Takeaway: God wants us to be focused on what God wants us to do, not everything else.
Crazy Busy is a book that I enjoyed and got a lot more out of than I thought I would going in. I am a fairly low key guy. I don’t enjoy high stress situations. I usually start feeling stress when my to-do list has more than a handful of things on it. I do not view myself as ‘crazy busy’ and I am not by the standards of most people.
But this ‘mercifully short’ book on busyness was still helpful. I think it fits well with my unintentional book focus this year, that it is the normal, mundane every-day things that are really important in the long run.
DeYoung is the pastor of a large church, author or co-author of more than a dozen books, father of 5 under 10, husband, and well understands busyness. As he says, this is one of those books by someone that sees a problem through personal experience, not because he has solved the problem of busyness.
So he uses 3 things to avoid, 7 diagnosis of the problem and one thing you must do, to try and overcome busyness. This is not so much a ‘how to’ book as a ‘here are the important things’ book.
If I could summarize the argument it would be 1) God has created you with limited time, 2) In order to make best use of the time you have to prioritize around what you must do and what you are gifted with and who is around you, 3) do not get distracted by the less important things (or your own pride that thinks you can do more than you can) and 4) God has to be first and central.
There are a few places where I would quibble about emphasis or an illustration. But for the most part this is a very helpful book. He talks about not doing everything, saying no to less important things, prioritizing family (and not being controlled by your children), getting appropriate amounts of rest and a lot of overlapping advice that was in The Spiritual Dangers of Doing Good. (I honestly hadn’t connected the two books in my head until I started writing this paragraph, so maybe I do have more issues that I thought.)
One particularly helpful part of the book is where DeYoung talks about Jesus. Jesus was busy. Especially reading Mark it seems that Jesus hardly did anything except preach and heal for three years. He was busy enough that it says he did not always eat, his family was concerned enough that they thought he might be going mad, he was tired enough that he slept through a huge storm. Jesus was busy. But Jesus did not do everything. He left towns when there were people left unhealed. In fact he could have just healed everyone without them even coming to him, but he didn’t.
So Jesus did prioritize his time and those priorities were not what others thought he should be doing. Jesus did spend time in public ministry, in small group mentoring, in private devotion and rest and at parties. I think it can be taken too far, but I do think that DeYoung is right, that we can’t expect to be more than Jesus.
In the end this is a book not against busyness so much as a book asking the reader to prioritize within the busyness.
A PDF copy of the book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley for purposes of review.
Related Bookwi.se Book Reviews
- Mark: The Gospel of Passion by Michael Card
- I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth and Life of Following Jesus by Leonard Sweet
- The 2014 Christianity Today Book Awards (including Crazy Busy)
- Jesus is Better than You Imagined by Jonathan Merritt
- Evangelical Christian Publishers’ Association Books of the Year (including Crazy Busy)