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7 Signs You’ve Become Too Busy for Your Own GoodMarius Boatca / Flickr

7 Signs You’ve Become Too Busy for Your Own Good


Jan 20 2016
An excerpt from the new book Breaking Busy.

My granddaddy used to say, “If the Devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” That’s some good Southern preacher wisdom right there.

Before I broke busy in my own life, I proudly wore my busy badge of honor. I was the queen of busy. I even had the tiara and sash to go with it. Busyness made me feel productive and needed, and I overlooked the havoc it was wreaking in my life. Oh, there were warning signs, but I just kept straightening my tiara and assuring myself I was a strong, confident woman, who could handle the stress and chaos.

But contrary to what many of us have been told, we can’t handle it all, nor should we. So how do we know when we are reaching our limits? We aren’t like our phones with flashing numbers that tell us we’ve reached our capacity. But there are signs our body gives us if we’re paying attention, signs that may look different for each of us. For some the warning signs may be emotional. For others they might be physical, relational, or spiritual. But rest assured, if you are over capacity, you will soon find out— the hard way.

Sign #1: An Inability to Control Your Emotions

I was talking about reaching our limits with a leader at a large church recently. She shared that she can always tell when she’s over capacity because she can no longer control her emotions. She told me this story:

I was scheduled to meet a group of friends for coffee. I love these women. They are my ‘people.’ But as I thought through the other things I should be doing that day, I realized I was beginning to dread it all. I went from looking forward to a relaxing morning with my girlfriends to feeling anxious about the whole thing.

By the time I got to my car, I found myself feeling irritated with my friend who had set it all up. Didn’t she realize how busy I was, how much I had on my plate? A real friend would have realized that the last thing I needed was one more thing to do.

About halfway there, I had worked myself into an anxious, angry mess. I texted my friend and told her I wasn’t going to be able to make it. I turned my car around and cried all the way home. I pulled into my garage and sat in the darkness, completely depressed. I convinced myself that if I could just get past this season of busyness, I’d be able to pull myself together. I’d be okay.

I have thought that same thing so many times. An inability to control our emotions and constantly feeling anxious, irritable, depressed, and overwhelmed are all signs that something isn’t right. Out-of-control emotions often reflect the out-of-control demands we put on ourselves.

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