Too many times in my life I have worn the badge of busy as a high honor. I get into all sorts of stuff, saying yes to every little opportunity, and burning the candle at both ends. The Williams house has recently gone through of season of burnout on top of trials with a few areas in our lives. God has waited so patiently for me to draw near to Him so we could take the steps to dig out of those dark times. I struggle with what to share on my blog because I never want it to sound negative or like I’m complaining. Please know that our hearts are filled with gratitude for our careers, family, and other areas of our life. Hang with me here, I do believe this is helpful!
At Fairview this past weekend we had a marriage conference with speaker Jim Burns of Home Word. It was amazing to take the time and learn from an expert! We also got to experience this with some sweet friends! You may recognize them…I photographed their weddings back in 2015. I hope to share more from our time of learning, but I’ll focus on this specific line he shared that played an orchestra on my heart strings! It can go for anyone, not just married people!
“If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy”
I am the task-oriented, queen of busy. Yes, sure, why not, I’ll help, I’ll shoot that, they need me, I’ll do this, hold on-I’m almost done, just one more task. Give me a virtual hand raise if you identify!
Friends, busyness isn’t healthy. After too many years of running a crazy, busy life my body couldn’t recuperate, my marriage wasn’t fun anymore, my relationship with God was starved, I was not a pleasant Mommy, and don’t even mention being an attentive friend. Busyness takes a toll on us physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. This is exactly where the devil wanted me. Tired. Distracted. Irritable. I spent my energy on good things and lost sight of my best things. This quote from Lysa sums it up!
“The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul.” – Lysa Terkuerst “Best Yes”
In the back of our heads, we all kinda know busyness is something we need to work on. Whether it’s the feeling of regret we get when we realize we overbook and have zero family time that week. Or seeing weeks pass without a message to a friend or one-on-one time with your spouse. We may know busy isn’t the best, but it sure is hard to act differently! Once I was somewhat recovered I realized Eli was being a much better child (product of his environment), my marriage was nicer, and y’all, mom even told me I was more pleasant to be around.
I’m learning so much about this topic right now. Instead of waiting until I can write you pages and pages of info, I want to leave you with 5 quick tips that have been on my heart…
Five tips to stop BUSY from ruining your life:
1. Start right
2. Say NO
3. Read “Best Yes”
4. List your framework
5. Seek Accountability
No problem right?? Ha! I’ll break it down.
Starting each day on the right foot with quiet time and prayer is essential. Draw near to him and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8) By coming to Him in the morning you are giving the holy spirit permission to move in your day! We all want to know what God’s plan is for our life, so we must renew our mind and then we can discern that plan. (Romans 12:1-2).
Have you ever gone back to read yesterday’s devotion that you missed because you slept in and realized it was the very word of encouragement or correction that you needed yesterday? This was me today. My yes to staying up late and working was a no to waking up before Eli to read my Bible and devotion.
Gasp- NO is a dirty word, but it can be life-giving! Become ok with saying no when necessary. Have you ever taken on a task and preformed horribly because you were exhausted and depleted? Or maybe you muster up all your energy to continue excelling in a task and leave your family (or ministry, or friends) neglected and disconnected. A discerning response to people’s requests can save you, and them, much misery.
Read “Best Yes”
Read “Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst. Lysa addresses the “disease to please” and walks you through biblical understanding of the command to love. She also gives a wisdom-based decisions-making process! There are also other books like “Present over perfect” , “Cultivate” and “Grace not perfection” that have a similar theme.
List your framework
Create a framework of goals and focuses then keep these in front of you. This may mean taking time to figure out your general purpose and focus in your career, family, ministry, and faith. Are your tasks pointing you in that direction? Are the opportunities you are taking on helping or hurting? Talk with your family to get on the same page with life. The more working parts there are the harder it gets, but having a collective purpose can unite everyone.
Sprinkle these directions with grace and gratitude, not perfection or comparison. You do you. Comparison only makes burnout worse.
I received an email this week from a friend who is also in the photography industry. She started with “Hey, I know we talked about setting boundaries for ourselves and our work, I wanted to share my latest boundary with you…” Little did she know, that very day I agreed to a task that didn’t fit my goals and wasn’t good timing for my family.
There are plenty more ways to put a halt to busy. What are your strategies? Do you have a way to keep things in check? I would love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments!
Now, I completely understand there are seasons of heavy workloads and time consuming tasks. I totally understand the grind of building a thriving business, a portfolio, and word-of-mouth. I understand that the hustle we pursued to get out of debt was mostly necessary. There are times to work, but there must be time to recuperate. This is also not permission to get lazy. This is not permission to stop serving.
This is permission to put the devil on notice and tell him he can’t manipulate you.
This is permission to focus on, or figure out, your strengths and where you are most influential in God’s Kingdom.
This is permission to say NO to the good things so you can say YES to your best things.