The Mask of being Busy
Today’s mask is the Mask of being Busy. You don’t have to look far to see people who are busy and certainly not all busyness is a mask either. But, when it is a mask, it’s one we wear when we fear being judged by others as insignificant or “not good enough”. We run around with too much on our plate in hopes that we will look important to others and feel important to ourselves. We want to be special and often this mask helps us to feel this way.
When someone asks us how we are doing, we usually respond with something like, “I’m tired.” We’re always tired. In fact, being tired is the one thing that is “okay” to tell others, because it shows that we are busy, involved and important. We are so busy, have so many things to do and don’t have a moment to rest. We are in demand! This doesn’t just stop with our own agenda, but we often have crammed our kid’s schedules full of things too. Also, if we are so busy, it’s a ready excuse to use as a reason for not having things “perfect.”
Shortly after Chris and I were married, the busyness began. We were newlyweds, trying to figure out how married life worked. After we’d been married for about 6 months, we took on a position to be house parents at a Crisis Pregnancy Center. We lived in this home and built relationships with teen girls who were on the road to becoming mothers. We also became core-team members of a new church plant which included being a part of the leadership team, the hospitality team, the drama team and leading a few small groups. If that wasn’t enough, we were still both attending college working toward our bachelor’s degree and Chris was working at a part-time job. One thing can be said about us for sure, we jumped into life with both feet!
Call us crazy, but this mask of busyness boosted our esteem and self worth like nothing else. We were involved! We were important! We were needed! People could count on us!
Okay, so the downside of this mask is burn-out. We lasted at that pace for a year before something had to give.
Do you hide behind busy?
Have you found yourself in a conversation where you are saying, “I’ve got so much on the go, I never get a chance to sit down.” Or “I’m so tired, I’m continually running around from one thing to the next.” Or, “As soon as I sit down, I find myself nodding off.”
If you have, chances are you have spent some time behind this mask. Sometimes it’s hard for us to see this as a mask. We push it off simply as a fact of life. But, when we let our schedule control us instead of controlling it, we don’t have time to be authentic with others or ourselves.
If your schedule is full because of your children’s activities, this could be where some of the other masks overlap with this one. I’ve felt pressure to let my kids be involved in many different things. Thoughts like, “I’m not a very good mother if I’m not giving my kids all of these opportunities,” can show overlap with both people pleasing and perfectionism.
Busyness is a way to push aside difficult thoughts and feelings such as fear and anxiety. It’s a way to keep others from seeing who we really are.
Is it time for you to slow down? Have you talked with God about your schedule and what you should put on it? If God has called you to do something, he will give you the time to accomplish it.
Again, as with all of the masks we’ve looked at, the answer is in taking our eyes off of ourself and putting them on Jesus. With our eyes on ourself, it may be difficult to determine what should be on our schedule. When our eyes are on Jesus, He helps us see what is important and how best to prioritize our time.
If you struggle with hiding behind being busy, I encourage you to embrace some time of quiet and listen to what God has to say about your time and schedule. Take some time to simplify and prioritize according to who God created you to be and His plans for your life. If you struggle with this, you might want to take some extra time in discovering the answers to those questions.
I’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.