How are you? Most of us answer that common question with ‘busy!’ We may even recount a long list of our daily tasks to prove that our time is perpetually in demand. But family expert Ron Deal invites us to reconsider whether being constantly busy is really adding value to our lives.

“We have these little conversations around how busy we are as if we’re celebrating something, and at the same time, admitting how overwhelmed we feel.”

“We’ve got to figure out a way to slow down a little bit, and start putting some margin into our lives. If we don’t do that, we’re going to be in trouble.”

Deal says all our hurried activity might even be a barrier to our relationship with God; we need time to “be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:11)

“I don’t think we recognize that hurry is a spiritual issue. To hurry…gets in the way of us slowing down and hearing the voice of God, being in dialogue with God about our day, about decisions about moments in time. We’re so filled up with stuff that it’s crowding out time in our heart with the Lord.”

A busy life is not always a full or productive one. How can we make each day more than just another “to-do” list?  Deal says a good first step to reducing hurry and creating more space in our lives is to be self-defined.

“Being self-defined is about being willing to say no and knowing what’s important for you, (to) set margin in your life. It also means being willing to disappoint other people. We’ve got to understand it’s OK to say no, even if that means somebody is a little disappointed in you.”

“That’s a little hard to live with for some of us, but we need to learn how to do that. Otherwise we’re just going to be completely run down by all the expectations of others. So dial down those expectations of other people, get in touch with your expectations for yourself, and what God asks of you.”

Ron L. Deal is the Director of FamilyLife Blended, a ministry of FamilyLife, and is the author/coauthor of The Smart Stepfamily Ron voices the FamilyLife Blended radio feature and is one of the most widely-read authors on stepfamily living in the country. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist who frequently appears in the national media, including FamilyLife Today and Focus on the Family.

Too busy to hear God?