With 7 years of full-time work under his belt, increasing responsibilities over time as well as various church commitments, Jason Tam is no stranger to busyness. But he makes sure he is not too busy to write a solid match summary, catch up with mates, go scuba diving, and eat some good sushi.
The Night in a Tweet
Give thanks to God for our busyness, because it is a gift from Him.
It's a brand new year at Headstart, and probably the first time we've centred a theme around food This year we're looking at soul food we can crave on that will spiritually satisfy and sustain us as young Christian workers.
Tonight we had some quick nuggets from McDonald’s - and also from Mark on how we handle busyness. Busyness is something we often think of as a bad thing. As our lives get busier and busier, we crave for relief and we hunger for rest and peace. Busyness can be rewarding, but it can sometimes lead to frustration, stress and burnout.
Interestingly, the Bible tells us that being busy is a good thing. Psalm 121 shows us that our God is always at work; He's a busy God. And if we are made in His image, then we too should be busy like God. 2 Thessalonians 3 shows us that the opposite of being busy is being idle (rather than resting). Being idle and having nothing to do is unhealthy for a Christian - it's a state we need to avoid. In light of this, we can learn to be thankful to God who keeps us busy by giving us things to do in life. Every opportunity to be busy can be seen a gift from God.
As we learn to see busyness as a gift, there are dangers that we need to be aware of. The first is that we can wear busyness like a badge. Showing others that we are busy can make us feel proud and important. Our sinful desire to show-off surfaces, and it can lead us to burning out and feeling unfulfilled. The second danger is that we can use busyness as an excuse. If we've ever found ourselves turning down someone's request, we may be sending the message to them that they are not important enough to us, and this can create barriers in relationships.
At the end of the night, we were left with three suggestions on how we can be busy and satisfied at the same time:
- We need to confess and repent when we let sin influence the way we use our busyness
- We need to recognise that there are seasons of busyness - some times will be busier than others. But we have to make sure that such "seasons" don't persist for too long, or that might indicate we're falling into the dangers of sin
- We ought to have margins in our lives - to give ourselves some breathing space in our weekly routine
Mark used the analogy that busyness is like a water vortex which can suck the life out of us. He gave us a snapshot of his professional Asian parenting that "vortex" was the third word his children learnt (after "daddy" and mommy"). Can't wait to see their selective school test results!
What I Left Thinking About
In my 7 years of full time work so far, I can definitely testify that work gets busier over time. As you gain more experience and trust from your colleagues and managers, you are given more responsibilities and therefore more work to do. Each new task can be seen as an opportunity to bring glory to God, to improve my skillsets, and to please my bosses. But it is often hard to view every new thing with a positive attitude. Our time at work is limited (if we stick to a healthy work routine) and there is only so much one person can do at a time. I'm often tempted to turn down my colleagues to help them and prioritise another piece of work over them. Juggling my work load can get hard and negotiating with my bosses may mean I am stuck between pleasing them or my colleagues, but not both at the same time.
But I've come to establish the mindset that work is never-ending; you get another pile of work to do once you finish the previous lot. And since it isn't going away, I am free to pace myself in a comfortable routine that my boss and I are happy with. I can give my time and attention to my colleagues, and help them with their work - and by doing so, show love to others that God calls us to do. I can be joyful with the work opportunities God had given to me and use them to glorify him, because my God is a hard worker too. I am glad there is presently enough work to keep me steady in my job, without the desperation of trying to finish it all and having it suck the joy out of my job. At the end of the day, choosing to see my work and busyness as a gift helps me appreciate the way God works in my life.