Are you wearing 'busy' as a badge of honour?

I’ve got to admit something…

I’m the girl who loves being busy.

In fact, I think I thrive thrive off being busy. I do some of my best work when my heart is racing and adrenaline is pumping through my veins.

While that can be a great way to “get things done,” it can also be awfully unhealthy.

A few years ago, I was working on my side hustle from 5:30am through to 8am (anyone who knows me well will find that hard to believe, because I am so not a morning person, but that’s how driven I was to work hard at the time!) then working my full-time job 9-5, and then working again at night from 6pm through to 11pm.

Team this up with volunteering as a youth leader at my local church on a Friday night and on the worship team nearly every single Saturday and Sunday, and even driving an hour to the next city to set up for church. All the while trying to navigate marriage as a newlywed.

Looking back, I was living burnt out, exhausted, and checked out.

It’s easy to blame other people when we hit burnout - I’ve sure done that. We say things like “Their expectations were too high,” “They wanted me to do too much,” “They didn’t tell me to stop,” “They shouldn’t have made me do that.”

While I agree it can be frustrating when the responsibilities are being stacked on you (believe me, I’ve been there), it’s a two-way street (even if it doesn’t feel like it at times!).

Have you ever considered that you have the power to say yes or no?

I know I’ve fallen into the victim trap before, thinking everything is being done too me and expected from me, but failing to see that I truly held the power to say no.

I know we get scared to use our no, because we worry about what other people will think. “Will they still like me?” “Will they trust me?” “Will they think that I’m a bad person?”

Honestly, all of these thoughts have crossed my mind before. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Why do we worry so much about saying “no?”

The desperate need to please and be liked. You might be familiar with the phrase “the people-pleasing disease.” I think that’s a truly fitting description of what this feels like.

People pleasing is a double-edged sword that, while it may give you some temporary satisfaction in the moment, will only end up hurting you.

Use your no wisely, and your yes even more wisely.

Because being busy isn’t a badge of honour and people pleasing only ends up hurting you.

Guess what?

You can fill your schedule with all of the good things - work, volunteering at church, helping out your friends, staying up late working on your side hustle and looking after everyone else - while your internal world is falling apart.

If you find yourself at the point of stretched-far-too-thin, it’s time to ask yourself a few key questions.

These are questions that I’m always asking myself. In fact, I’ve got a list of my priorities front centre as my phone screensaver.

What matters to me the most?

  • God?

  • Your marriage?

  • Your mental and emotional health?

You’ve got to decide what these key things are for you.

But once you’ve locked them in, you need to prioritise them and make sure these areas are healthy first.

Filter every other commitment through your circle of priorities to determine whether it’s a yes or a no.

Here are a few questions I like to ask myself:

  • Does this commitment mean my husband and I won’t get a date night this week?

  • Will saying yes to this coffee date mean I won’t be able to get my work commitments done?

  • Will this fill up my entire weekend?

  • Does this allow me to have space in my day to reflect and spend time with God?

These are just a few questions that run through my mind when I weigh up commitments. I encourage you to do the same too.

Lock in the priorities that matter the most, and then accept or decline invitations through the filter of those non-negotiables.

Do the things you love. Be the very best youth leader that you can be - love those teenagers well! Be the kind of friend who you would want. Show up for your business and make that money on the side.

But promise me this, that’ll you’ll never ever do those things at the expense of what matters the most. Because what matters the most, is simply irreplaceable.

Comment and tell me - what are your priorities? How are you going to put these things first?

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