Tethered to our smartphones, over-scheduled, spiritually and physically fatigued--all symptoms of a society gone crazy busy. Is running from work to school to church to practice to home and back again really the best way to live?
For pastor and author Brady Boyd, the answer is a resounding no. Boyd’s Addicted to Busy: Recovery for the Rushed Soul (David C. Cook, Sept.) is one of a number of new books offering help for the harried, rest for the rushed, breathing space for the breathless.
“This is probably the most important topic I’ve ever written about,” says Boyd, who is senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., and author of Fear No Evil: A Test of Faith, a Courageous Church, and an Unfailing God with Bill Hybels (Zondervan, 2013) and Sons and Daughters: Spiritual Orphans Finding Our Way Home (Zondervan, 2012).
“People are out of control" says Boyd." As a pastor, I’m super concerned that people don’t know how to tap the brakes and slow down, much less live lives of simplicity and rest.” He admits to nearly destroying his marriage because of a hectic, overstuffed schedule during his early years as a pastor.
“I’m trying to be a prophet,” Boyd says, who is practicing what he preaches by taking a sabbatical this summer. “[Pastors] have to talk about this more by teaching on it, preaching on it, and modeling it.”
Fellow pastor Kevin DeYoung (University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Mich.) is the author of Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem (Crossway, 2013). It recently won ECPA’s 2014 Christian Book of the Year, as well as an Award of Merit in the Christian Living category in the 2014 Christianity Today Book Awards.
"Despite all of our technological advances, which make doing almost everything quicker and easier, most of us still feel like we are drowning in busyness,” says Justin Taylor, senior v-p and publisher for books at Crossway. “DeYoung's book comes along not as a here-today-gone-tomorrow quick-fix gimmick, but as a short, timely, and timeless book from a fellow Christian struggler who gives wise and winsome counsel on how to keep the main things the main thing."
Busy with books
InterVarsity Press released The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness by Tim Chester in 2006, as well as An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest (2013) by Alan Fadling, who confesses in the opening line, “I’m a recovering speed addict—and I don’t mean the drug.” It won a 2014 Christianity Today Book Award of Merit in the Spirituality category.
The quest to understand busyness and our addiction to it isn’t limited to Christian publishers. Brigid Schulte, a staff writer for The Washington Post, authored Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time (Sarah Crichton Books, Mar.), describing the stresses in our lives and telling us how to heal them.
The number of books specifically for busy mothers also grows. Gloria Furman (Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home) wrote Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms (Crossway, Mar.); Kimm Crandall is author of Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood (Cruciform Press, 2013). Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson authored Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe (Thomas Nelson, 2013).
Embracing the antidote
While busyness has become a topic of interest, its antidote—simplicity and rest—also has inspired books. Revell releases Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray in June, and Baker Books publishes Relaxing with God: The Neglected Spiritual Discipline by Andrew Farley in July.
Theological works are addressing the issues of busyness and rest. IVP Praxis, a line for ministry leaders, offers Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison (June). In March, Baker Academic published Leisure and Spirituality: Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Perspectives by Paul Heintzman as part of its Engaging Culture series.
Says Brady Boyd, “Most people remain busy because if they slow down they have to deal with issues of the heart. I want people to ask, ‘What are we doing, what can we stop doing, and why are we doing it?’ Workaholism has destroyed as many families as alcoholism.”