Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy

There are times when our kids surprise us — or even surpass us — with their insight.  This was certainly the case with my youngest son:

“It’s too much,” he said.  “I’ve got all this music to learn for honors band.  I’m buying a sheep.  I want to work with Cyprus (his 4-H heifer).  I’m not going to audition for the play.”

Alli Worthington would call that moment of clarity an edit — a proactive edit:  making a change in advance, before things get out of control.  Breaking Busy is Alli’s invitation to hop out of the hamster wheel, an important read for grown ups (like me) who have yet to learn our limits.

For instance, are you displaying any of these signs of exceeding your capacity?

  • Inability to control your emotions
  • Lack of self-care
  • Illness
  • Chronic lateness
  • Self-medicating and excess
  • Neglecting important relationships
  • Neglecting God

Help is offered at the end of each chapter with Action Steps in the form of questions to ponder and apply to the process of breaking the habit of busy.

However, real and lasting change is more than simply doing less. It’s about doing the things that nurture strong relationships, that help us to zero in on our unque calling in a world with too many options.  Breaking the addiction to busy is a choice to live in peace and to focus on what is true and what is positive, (Philippians 4:8).

Breaking Busy involves tempering our own expectations and those of our family so that we can live with ourselves and accomplish the things that bring the most joy, the things that encourage our loved ones to purposefully follow Jesus.

A favorite quote from Breaking Busy comes from Brene Brown:

“Choose discomfort over resentment.”

The momentary awkwardness of a gracious no is far better than the long term knot in my stomach that comes with a misplaced yes.  The question that remains, however, is this:  how does one make good decisions about the distribution of those precious yeses to the waiting world?  Alli has developed a decision-making framework which is available here (with all kinds of other resources and goodies), and consists of the Five F’s of eliminating “analysis paralysis.”

  1.  Faith – Seek wisdom from God.
  2. Family – How will this decision effect those closest to you?
  3. Future – Will this choice lead you to who you want to become?
  4. Fulfillment – Does this fit in with your calling and help you realize your goals?
  5. Friends – Seek counsel from those who have earned the right to speak into your life.
Healthy and effective communication skills are also key to breaking busy.  This includes not letting your phone be the boss of you and excusing all loved ones from the responsibility for reading your mind.
We perpetuate the lifestyle of “busy,” because we think we have something to prove to ourselves and to the world.
“See how important I am?”
“See how much I am needed?”
Breaking Busy is a call to slow down, to find self-worth in doing only what we can accomplish with grace and in the will of God.
The choice is clear:  a busy life (of frazzled and crazy) —  OR a full life, the life God has called you to.
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,”  John 10:10.
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This book was provided by Zondervan through the BookLookBloggers program,  in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for over 25 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

54 thoughts on “Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy”

  1. This seems to be a hot theme right now. Books and blogs extolling the positives of letting go, just say no, exhale, pause and simplify. I get it. I know very well how frenzied and manic the young-to-middle years can be. Even now I watch my adult children as they navigate the relentless choppy waters of family life.

    You’d think this era, that demands time be perfectly allocated and executed in bits and bytes, would be evolved, more efficient, given our ‘timesaving’ technical advances and devises. But I’m not seeing much difference than the day the kids started summer vacation in 1979 when I sat with my coffee, exhausted, and realized I had just spent the last nine months running circles around myself, volunteering for everything, never saying no because I thought if I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done. It hit me – I am not important because I do so much, launch running in the morning and fall into bed completely spent at night. I am not better for having a resume that must be divided into chapters. Being busy for busy’s sake is not a virtue and I am the only one who can stop the madness.

    So, right then, that day, I gave myself permission to pick and choose. To give my life room for serendipity. I can’t over extol the positives of serendipitous. But it requires giving up control and letting God fill in your timeline.

    I have to say it’s been a bit tough on me watching from where I am now as the younger ones find their way because I know that no one wants to hear an old woman say, “Yeah, been there, done that.” I just have to observe as they figure it out themselves.

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    1. Always, always, Meema, you make me smile. Yes. We need whole books to give us permission to do what you discovered through godly wisdom over thirty years ago. Hey, there’s a great blog post hiding in that comment you just wrote. . .

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  2. Michele that sounds like a good book. That phone being the boss of me was funny. Mine’s not, but I do find myself spending much time on Facebook, but most of it is in Bible studies so how can I spend too much time with Him. I agree with the First Fs.

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  3. I’ve seen this book around but haven’t read a review yet by a “real” person. ha. So I’m glad to see what you have to say! I think I’ve broken away from much of the crazy-busy stuff, but there is always room for improvement and more time with God. Thanks for sharing this, Michele.

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  4. Hey Michele,
    Looks like you have been reading another good book.
    Aren’t we all in need of peace and purpose in a crazy world?
    Love the review.
    Sharing today~
    Melanie

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Michele, this looks like another read that I need to squeeze in on my year of Rest. I like this line: “It’s about doing the things that nurture strong relationships, that help us to zero in on our unique calling in a world with too many options. ” Too many options – that is my problem!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Michele, this sounds like a very helpful book. I copied the 5 points to refer back to often. You asked me last week how I manage to keep up with everything. You must be a very fast reader to be able to pass along all of these wonderful reads to us. Thank you so much for your thoughts and suggestions. Blessings!

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  7. Thank you for this Michele. I have gone on to glean some much needed thoughts from the BreakingBusy link… I especially appreciate your concise Eliminate “analysis paralysis” list. Funny thing is, you don’t have to be in a busy stage of life to apply these truths… I find them still most pertinent in my quiet little backwater stage of life as I reflect on purpose and priorities… Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard from others that after kids grow up it’s still a challenge to make sure time is allocated to the important things. Linda, I so appreciate your reading and commenting. Blessings to you in your “backwater.” (Love that!)

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    1. Heavens, Diane, there is almost no area of life in which the words “keep up” could be used of me . . . I visit, post my work, read the words of other bloggers, but not in any way that is systematic. Do you share your writing at any of the linkups?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Crystal Storms has a lovely community at intentionallypursuing.com. She’s on vacation until early March, but you would really like her space. Another is Lisha Epperson’s on the weekends.

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  8. Michelle, this sounds like a very good book. It’s too easy to get too busy in our fast paced world. I am trying to simplify things and break the cycle of busy. I still fall short, but I know it takes determination and being consistent. Thanks for the review of this book! I’m visiting from #LMMLinkup!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so glad to read your review because I’ve been wondering about this book. Pinning this today to save for later! I love those questions, and the idea of pursuing a full life doing what God’s calling you to do.

    My daughter made a similar decision recently. She was signed up to start two community college classes this semester, but thank heavens, after the first week she realized that with her other home school classes, it was too much. She dropped on. I’m so glad.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sounds like a really great book to read…I’ll have to pick up a copy! I often quote to myself, “Learn to say no to the good so you can say yes to the best,” (John C. Maxwell). I know the concept well, but I don’t always live it out! Thanks for the encouragement today!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This sounds like a great book and rereading your review (because the first time I felt too rushed to read it properly) it made me stop and ponder if I am nurturing or neglecting those relationships most important to me. The ironic thing is, I would love to read this book but I feel too busy to do so!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you.
      I have to be careful not to let books get in between me and my family, and that’s a real challenge for this book nerd. I would suggest checking out the website and getting some encouragement there. If you decide to read the book, it would work as a “chapter-at-a-time” stretched out over months kind of deal. I think you are smart to guard your use of reading time so carefully.

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  12. “This includes not letting your phone be the boss of you and excusing all loved ones from the responsibility for reading your mind.” This resonates with me loudly! Ok, Jesus, I hear ya! 🙂 Thank you for encouragement and for grace. It is nice to meet you on Intentional Tuesday. Have a blessed week.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “Choose discomfort over resentment” – YES!! I used to really have a handle on this when my kids were growing up. I recognized my ministry within the home and although busy with many things outside the home (work, church, etc.), I knew when to say no.

    Now days, in my current almost-empty-nest era, I find myself busier than I ever imagined and, many times, resentful! Learning to say no as a blogger is probably also my biggest challenge – but I’m learning, thank God!

    I love this, Michelle, and I need to get the book – I’ve seen it everywhere. I also will be featuring this post of yours on my blog next week for Tuesday talk – be sure to look for it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Michele, I have to admit this made me chuckle a bit. Not because of the review, because your book reviews are always great, but because my first though was that I need to read that book. Then I told myself that it’s okay to say no and I didn’t need to make myself more busy right now! 🙂 Seriously though, sounds like a great book!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Even though I am retired now, I can get caught up in busy. I love the five F’s that anyone, no matter what stage of life they are in, can ask themselves to seek the best solution. The book has been getting a lot of press around my social media world and sounds like a great read. This will be a wishlist book for me. I still don’t know how you are able to read all of the books that you seem to read and review. Happy reading my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks for sharing about this book. I’ve found our family runs much smoother and we’re happier when our kids aren’t involved in excess activities. One sport and one art at a time are enough for us!

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  17. I may have tweeted the main message incorrectly. LOL I get the gist though. I know how busy I am everyday. I keep going and going. Too much to do. I need to be more like Mary and rest at His feet. thanks for sharing and adding to my growing reading list at the #LMMLinkup.

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  18. Sounds like a great book Michele. I am trying to clear my desk of books I still intend to read this year. I love your 5 F’s! Fantastic tips to help in the analysis by paralysis.. something which i have suffered from at times. I am praying that I as I seek god’s wisdom, things will improve. Thanks for sharing . Have a great weekend and may God continue to richly bless you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m so glad you shared about this book, Michele. A homeschooling friend of mine mentioned how good it was, but didn’t explain why. I’m adding it to my reading list. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

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  20. I saw this book at bookbloggers and really wanted to read it! I recently reviewed Rest Assured, which was also about being overscheduled and needing rest. I’m glad to know that it’s a good book! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I’ve been pondering “Choose discomfort over resentment” all day since reading your post this morning and even shared it with some friends this afternoon. Even if I never get to read this book, I feel that one line might be life-altering for me. Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday this week!
    Tina

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that phrase really got me too, because I’m such a wimp about saying no, and then I end up living with resentment — long term, sometimes. I really need to take this advice to heart, so I wanted to be sure to include it in the review. Glad that it has been helpful to you as well!

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