America to slow paced Korea. Korea still had a full schedule but it wasn't so busy. I was forced to slow down. I didn't have a microwave and I had to reheat things on the stove. I couldn't speed to Starbucks and grab a cup of coffee while I ran to the next thing on my schedue but I had to walk to a coffee shop to enjoy a cup. It just slowed my entire life down and it was so good for my soul. And guess what? My memory improved. =)

Dave and I also dated long distance and I knew we wouldn't be doing any pre-marital counseling so I decided to meet with a few of my godly friends in Korea who were married to get their advice on marriage.

My dear friend Emily gave me some of the best marriage advice I have ever received and I just know God put her in my path at that time to share what I needed to hear. She told me several big things but one of the main things that stuck out is that in marriage I would have to ferociously guard my time with Dave. And man that is so true! So many things can pull you one direction or the other but you have got to make time for your husband and marriage. There is nothing wrong with kids, work, hobbies, church but if you don't make time for your husband you aren't investing in your main ministry.

Almost every thing I choose to do in life is filtered with making sure I'm making time for Dave and also guarding my time to make sure it isn't ever as busy as it was before Korea.

So how does this play out in every day life for me?

Well, right now I'm a swim instructor. I work part time. Dave works full time and has no pattern to his schedule so I try to see him when his schedule allows. I have tossed around the idea of working full time and although there are perks to that (like dual income) I can't give up time with Dave, family, friends or being still for that.

I'll be honest and say it has been weird when people ask what I do and I tell them I am married and work part time as a swim instructor. They ask if I have kids and when I say no, they sometimes just don't know what to say. ha! I'm not offended it's just a little awkward.

I'm also a big huge firm believe in just being still.

The other day I had a full day. I loved the people I spent it with and the things I did but I was just going going going so I said no to going to crossfit and I went outside with my dog and camera, took some pictures, which are now in this post, and then did some yard work. I also just stood still, looked up at the trees and the leaves changing colors and wondered if God ever just looks at His own creation and enjoys it? I mean the trees are so pretty. Then the sun burst through the clouds and the leaves were glowing. I kept thinking that only God could make something that creative. Then I wondered if my neighbors were watching me and how odd I must look just standing there looking up at the leaves. ha ha ha! But anyways, I'm glad I took a few minutes to be still.

I also am a firm believe in enjoying home. I love being home. My best friend even teases me that I'm a recluse but I just think God gave us homes to enjoy and be still in. It's a safe place after a busy day and I will admit I can be a big homebody and I'm okay with that. As social as I am, I recharge away from people so home is good for me.

Why am I sharing all this? Well, I know that lots of people out there are busy too and I hope that whatever situation you are in now you say yes to the best things and don't feel bad about saying no to other things. Dave always says that if I say no to one thing, I'm saying yes to another and that if I say yes to one thing, I'm saying no to another. Does that make sense? It has helped me a lot.

I also know that sometimes you can not pick to not be busy. I know Moms who work, people who have to work full time and have other important commitments. I'm not here to make you feel bad but I want to encourage you during the busyness to take some moments to be still. If you have a full schedule that's okay, just be sure it is full with the best 'yeses' not just busyness for the sake of feeling fulfilled by a busy schedule.

I also think this truth of being still is so important during the holidays because if you can't sit still long enough to read your Bible and talk to God and worship Him you pretty much have missed the joy of the holiday season.

What helps you slow down? 

If you are busy how do you make time to be still? 

Have you ever had to make a really big life change to revamp your entire schedule? 


  1. So love reading this. I am glad that you are embracing this season, right where you are. I thin k it's so important to "be still" and it's definitely not something I am good at.

  2. I've been thinking about this since I read it first when you posted it. I'm glad that you are finding time to be still and I do think that we could all be better about this. It's great that you are so intentional about spending time with Dave. That's so important! I do think that like you said at the end, not everyone has a choice about whether or not they are busy. Clearly you feel like God has put it on your heart for you to be still and not be busy, but I wouldn't say most people have the option to not work. I don't mean that in a bad way, but I'm just saying that for me I feel very busy and a lot of that is not something I can just stop. but one thing I am trying to be better about is making sure I can be awake for at least some prayer and maybe even bible study before bed. Putting away the computer and maybe not finishing all my chores and just spending quiet time with God.

  3. I have the same passion as you about not being busy. Whenever I'm busy for any amount of time, it makes me feel completely worn down. I've gotten very protective about our schedule and time as a family, and it's been so good for all of us even when other people don't understand.

  4. I love this so much! Sometimes it seems like it's impossible to slow down but, when we do, we realize that we were missing out on so much by rushing through life! I think you have your priorities right for sure!