Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully ) Short Book About A (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung is a much needed book in our age of busyness and it is written by a man who knows what he is talking about when it comes to a chaotic schedule.
I would like to begin by sharing why I appreciated this book falling in my lap at this time in my life. I mentioned in a previous post just how busy my life has been in the last year, and on top of all those things I have been asked to lead a local conference break out session on the Gospel and busyness. I also appreciated receiving this book because I know Kevin, I have witnessed his schedule, his to-do list has greatly influenced my life and I am certainly grateful for the busyness he has subjected himself to because he has impacted my life in a wonderful way. I have been to his conference messages, read his books, listened to his sermons, read his blog daily, had dinner with him a couple times, and leaned in to him as a pastor and leader in the RCA, the denomination that I am ordained in. I don’t say all of these things to boast, or to present myself as popular by association, but to point out that Kevin is in need of his own writing, and so am I. We are, after all, mere finite men.
This book certainly is brief, as the title suggests. You can read it in one or two sittings (if you turn the television off). This book also begins with strict honesty, a good quality form any author. He openly admits that busyness is one of his biggest problems and as the book progresses any careful reader will see the same problem in his or her own life. We are busy, and too often inappropriately so.
The book leads off with three dangers that busyness can bring with it: it can ruin our joy, it can rob our hearts, and it can cover up spiritual rot. Then the meat of the book is seven chapters laying out seven diagnoses on busyness. I do not want to reveal all seven because you should read this short book, but they range from pride, inappropriate expectations, unsettled priorities, addiction to screens and frittering, and an ignorance toward suffering (yep, sometimes things are meant to be hard).
DeYoung admits that he has not completely overcome busyness, because we were actually created to be busy, but he is learning to manage his busyness in the most appropriate and efficient way possible. His solution to chaos and busyness is one that I happen to agree with: you need more Jesus. After walking us through the Mary and Martha episode in Luke 10:38-42 we are shown the importance of incorporating personal devotions into our lives. Prioritizing Christ shows who, and what, you are devoted to. Devoting ourselves to the Word of God and prayer is a remedy, but we will have to fight hard, work hard, to maintain this discipline.
Then Kevin ends the book. Some have noticed that there was no “arrival” for the author. He never writes, “and this is how I have overcome busyness,” and I think this is intentional. We will not rest from our labors until on that glorious day of Christ’s return when we fully enter His rest. Until then we labor, and that labor is often chaotic, busy, and difficult. However, I do agree with his conclusion, but I would like a little more. Included with the necessity of personal devotions, Christians are meant to gather as a body to worship God through song, prayer, and the preaching of His Word and celebration of the sacraments, Hebrews 10:19-25. The gathering of the saints is something that ought never be neglected. It is a means of grace instituted by our King, therefore being an isolated Christian is a contradiction of terms. I am fully certain that Kevin would agree with me here because he has written along these lines elsewhere.
This is a great little book, and I think it fulfills the purpose the author sets out with. Kevin is a gifted writer, both feet planted firmly in the Scriptures, and just enough self-deprecating humor to keep it rolling wonderfully.
I recommend going to this site for more resources (even a free study guide) concerning Crazy Busy. You can also read this blog article to read Kevin’s followup thoughts concerning his book and its reception. Also, enjoy this humorous video from Kevin DeYoung and Justin Taylor.