Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Truth About Busyness

By Suanne Camfield

We’re just so busy.

In all the years I had known her, the answer was always the same.

“Why don’t you guys take some time out, just for the two of you?”

We’re just so busy.

One day it dawned on me that we’d been having the same conversation for eight years. The ugly truth was that there was always going to be another project to tackle, another sports team to coach, another ministry to lead, another box to check off the infinite to-do list.

At the time, accepting this truth: how we lived a perpetually busy life was what mattered—and preaching it to my friend wasn’t that difficult because my own life wasn’t moving at such a lightening-quick pace.

But, as you know, leaders get antsy when they’re not in the throes. Over the years, my pace has continued to swell. This fall it turned into a full-on sprint when I went back to work for the first time in almost nine years. Always running a step behind, I feel like I never give my full attention to any one thing. Paradoxically, I’ve never been more energized by my God-given calling. The ping-pong match between passions—family and living out my influence—is maddening.

So I’ve been searching (somewhat desperately, borderline neurotically) for someone a few stages ahead to flip me the magic pill. I grab women’s hands across dinner tables, I plead with them on the phone, I stare them down in church hallways and I beg them to tell me they’ve figured out how to make it all work.

And, more directly, to tell me that I will too.

But none of them will say the words, because they know the truth I spewed at my friend years ago: There will never come a day, no matter how old or seasoned we get, when our boxes are checked, when our kids don’t need us, when we are void of God’s passion to make a difference; when we kick up our feet and finally declare, “Whew, I just can’t quite find enough things to do.”

Strangely, the non-answers have been reassuring. They teach me that God transforms our hearts in spite of the chaos, maybe even because of it. I’m clutching the wisdom of those who have gone before me, like soaking in Nancy Ortberg’s acumen of cultivating a well-ordered heart; like learning from a Thai missionary (via blogger Helen Lee) that balance can be viewed over a lifetime, not days; like shifting perspective by ingesting Mary Byers’ epiphany of rejecting balance and instead holistically integrating the people and passion in our lives. If you haven’t yet read this issue of FullFill™ on Balance (because you’re so busy), can I encourage you to click through right now and take a peek? ADD LINK TO MAG HERE.

Don’t get me wrong, given the choice, I’d still pop the magic pill. But rather than striving to perfect that which is elusive, I’ll instead choose to engage the process, accepting the messiness that is life, asking questions of those who know better, making corrections when I fail and doing my best to honor God and the people in my life along the way.

So tell me friend, what are you learning about juggling life?

Suanne Camfield is a writer, speaker and manager of the FullFill Blog. She is also a member of and blog editor for the Redbud Writer’s Guild ( You can read her musings about faith, life and writing at her blog


  1. Once I realized that Jesus never talked about "balance" in our lives and moved (at least mentally...) in the same direction as Mary Byers' epiphany of living with passion, it took off the stress of trying to "make it all work". In my own conversations I've had with many women leaders on finding the elusive sense of balance, I have finally begun to understand that when my passions and purposes are directed towards God's kingdom, one day I will look back on my life and realize that in God's grace and goodness, I did have all that He has for me....just not all at the same time.

  2. I've learned it is a process. We are women-in-the-making. I don't always get it right but Jesus is always here. I cherish what I'm given this day, and when I am interrupted I believe the interruption is from God.

    He loves us so much. He knows what we need. He always gives His peace.

  3. Women-in-the-making...I really like that. You have both hit on the idea that we are most certainly people in process and that living with passion and purpose takes time, intentionality and lots and lots of grace. Thanks for your great insight!