I don’t know about you but too often I feel like I’m living the words of Professor Hinkle in Frosty the Snowman , “Goodbye everyone … I’ve got to get BUSY… BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!” (it’s after Halloween so we can quote Christmas specials, right?)
Just think about the types of conversations you have on an almost daily basis. Perhaps with co-workers it’s something like…
“How’s it going?”
“We had a tournament for our oldest’s team all weekend. It is just crazy BUSY right now with school, sports and the kids’ activities. I can hardly tell if I’m coming or going.”
Or with a neighbor maybe it sounds like…
“How’s it going?”
“Oh man, it is so BUSY at work right now! Feels like I almost live at the office but, you know how it is – whatever it takes, right?”
How about with your spouse (over text, of course, because there is not time to actually talk in person) …
“BUSY! Are you picking up kids today – or me? Don’t forget we have to meet with the roof guy at 6:30pm after I drop off kids at practice. SIGH, could we be more BUSY??”
Whether it’s work, home, kids, parents, neighbors, sports, or even church or volunteer work, in today’s culture it is insanely easy to find yourself so BUSY that by the end of the day Monday you are already strung out, strung up or completely unstrung. Either because of what happened that day or what you know is supposed to happen later in the week. Oh, and it’s only Monday.
I’ve begun to wonder if here in America we all suffer from Superhero Sickness. No, Superhero Sickness is not a rash you develop after binge watching Val Kilmer and Ben Affleck as Batman back-to-back (even though that is enough to make one sick). Nor does it describe the chronic fatigue from discovering yet another B-list (or even C-list) superhero has made their way to the movie theater or Netflix.
I’ve been a fan of superheroes a long time….and still am. Ever since I was a kid and rode my bike to the local QuikTrip to buy comic books with money from my paper route, there has been something about a superhero that stirs my soul. I think, in part, it’s a superhero’s ability to tackle seemingly impossible tasks. However, even more than turning back time by causing the Earth to spin in reverse on its axis, or running 1,500 MPH without chafing, (both of which seem to me to be impossible tasks), I think what I love most about superheroes is their ability to ‘do it all’ while still maintaining a laser focus on their higher calling. For example, take the Green Arrow, who hardly could be considered a quintessential superhero. Oliver Queen is the mayor of Star City, a single dad, has run a billion dollar company and, oh, on top of all that he takes out bad guys and saves the city, if not the world, nearly every night. Yes, he’s someone who can apparently do it all.
Now, while superheroes can inspire us and often do, there is a risk that our admiration morphs into something less healthy. This is what I’ll call Superhero Sickness. When we begin to feel the pressure to be a superhero in our own life. In other words, when I experience a behavior-impacting sense that myself, my family, or my kids have to do it all, be it all, experience it all; and, that if we don’t then myself, my family or my kids will either fail or fall woefully behind everyone else.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that has made this “sickness” a way of life – where being BUSY is treated as a badge of honor. Ask any adult to tell you how they’re doing in one word, and you’ll most likely get “Busy” or some synonym of it. The level of BUSY-ness in America may be at an all-time high and it shows. Rates of suicides, addictions, anxiety and depression are all on the rise. Employees are so BUSY in today’s work environment that several companies, such as Netflix and LinkedIn, now offer unlimited vacation days for employees. Not because they they think employees are too BUSY but because they know it actually results in people working even more. We have even have incorporated being BUSY into our internet memes because “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
This pressure to maintain a BUSY pace of life has even infected many Christians in America. While each of us are called to serve in our church, if you find that you’re spending more time doing things for Jesus, than you are spending time with Jesus, then you’re probably BUSY and it’s time to reevaluate your church commitments. I’m reminded of what Jesus said to Martha in Luke 10:38-42. Martha was doing all of the work preparing the meal and was upset that Mary was sitting there listening to Jesus rather than helping her with the meal. Feeling righteously indignant Martha went to Jesus and asked Him to tell Mary to help Martha work. What was Jesus’ reaction? He told Martha that “Mary has chosen what is better.” A good reminder that even my choices to be BUSY doing good things can be the wrong choice if it takes away from what is better.
Does that seem like too strong of a statement? Consider the effect of trying to keep up with the madness of the world, and the resulting BUSYness it causes in us? Does it bring life to you? Does it help you develop an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus? How about the impact on your spouse? Or your kids, coworkers, neighbors? What is your impact on others when you are BUSY? I don’t know about you, but it becomes pretty difficult for me to reflect the light of Jesus in a way that draws others close to Him when I allow myself to be so BUSY that I’m exhausted, frustrated, tired, or scared.
If this is the consequence of being BUSY, then perhaps it’s time we start thinking of BUSY as B.U.S.Y – Being Under Satan’s Yoke.
Consider Jesus’ words found in Matthew 11:28-30,
“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.”
Now I know why I love all those superheroes – because all of them ultimately point to the one true superhero….. Jesus, who actually did a seemingly impossible task when he walked out of the tomb and paid the price for my freedom as well as yours. Take some time out of your BUSY schedule, just as Mary did, and sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to what He has to say to you today. You will never regret it.