My earlier post on the myth of ‘Busy‘ challenges the cultural assumption that busy equates to importance (conversely, not being busy means you lack importance). I know a lot of people who continuously fill their schedules with activities because being social is a signpost to value. Too much downtime also makes them anxious because of the lost of potential (“think of all I could be doing”), and they have to face their own thoughts in the momentary lack of noise (which is scary if you haven’t been in your own head for a while).
This isn’t to suggest being idle is the answer. Sabbath rest is good, but laziness isn’t the cure to busy. Rather, we need to challenge a deep notion that connects our identity to the amount of ‘stuff’ we can do’ for ourselves. We need to replace the shallow of busy with a deeper perspective of wisdom and what really matters in our lives. (The latest Rob Bell podcast on wisdom is a good place to start to garner a deeper cultural understanding of wisdom (and lack thereof).)
Culture suggests you should live an exciting life full of adventure, consuming as many experiences as you can (and Instagraming them along the way for all to see), while never valuing lingering in any particular one. Experiences a mile wide, but an inch deep, as it were. These habits threaten to leave one ‘rooted-less’ where busyness replaces depth.
Busy as a kind of addiction (I’m not suggesting that busyness is a mental illness necessarily) sees people move from one thing to another trying to capture bits of purpose in many (sometimes shallow) activities. What this routine doesn’t develop is a foundation; a practice to set down lasting roots and eventually grow deeper character.
Why should this matter?
Simply put, what matters in everything that makes us human (or wise to stick with the wisdom theme) is found in going deeper.
The value in relationships, purpose, life, career, etc., isn’t how many of these things you can juggle or how many different ones you can try, but how deep you can go with a FEW.
Healthy foundations include the core of place and people, good places to start practicing a rhythm of rootedness (and both are excellent characteristics of Jesus follows since by nature they are incarnational). Place and people are certainly aspects part of a busy life, but we miss their pronounced value when our interaction is merely sporadic.
So the question as you consider practices that may help you develop a wiser rhythm of ‘deeper’ for life and faith: can you find a few people to go deeper with? Can you build presence in your place (read neighborhood here)?
If not, then an adjustment chasing depth may be in order.
image courtesy of tazi.com.au design company.