There’s a lie I’ve foolishly bought into over the years. It’s the lie that I’m too busy to invest in friendships.
Recently, I heard a man invite his friend to have lunch with him. I leaned forward, resting my face in my palm, thinking that one act was incredibly simple but also rare now days. At least, it’s rare for me.
If I’m honest, when I’m presented with those opportunities, I oftentimes turn them down by saying I’m too busy.
I’ve cultivated this nasty habit where I say I’m too busy to connect with others when I’m actually not. I mention this because I’m caught in a cycle, like many of us here today. It’s a cycle of rejecting the very thing that’ll ease my anxiety over life.
We oddly use busyness as our defense against connection when true friendship and intimacy is never on the offensive. And the more we protect ourselves from things that are healthy, the more we wrap ourselves in the things that aren’t—like our own anxiety.
The answer is connection and the courage to value friendships over our busyness.
What We Need
I think many of us neglect how much we need connection with others. This is why we’re so comfortable to say we’re busy as an excuse for avoiding connection.
We know the benefits of doing our work as we also know the benefits of connecting with people, but if we had the choice, doing our work and making money often trumps the less defined benefits of our friendships.
I know connection and friendship is a spiritual matter, something that exists as a necessity for our souls, largely because I saw Jesus commit to it.
Jesus should’ve been the busiest man alive. He had to save the world. If anyone had an excuse to avoid connection for His work, it was Jesus.
But Jesus never said He was too busy for friendships. He didn’t tell the disciples, “Wait here while I go save the world.” He instead said, “Follow me.” He chose to have the disciples go through life with Him. In the most epic mission on Earth, Jesus chose connection over just getting the job done.
This teaches me that connection is more important than I think it is. In the midst of what should’ve been the busiest life, we learn that friendships have their place.
Deep, intimate connection with others is a need that shouldn’t trump our busy tendencies.
When we give too much priority to our busyness, we feel it in our level of stress or anxiety. Busyness focuses us on our tasks, but it keeps us anxious and dissatisfied because it neglects our needs.
When we respond to our busyness, we’re often tending to a desire—a desire to do more and make more. But when we deal with connection, we’re often tending to a need. And unfulfilled needs perpetuate anxiety and dissatisfaction. That’s why we can tell when we’ve been alone for too long.
If there’s anything we learn from Jesus’ action of making friends, it’s that having others know you on a deep, soul-level is a need, not an option.
So then, what are we doing? Why do we oftentimes treat connection with others as something that comes second in our lives? Why do we prioritize busyness over connection?
The Courage for Connection
Fear is why we oftentimes choose to remain busy rather than invest in deep connections.
In today’s world of movers, shakers, and innovators, we account courage as only pertaining to our career aspirations. Yet the truth is, we need courage in our spiritual endeavors as well. We need the courage to let people into our lives to journey with us.
One practical way of sorting out your priorities to value connection over busyness is to imagine what you want to be known for.
For instance, I don’t want my life to be defined by my busyness. I want people to know the real me. The real me is the person people want to see. The real me is the person people will eulogize. The real me is what adds value to people’s lives, not my busyness.
We have a choice between being known for who we are or being known for what we do.
Many of us choose the latter because it’s less scary than the former. It’s easier to face rejection for what we do than who we are. But being known for what we do is the sort of thing that perpetuates our dissatisfaction in life.
Courage is needed to value the things that matter in life. Fear will lie to us, saying we can pass through life being isolated in our busyness. Fear can skew our priorities and lead us to value busyness over connection. But fear will keep us dissatisfied. Fear will keep us anxious.
When faced with the choice to be courageous or afraid, choose courage. And when you don’t have courage, lean on God to supply the difference. Maybe then, our priorities will shift to value what’s actually healthy for our lives.
Remember: busyness is optional. Connection with others isn’t. May we have the courage to recognize this daily.