Friday, October 18, 2013

Think You're Busy?

How many times have you heard someone say or even described your own life as "crazy busy"? I know I have used that term so Kevin DeYoung's book Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem caught my attention right away! In ten brief chapters DeYoung describes the problem of busyness, three dangers, seven diagnoses, and one prescription.

I really enjoyed how DeYoung did not downplay the problem of busyness in our lives, make readers feel like they only need to manage their time better or be involved in fewer activities, or otherwise place a guilt-trip on readers. His tone was simply matter of fact that life is busy for adults in between work, parenting, keeping up with household chores, exercise, a few hobbies, some community service, and of course church work too. Instead, DeYoung describes our world as a combination of unprecedented opportunity combined with complexity(24). Although this problem is widespread, DeYoung does not hesitate to call out that all this busyness can be detrimental to our physical life but particularly to our spiritual lives. He points out "busyness does not mean you are a faithful or fruitful Christian. It only means you are busy, just like everyone else"(32).

After assuring readers that being busy is a normal state of affairs, DeYoung then explores a variety of diagnoses which contribute to this sickness which effects society. In doing so, he does not hesitate to ask hard questions to help readers work through this issue. For example, in the chapter "The Killer P's," DeYoung boils the issue down to this single question: is it about you or about them? In subsequent chapters, the questions begin to focus a bit more on the shoulds and oughts that individuals place on themselves. He specifically calls ministers and church leaders to stop preaching a gospel of "do more" but reminds us that we are not Christ(45-49). As someone who is concerned about numerous world issues and frequently feels the siren call of needing to do more for this or that issue, I greatly enjoyed DeYoung's reminder that as Christians we are all called to care about world issues, but we each have different gifts, callings, and passions(49-51).

As the book progresses, DeYoung raises further questions on issues relating to priorities, parenting, the ubiquitous screens we stare at all day, and our need for rest. The final issue addressed is the concept of suffering or actually the lack of this concept in modern day life. DeYoung indicts Western Christians for not expecting to suffer or bear burdens of any kind. He emphasizes that "busyness isn't always bad and can't always be avoided"(105).

So after describing all of these diagnoses about why we are busy and that to some extent busyness is to be expected, readers may be asking "so, what do we do about this?" DeYoung has an answer to that question as well. He wraps up by reminding readers that although prone to be squeezed out of our crazy busy lives, the one thing that will help us as we combat the previously mentioned diagnoses is to spend time in the Word and prayer. While it may seem to be the pat answer you expect from a minister, DeYoung emphasizes how this choice will help us to re-order our lives and is the only thing that can help us choose to be less busy.

Crazy Busy is highly recommended for everyone and as a brief book is one that even the busiest person has time to read. Ministers will enjoy it as DeYoung is a busy pastor of a large church. At the same time, the message of this book applies to all Christian employed in any field. The free study guide available at makes this resource appropriate for Sunday School and small group study as well.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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