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Breaking Busy- A Book that Changed my Perspective

I was having one of those seasons where life was crazy, busy and no amount of planning or getting organized was going to fix anything. Okay, I'll be honest.. it wasn't just one season, it was a string of season after season of being busy. And I was done. DONE!

While parading from the kids world of my local library to the checkout desk, I detoured and ended up at the Self Help shelf and instantly found a book that spoke to me. Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy by Alli Worthington. The title alone convinced me to check it out. My then four-year-old was tugging on my shirt and asking to leave so I made a beeline to the checkout desk and quickly went home.

Some how, some way I fit in the time to read this book. I LOVE to read. I have a collection of books that dates back to my childhood and I can barely part with them. Yet, I rarely have the time to read now. So, the mere fact that I found ways to sneak in reading in my crazy life says something about the content of this book. I was hooked from chapter one. The word capacity struck me. She says this on page 21,

Just as our phones have a certain capacity, we each have a unique capacity level. Our capacity depends on our personality, our experiences, and our seasons of life. People and events are constantly draining us, and we must recharge and off-load our excess or risk shutting down altogether.

Yet even though it's easy to see the correlation between our own capacity and that of a phone, we seem to lack the ability to find a reasonable rhythm, a sweet spot if you will, in a world of crazy busy.

She goes on to discuss the busy-bragging phenomenon and that women sacrifice so much for the sake of being busy. She even describes the warning signs for capacity overload on pages 25-32.

  1. An Inability to Control Your Emotions
  2. Lack of Self-Care
  3. Illness
  4. Chronic Lateness
  5. Self-Medicating and Excess
  6. Neglecting Important Relationships
  7. Neglecting God

Right there, I had my aha moment. Yes, I am guilty of almost all of that. I am guilty of not sleeping so that I can fit more in while my kids sleep. I am guilty of not nourishing friendships and relationships because I am too busy to call, text, or grab a coffee. I am guilty of not building in me time into my day so that I feel re-energized for my family. And oh the lateness...I was always running late because I tried to cram too much in.

Alli Worthington got me. She had been there. I understood her language because she understood a crazy, busy life, too. But she took a stand against it. I devoured the book in a few days and went on to tell all my busy friends about it. I, too, took a stand against being busy.

Let me tell you, it's not easy making life changes. Unlike a new job, this was a paradigm shift of my mindset. I was used to saying yes to everybody for everything. That's just what I did and I didn't realize how much it wore me down until too many people needed me all at the same time. I joked that I needed a clone, but really I just needed to sack up and say no to some things. That was hard. I didn't want to let anybody down. One of her closing statements in the Epilgue says this on page 208. It really wraps it all up.

Living a full, happy life means we get to say no to unnecessary crazy, we don't have to be all things to all people, and we don't have to fill our lives with things because we think we should.

There are times when I know I am settling back in my old ways, but there are other times where I am really proud that I have stuck it out and made hard choices. There are times when I say yes when I really want to say no and there are times that I do things that drain me, rather than energize me. But that is life. It is okay to take baby steps and to just check yourself every once in a while.

Reading Breaking Busy changed how I thought of my time and my perspective on what I should be doing with it. It might not be what you need to read, but it is definitely worth checking out to pick out a few tips and tricks on how to find your calling or how to edit things in your life. Pick up a copy from your local library today, you too might just sneak in reading into your crazy, busy life!


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Mom of 3 married to my high school sweetheart and living in suburban Chicagoland. I blog about how messy, but beautiful life can be.