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Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem Paperback – September 23, 2013
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''Everything Kevin DeYoung writes is biblical, timely, and helpful for both life and ministry. You can't afford to miss what he says here in Crazy Busy. He rightly reminds us to beware of the barrenness of a busy life, since activity and productivity are not the same thing.''
--Rick Warren #1 New York Times best-selling author, The Purpose Driven Life; Pastor, Saddleback Church --Review --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
“Everything Kevin DeYoung writes is biblical, timely, and helpful for both life and ministry. You can’t afford to miss what he says here in Crazy Busy. He rightly reminds us to beware of the barrenness of a busy life, since activity and productivity are not the same thing.”
—Rick Warren, number one New York Times best-selling author, The Purpose Driven Life; Pastor, Saddleback Church
“I’m a fan of Kevin DeYoung’s writing, partly because I know what to expect. He’s always clear, biblical, and to the point—with a good dose of humor peppered in. Crazy Busy is no exception. It’s a quick and engaging read that busy people can find time for. DeYoung helped me think about the heart issues behind my busyness, and even gave me some practical ways to fight it. As a pretty busy guy, I encourage other busy folks to squeeze this little book into their schedule.”
—Trip Lee, hip-hop artist; author, The Good Life; pastor, Cornerstone Church, Atlanta
“DeYoung is a smart guy, and he offers a refreshing (and refreshingly short) take on the plague of modern American life: the too-long to-do list and the overscheduled calendar that produce the frazzled response ‘busy’ to the innocent question ‘How are you?’ DeYoung doesn’t offer time management but rather theology. God wants you to use your talents, but God is not nearly as big on the idolatry of self-importance that often motivates overcommitment. Some of this could well have been said in a sermon, which would have been even shorter. But DeYoung is clever (‘If Jesus were alive today, he’d get more emails than any of us.’), his analysis is well-organized, and he brings theological thinking without moralizing. If you are someone who checks your email before going to bed and as soon as you wake up, DeYoung has your number, and this is your book.” (September 30, 2013)
“DeYoung shows how trusting in God’s providence helps us work hard without going crazy.”
"Informal and friendly, [Crazy Busy] prompts readers to take a long, unsparing look at the things they say and do." (September, 2013)
“A great book for the stressed-out. DeYoung shows that Jesus was busy and Christians should be busy discipling nations, parenting children, and bearing burdens. He rightly differentiates that from ‘crazy busy,’ a frenzied trying to please some and control others—and he shows how biblical rhythms and trust in God’s providence can keep us sane. Also a great book for parents who live in a Kindergarchy, over-programming their children: DeYoung says let them play, because it’s not easy either to ruin them or to assure their success.”
—Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief, World Magazine
“Habitual, sinful busyness is something that many struggle with and yet, it’s rare to hear teaching on this important topic. With refreshing transparency and his trademark humor, Kevin DeYoung identifies the problem and gives helpful practical instruction on how to find our rest in Christ. DeYoung has served the church well (once again). I highly recommend this book.”
—Shai Linne, hip-hop artist
“I’m glad to take time out of my busy life to endorse Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung. As Kevin makes abundantly clear, our busyness can be evidence of our faithfulness or, on the other hand, evidence of our pride, ambition, and unbridled activity. As always, Kevin DeYoung is a careful thinker, a gifted pastor, and a writer who keeps the reader on the edge of our seat.”
—R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Kevin DeYoung goes after our busyness with all the best of Reformed theology: we don’t need to manage our busyness better, we have a busy heart, seeking approval from others. The problem isn’t too much to do, but a heart out of tune with God’s calling, forgetting its limitations, seduced by the siren calls of ‘the perfect family’ or ‘the successful career.’ In a world where speed and accomplishment is everything, DeYoung calls us to return to the rhythms of a Sabbath rest.”
—Paul E. Miller, executive director, seeJesus; author, A Praying Life and A Loving Life
“Busy, hectic lives are the bane of the modern world. This book is not profound; rather it simply offers a lot of that most unfashionable commodity—common sense. DeYoung exposes the nature of busyness, the various ways in which it deludes us, and offers some basic advice on what to do about it. A fine, short book which deserves a wide readership.”
—Carl R. Trueman, William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life, Princeton University
“If you are like me and think you are too busy to read this book, trust me, you are too busy not to. As a mom of two little ones at home, I find my days are long, busy, and exhausting. However, after reading Crazy Busy, perspectives, priorities, and order were put back in place. This has been one of the most helpful books I have read to date. Whether you are a mom of two or a CEO of 200, this book will point you to the one and only thing your soul truly needs . . . Christ.”
—Ali Deckard, stay-at-home mom
“If you’re like me, you’ll see yourself in the mirror of DeYoung’s experience and will be prompted to make changes based on the biblical diagnosis we find in these pages. Trust me. You’re too busy not to read this book.”
—Trevin Wax, Managing Editor, The Gospel Project; author, Gospel-Centered Teaching, Counterfeit Gospels, and Holy Subversion
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The book seems to be successful in these things by and large. The practical implications are left to the reader to now determine and implement.
He begins by discussing three dangers to avoid: "that busyness can ruin our joy," "that busyness can rob our hearts," and "that busyness can cover up the rot in our souls." These three dangers are meant to show us just how seriously we need to take the busyness most of us struggle with.
The next seven chapters all deal with seven diagnoses regarding our busyness:
"1) You Are Beset with Many Manifestations of Pride
2) You Are Trying to Do What God Does Not Expect You to Do
3) You Can't Serve Others Without Setting Priorities
4) You Need to Stop Freaking Out about Your Kids
5) You Are Letting the Screen Strangle Your Soul
6) You'd Better Rest Yourself before You Wreck Yourself
7) You Suffer More Because You Don't Expect to Suffer at All"
Each of these chapters tackles an area of potential busyness that we must confront to strive to maintain some semblance of order in our lives. We think the world will stop without our doing something, we are afraid to say no to things, we fail to prioritize, we put to much pressure on ourselves as parents, we let electronics (especially social media) overwhelm us, we fail to take rest as seriously as we take work, and we have a false idea of how our lives should be (we fail to realize we are supposed to be serving others in our lives). DeYoung gives both practical and theological advice on these seven areas, helping us live the way God would have us to. It was especially encouraging for me to think about the fact that Christ, being not only human but having the role He did on earth, struggled with busyness and lived a perfect life of balance in that area.
DeYoung finishes with a focus on the one thing we must do: sit at Jesus' feet and learn from Him in the word and prayer. Out of all the concerns we have about how busyness impacts our life, we must safeguard our time with Jesus at all costs. No matter how many other things we get in order in our life, if we are missing out on this one, we are missing out on the mot important thing of all.
"Crazy Busy" is a short read, and it is one I am sure I will revisit many times in my life, as I, at least, need the constant reminder to slow down, live strategically, and keep my focus on Christ, where it ultimately belongs.
I appreciated how early in the book DeYoung tells the reader that he’s not writing this book because he’s mastered the subject but rather he’s writing this for his own edification and that he’s “trying to figure things out.” His humility and description of his problem is one that would make readers connect with the author.
In the second chapter of the book DeYoung goes over three dangers to avoid when it comes to busyness. DeYoung reminds us that while there are books that talk about the physical risk of being overly busy, we must not forget the spiritual threat that busyness can be to our own faith. We must not allow the busyness of work and life rob our hearts and joy while also examining to see if our busyness is a way of covering up the rots in our soul.
The bulk of the book goes over the seven diagnoses DeYoung identifies with the problem of busyness. They are all very good but two stands out among them for me personally. It was very edifying to read his discussion about how busyness can be a manifestation of pride. Here DeYoung gives us what he calls the “Killer P’s” that are the many faces of pride such as the fact that we can be busy because we want to please people, get pats on our backs or desire for perfectionism, etc. DeYoung poses to the reader a good question to test if our busy work is for God or for our pride: “Am I trying to do good or to make myself look good?” I also appreciate DeYoung’s discussion about technology that strangles our soul. It is wonderful to see DeYoung address this issue in a world of social media and smart phones. He’s not doing this to show he’s hip and up to date since he talks about how fleeting technology is, given how fast things change but he’s addressing this pastorally. I appreciated how in this chapter DeYoung not only talk about the obvious risk of addiction but also the threat of acedia which he describe as something like sloth but has the aspect of indifference and spiritual forgetfulness. It is the condition where we are busy but not with something important but being busy with being busy, where are content to do things that are purposeless and shallow in the passing of time.
I appreciated how the book ends not with a call to not be busy—but rather DeYoung is realistic in that we cannot forsake all things in order to not be busy. He does have a chapter titled “Embracing the Burdens of Busyness” and his final chapter was very appropriate in that he tells us that in the middle of all our task, there is one thing we must do even if it’s not man-centered pragmatic: we must make the time to be closer to Jesus. Excellent!
I highly recommend this book. There is a reason why it is the 2014 Christian Book of the Year.
More importantly, though, is the content. Some books give you an action plan to success in a topic. Those have their positives, but this is not one of those books. The author speaks to the heart and mindset behind the business, and each chapter he points us to the Christ, the One who has finished all work and gives us rest.
I don't consider myself a busy and stressed person, but I still greatly benefited from reflecting on my habits and lifestyle and what they say about my heart. I would recommend this to anyone.
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Helped me realize that Christ is my good portion.