I Don’t Use That Word Anymore


2014 Calendar

A few years ago, John and I decided to remove an often-used word from our thinking, our perspective, and our conversation. We were attending a team-building event when the presenter shared an acronym that struck a deep chord in our hearts and souls.

I determined then and there to let go of the word ‘busy.’

In the dictionary, busy is defined as

having a great deal to do

being excessively detailed

keeping oneself occupied

being full of activity or work

being full of people

In many cultures, a busy life is equated with significance and purpose. A busy life demonstrates production. A busy life offers a contribution. A busy life affirms one’s identity and worth.

However, as with many things that may offer positive benefits to our lives, there is always a flip-side. There is a cost and a price to pay for the busy life. Physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences surface in the lifestyles of the fast and furious. Marriage and family time may be sacrificed. Health problems may arise. Distractions divide our focus. A good night’s sleep is replaced by late night work hours. Worrisome thoughts disturb our dreams. We struggle under the weight of  the unmet expectation.  We fail to get everything done as fast as we want. Ultimately, we may question our worth if we are not keeping busy and keeping active in our treadmill-like efforts.

So, when our presenter shared his acronym of the word ‘busy,’ it resonated with John and me.

What does it mean to be busy?





When I was given this word picture of the term busy, I confess it made me want to stop using the word busy altogether. The last thing I want in my life is to be under the yoke of the evil one; for any reason. Today, four years on from that ‘busy’ discussion, I rarely use the word. However, for me to really to embrace this teaching, I must choose not to live that way either.

And there’s the rub.

I can erase a word from my written and oral vocabulary. That’s easy. What is far more challenging is to choose to live unencumbered by the pressures and demands of the fast and furious life.

This is why I’m writing about this today. The next five months are full to over-brimming with mission opportunities for John and me. In addition, we have homeschooling, Micah’s competitive swimming schedule, family activities, team functions, and other significant events enfolded within our schedule. I could easily say that the next five months are going to be busy, busy, busy.

It would be so easy to allow myself to be captured by the tentacles of fear and worry as I consider all that is ahead and what is needed to accomplish each task in the next five months. Each activity or event requires hours and hours of preparation. In addition, nothing in southern Africa ever happens within an expected time frame. What I plan to do always takes longer than I had hoped.

And this is how the ‘busy’ acronym comes into play. Instead of rejoicing and being glad in the merits of today, I’m already thinking about everything I need to do for tomorrow, the next day, and in the following months. I fail to acknowledge the presence of Christ. I lose sight of the gifts I’ve been given; growing relationship in Christ, amazing husband, wonderful kids, loving extended family, great friends, good health, fruitful ministry, and more. I don’t feel rooted, established and strong. Instead I feel unsure and unsteady. I feel burdened under the weight of everything that needs to be done. I’m not thankful. I’m not overflowing with gratitude. I’m overwhelmed.

This is no way to live.

Therefore, I refuse to shoulder and to suffer under the yoke of busy-ness.

It is written, This is the day that the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (New International Version, Psalm 118:24).

It is also written, So, then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (New International Version, Colossians 2:6-7).

These verses offer the antidote to the busy life.

I choose to engage with the people and to focus upon the events that are offered to me this day. I embrace the presence of Christ in my life and ask Him to lead me. I rejoice in the gifts of my family and friends. I choose gratitude. This mindset doesn’t mean I don’t prepare for what is ahead. I do. However, I refuse to let the responsibilities and tasks that are coming to rob me of the joy and blessing of today.

I will plan and prepare, but I won’t be busy.

I will engage, but I won’t be busy.

I will endeavor, but I won’t be busy.

I will perform, but I won’t be busy.

I will write, but I won’t be busy.

I will entertain, but I won’t be busy.

I will cook and clean, but I won’t be busy.

I will serve, but I won’t be busy.

I will teach, but I won’t be busy.

“This is the day that the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (New International Version, Psalm 118:24).

I will rejoice and be glad. I won’t be busy. In fact, I don’t use that word anymore.



Image from http://photo.elsoar.com/free-new-2014-calendar-designs-large-size-images.html

6 thoughts on “I Don’t Use That Word Anymore

  1. Norma Ferguson May 21, 2014 — 12:13 pm

    Thank you for this, Heather. Just what I needed as we approach crazy June! I will NOT be ‘busy’! I will be blessing and blessed with all that will be happening in the next weeks. Love to you all.

    1. Hi Norma,

      Thanks for your affirming note! It’s so true that our ministry life has seasons that cause us to be more engaged! 🙂 That’s the word that John and I are choosing to use! We’re looking forward to seeing you in September! Love you, heather

  2. Heather, your posts are always very insightful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing. Another thought about using the word “busy” – whether intentional or not – it often has the effect of telling others your life is so full / rewarding / productive / purposeful / thriving / blessed, etc., which is very prideful. And deep down a lot of people feel their lives are just the opposite, so they feel worse by comparison! So for me, when someone asks, “How’s it going?” I never answer “busy” or “busy-busy,” etc.

    1. Hi Barb,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your response with me! I really appreciate it! I so agree with you! We do have to be considerate of those we are sharing our lives with as everyone has their own story to tell. I cannot speak for anyone other than myself, but the last thing I ever want to do by sharing my life experiences is to come across as prideful. We all have tremendous value and purpose in Christ. Thank you again for your insightful words, Barb! love, heather

  3. Heather,
    Thank you so much for writing this blog. I find myself using this word way to much. Its going to be hard not to use the word but I’m up for the challange of not using that word. I like the acronym for the word word and I’ll remember that.

    1. Hi Erin! Thanks for writing to me! Busy in itself is not a bad word. Even though I’ve shared this particular acronym, it does have other definitions. For me though, the term has the potential to drive me at the expense of other important things and relationships. Pray about what you would like to do with it. Take good care, heather

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