The literary giant, C.S. Lewis, wrote many wonderful books and stories in the mid-twentieth century. Among his finest works is The Screwtape Letters, in which Lewis portrayed two demons with the malicious intent of wreaking havoc in the life of the “Patient” assigned to them by their dark master. Their ploys were crafty, filled with accusations and lies.
Whether or not you believe they are real, the story compels us to consider what these demons might write about us today. What tricks and treats would they deploy to distract us from our purpose and lead us astray?
Certainly one key strategy would be this: Keep the subjects burdened with busyness!
In other words, make them feel guilty if they are not producing something. Use every possible means—from e-mails and texts, to calendars and systems—to fill their lives with infinite busyness. Tie their self-worth to what they do rather than who they are. Cast a spell of confusion on their minds so that they no longer believe they have time for the things that once brought them true fulfillment and peace.
This, my friends, is the Curse of Busyness. And it has too many of us in its clutches.
In another letter, more powerful than Lewis’, the Apostle Paul referred to the fact that our life’s struggles aren’t against each other, but rather it is us against the rulers and authorities of a dark world (see Ephesians 6:12). It is these “authorities” that are in part to blame for our incessant busyness.
The good news is that we can do something about this. A rebellion is brewing, but this rebellion is personal. No group needs to be created, and no committee formed (because let’s face it, that would only lead to more busyness). Instead, we must make a private pact to turn away from the calendar-jamming world we have created, and make way for being. We need to get back to reading, reflecting, and playing.
I beseech you to restore to your life a few activities that have no measurement, no economic gain, and no benefit other than the virtue of being. Play an instrument, listen to music, go for a walk, or simply make time to sit and listen to someone you love.
Too many of us have swallowed the lie that we just don’t have the time for this, as our parched souls compress more and more into our days. Let us reject this lie by fighting against the curse of endless busyness. You are a mighty warrior in this battle when you make a choice to enrich your life by doing something that the world says is fruitless.
The best news of all is that this battle requires no great plan. But it does require great courage.
So what say you? Will you join us? We hope you will—and hope is no small thing.