Being busy has its benefits. When I’m traveling a lot, like I have this past month, its an easy excuse for not responding to emails in a timely manner, or for saying no to social invitations. It gives me a reason to miss church on Sundays, to skip posting on this blog on Thursdays, and to avoid pretty much anything I don’t feel like doing.
Which right now is a lot of things.
Weary of the responsibilities on my shoulders and scared about so many aspects of the future, I am in a season right now of wishing the world would just stop spinning for a bit so I could curl up in my bed with a good book and not come out for awhile.
There’s a clinical word for what I’m experiencing: depression. Low grade depression, I find myself wanting to clarify. But it doesn’t matter what type of depression it is or whether I fiercely resist the idea in the first place, it is what it is. And so the question before me is not so much “What?” but “What now?”
God’s answer seems clear: Slow down. Be present. Even – and especially – to the pain you’ve been too busy to feel.
The pain of losing the book deal.
The pain of learning I’d made a huge ministry branding mistake.
The pain of watching others stand on stages I thought I’d be standing on by now.
The pain of budgets not going according to plan.
These are some of my most recent “pains” – experiences I’ve walked through in just the past five months. But it’s what’s underneath – a lifetime of wounds that shape how I medicate new ones – that needs the most attention.
The pain of being the last one picked.
The pain of being forgotten.
The pain of being alone.
Being busy has been a great way to avoid spending time with my pain. It has also made it hard for me to hold others accountable when they hurt me out of their own busyness. As someone intimately acquainted with a schedule that feels out of control, I can objectively understand their lack of care for my need to be seen. To be heard. To be known. Most of the time I’m not even willing to ask for their time.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t need it.
“It’d be easier hiding in the weeds, away from people, away from pain,” my friend Laura told me recently. And she’s right. My busyness has often been a buffer between me and the pain I’m scared to face, even as it is an easy excuse to avoid asking for the help I need.
It’s a self-perpetuating cycle which can only be stopped intentionally.
So these days I’m trying to be more intentional about speaking up when I feel hurt, and about challenging my own tendency to excuse my lack of care based on the constraints of my task list.
These days I’m trying to be willing to interrupt someone’s busyness when I need them so that they can see me. Because God says I’m worthy to be seen. And because they need me to see them too. The REAL them, with real pain just like mine, even if they’re too caught up in their own busyness to see it.
There can be no more hiding in the weeds for me.
Not if I want to be free.