Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thinking, That's All: On Busyness and Superficiality

"Superficiality is the curse of our age. The desperate need today is not for more intelligent people, more gifted people but for deep people." Richard Foster

In the busyness, the chaotic clutter of an over scheduled life, I felt this pang of loneliness in my heart that never really left.

Until about six months ago, I was so inundated with plans and to-do lists, that I couldn't even find time to have coffee with friends without scheduling it two weeks in advance.

I didn't think it was a problem at first; I was busy with really, really good stuff.

The stuff that suburban house-wife dreams are made of -- volunteering, Bible studies, attachment parenting group meetings, preschool meetings, meetings at our small business, MOPs meetings, babywearing meetings, church, blogging meetings.

Really, really good stuff.

Really, really good stuff that when laid out on a calendar seemed daunting and completely overwhelming.

And isolating.

And, erm, kind of empty.

And all of the sudden, I'm the guy with the trash bag bursting open in the middle of the garage and raising my hands in complete anxiety toward the heavens while sporting a robe and slippers and wondering if this is as good as it gets: {Watch this if that visual doesn't make sense}

The Emerging Journey: An Invitation... from VANTAGEPOINT3 on Vimeo.

Isn't there more to living than this -- this busy, overcommitted, over scheduled, relationships-on-the-backburner kind of life?

That's the question I was asking myself about a year ago when my mentor extended an invitation to apply for Vantage Point3, the Emerging Journey at our church.

She was vague about this nine-month-long, homework-included VP3 class, but I was intrigued, nonetheless.

Without ever knowing what I was getting myself into, I submitted an application.

And about three weeks into the class, questions about who God is and who I am and what God really wanted me to do with my life began to rock my world, much the way an earthquake shakes up a house -- knocking out old foundation blocks, jiggling and revealing faulty connections, ripping apart loose beams.

But God, the gracious carpenter, rebuilder that He is, moved in and began repairing the foundations, relying the bricks and reinforcing the beams.

In that rebuilding, I began to understand that busyness did not mean important.

Busyness didn't mean successful.

And busyness didn't mean productive.

Busyness was the bricks I'd haphazardly tried to shove to fill holes of loneliness and need for success into my own cracking foundation.

And while I was shoving replacement parts, regardless of whether they were built to do such a job, into places that needed reinforcement, it felt study.

Until it didn't.

VP3 helped me sort through these thoughts and take the time I desperately needed to reflect on what exactly I'd been doing.

And what God had been up to while I was busy doing whatever I'd deemed important.

During our leader training this week, I reflected on the journey I'd taken with VP3 and I began hearing the words of Richard Foster with ears that hear:

"Superficiality is the curse of our age. The desperate need today is not for more intelligent people, more gifted people but for deep people."

Often, busyness breeds intelligence, skill and utilizes giftedness.

But it steals the time needed to become deep people --

the time required to pay attention in the stillness to what God is up to in our own lives and in the world around us and in our neighbor's lives.

the time it takes to reflect on who God is and who we've been created to be.

the time necessary for building relationships and vesting our giftedness into people who are also part of our journey.

I know for me, I spent so much time building my resumes and building my skills and building my own small kingdom, that I totally missed the part with which God's always been most concerned about building: my character, the depth of my person, the foundations of my soul.

If superficiality is the curse of our age, busyness most certainly is the spell that casts the curse.

Each day I fight being bound up in its empty spell, but it's a battle I've deemed worthy of waging.

{If this strikes a chord in your heart, maybe VP3 might find a home in your heart, your church. If you're interested, I'd be happy to connect you with the coordinators of the program.}


Today as I begin my third year of Vantage Point 3, year one, with a new group of journeyers, I still find these truths I wrote more than a year ago to be applicable and persistent. Would you pray for our this new group and this new year as we walk together on our journey of discovering who God is, who we are and what God is already up to in our lives? Blessings on your Wednesday, friends. 


  1. I enjoyed this post. What God has been whispering to my heart!

  2. this is awesomeness in words :) God had to put me flat on my back about 10 years ago for me to "get it" - it's an honor to "watch" you grow - even from a distance. You have such an open heart - an eager mind - and a way with words. God is blessing your outreach to others - I love it. I am proud of you for allowing God to work in your heart like you have been. Can't wait to spend some more time with you IRL sista!

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  3. Life editing is hard, especially when what we think we are being called to do and how that meets with reality are conflicting. Busyness is perceived as the badge of success in our world, but we have to ask, to what end? Too much of "really good things" can also overtake our best intentions. It's a blessing that you can share this journey with others.


There's nothing better than good conversation ... but not while talking to myself. Will you play a part in this discussion?

AND will you pretty please have your email linked to your account or leave it for me so I can respond?

Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.