I’ve moved twice in the past few years, eager to make friends each time. Someone gave me the sound advice to never turn down an invitation when you’re new someplace, and I followed it.
It’s equally important to initiate and take the first step toward a new friendship. I kept an open mind and quickly filled my calendar.
It doesn’t cost much to have coffee with someone, and though I experienced my share of awkward moments, I also found some great friends with this open heart, open calendar approach.
Saying yes to everything and extending more invitations than I received proved worthwhile. Friendships began to deepen, and I focused less on meeting new people.
With that blank calendar in front of me, I wanted nothing more than to fill it. What I didn’t realize was that saying yes to everything meant placing a low value on my time.
It served me well for a season, but eventually I would be living a life dictated by other people if I kept living that way.
My default will always be to say yes, because I don’t want to let anyone down and I don’t want to miss out. There’s at least a small part of me that still equates being busy with being important.
I also don’t want to say no to something that God is setting in front of me.
Most of those motivations are based in fear, and only the last one is based in love. Where my motivation lies is always a good indicator.
In an effort to avoid busy for busy’s sake and to fill my time intentionally, I’ve noted five things I miss out on when I’m too busy:
1. Spontaneity: I love having room in my schedule to say yes when a friend I want to invest time with unexpectedly invites me out. I also love spontaneous outings and conversations with Mike that just can’t happen when we’re constantly booked.
2. Time to process and think: When I go from event to event, I don’t reflect on what I’ve experienced. Growth and learning happens with reflection, not action.
3. Rest: Isn’t sleep always the first to go when we’re overbooked? It is for me.
4. New friendships and opportunities: It’s so easy to get comfortable with an inner circle of friends and family, but I always want to have room for new friendships and partnerships to blossom.
That time will diminish when we have a family and more responsibilities, but I want to leave a door, or at least a window, open.
5. My purpose: How do we expect God to direct our next steps when we’re barreling through life, never pausing to ask? Sometimes I get so caught up trying to discern this grand purpose God has for me that I ignore what He’s already put in front of me.
I might not have a ten year roadmap, but He gave me a husband who’s right in front of me, craving my attention and affirmation. He gave me the work I have today, and the ability to do it well and to do it for Him.
What do you miss when you’re too busy?
This post is part of a 31 day series on “doing less to build more.” To read the other posts in this series, click here.