Book review: Crazy Busy, by Kevin DeYoung
“Hey Dave, how are you doing?” “I’m doing well. Really busy, though. How about you?” When someone greets you at church or work or the kids’ school and asks how you’re doing, does your answer usually include the word “busy”? If so, then this book is for you.
On the other hand, if your life is relaxed, you’re getting plenty of sleep, all your relationships are in good shape, and you’ve got more than enough time to enjoy life, then you can skip this one. For everyone else, read on.
In his award-winning book Crazy Busy, Pastor Kevin DeYoung describes the typical modern American life in painful detail. Page after page I cringed saying, “Ouch, that’s me. So is that. Oh yeah, I do that too.” He shines a spotlight into our overcrowded schedules and strained relationships and offers an alternative approach to the wheel we’re stuck spinning around.
DeYoung warns us that the greatest dangers of an overwhelming pace are not emotional or physical illness. The most serious danger of such a life is spiritual neglect. “I’ve been too busy to pursue God with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength,” writes DeYoung. “When we are crazy busy, we put our souls at risk.”
DeYoung argues that seven sicknesses have beset us that have turned our lives into a frenetic frenzy of busyness, barely able to get through each day, and certainly not able to fully answer God’s call on our lives.
- Our pride can drive us to stay busy, even when it is killing us.
“So much of our busyness comes down to meeting people’s expectations.”
- We think that every good cause must become our cause.
“Almost any Christian can make a case that their thing should be the main thing or at least one of the most important things.”
- We don’t clearly establish our priorities, so everything in life, or least everything right in front of us, gets equal treatment.
“In the real world of finite time, we often have to discern good and better from best.”
- We obsess over our kids as if their future depended on our each and every decision.
“It would be better for us and for our kids if we planned fewer outings, got involved in fewer activities, took more breaks from the kids, did whatever we could to get more help around the house, and made parental sanity a high priority.”
- Computers and especially mobile devices are consuming our much-needed mental downtime.
“Rather than figure out what to do with our spare minutes and hours, we are content to swim in the shallows and pass our time with passing the time.”
- We make excuses for why we neglect regular periods of rest.
“If my goal is God-glorifying productivity over a lifetime of hard work, there are few things I need more than a regular rhythm of rest.”
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8
- We have bought the notion that we should never be uncomfortable or suffer.
“We are all very busy, but not with what matters most.”
The conclusion of the matter, according to DeYoung, is that busyness is part of a life well lived, but it need not destroy us in the process. We need to subdue our pride, plan for periods of regular rest, and prioritize the demands on our time and energy if we are to be productive and effective people for the rest of our lives.
Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life, says this of Crazy Busy: “Everything Kevin DeYoung writes is biblical, timely, and helpful for both life and ministry. You can’t afford to miss what he says here in Crazy Busy. He rightly reminds us to beware of the barrenness of a busy life, since activity and productivity are not the same thing.”
I highly recommend that you schedule into your busy lives a weekend to read Crazy Busy. Your family, your ministry, and your career will thank you for it one day.