I suppose there was a time in my life when I would answer that friendly conversation opener—"How are you?"—with something like, "I'm doing well. How about yourself?"
But I (and, I suspect, at least a few million other Americans) have a new default answer: "Busy." I don't have the space to list what I've been up to for the past year, but let's just say that I have impeccable busyness bona fides.
Or have I? In a blog post on The New York Times Opinionator last summer entitled "The 'Busy' Trap," Tim Kreider pointed out that most people who reply this way aren't working three shifts to make ends meet. They're people "whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they've taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they've 'encouraged' their kids to participate in. They're busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they're addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence."
For those of us (read: me) shifting uncomfortably in our chairs right now, pastor and author Kevin DeYoung has written Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem (Crossway). His little book, though informal and friendly, should prompt readers to take a long, unsparing look at the things they say and do.
DeYoung offers up three dangers that busyness presents: ruining our joy, robbing our hearts, and covering up the rot in our souls. He then lists seven diagnoses to help the harried reader start to discern the root of her busyness. Those diagnoses, full of gentleness and truth, can sting a little: You might be beset by pride, or freaking out too ...1