Busyness – It’s a word which I’ve become very well-acquainted. Growing up I played multiple sports and was always on the go with those sports and as well as church. Between those two activities and school, my childhood and teenage years flew by. My twenties flew by with being involved with various ministries both in the Church and with Servants of Grace in addition to Bible College and seminary. It seems life is always busy and there is so little margin. Life comes us at a million miles an hour with a thousand opportunities to do anything and everything but “be still and know I am God” (Psalm 46:10). This is why we should be thankful for Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About A (Really) Big Problem by Pastor Kevin DeYoung.
At the outset of this review, I wish to make clear what this book is not so you can be clear about what the book is about. First, Crazy Busy is not the definitive book on busyness. Second, the book is not the mature reflections of one who has thought deeply about this topic and therefore writes as an expert in this field. Crazy Busy is DeYoung’s attempt to think through the busyness in his own life using his experiences to assist the reader in thinking through this topic. Seen through this perspective, this book has much to offer. Along the way we also get to know the author. While the best books and articles are those who are versed in the fires of life, there is a place for writing and speaking about issues even as one thinks through how to apply them. The book has three dangers to avoid (chapter 2), seven diagnoses to consider (chapters 3-9), and one thing you must do (chapter 10).
DeYoung aptly notes, “Busyness does not mean you are faithful or fruitful Christian. It only means you are buys, just like everybody else. And like everyone else, your joy, your heart, and your soul are in danger. We need the Word of God to set us free. We need biblical wisdom to set us straight. What we need is the Great Physician to heal our overscheduled souls” (32). I don’t know about you but I need a word like this. I can get so busy with everything going on in life, the ministry of Servants of Grace, my marriage to my wife, answering emails and just general “life” stuff, that it can overwhelm me to the point I don’t want to do any anything. This is precisely why we need the Word of God to set our minds, our affections, and our lives God-ward so we can rightly orient our lives around the things and mission of God.
Since all of us are so busy, what we need is to think about what we are busy about in order to determine whether it is of God or not. Even there it needs to be noted that if we are so busy for God that we have no margin in our lives for new opportunities or the leading of the Lord, then we seriously need to evaluate our lives in light of the Word. This includes finding godly accountability to determine what needs to go. In fact, biblical accountability has helped me in this area more than anything. I have a team of people who hold me accountable for my time in the Word, prayer, my spiritual growth, and several other important areas of life. While some of these people hold me accountable for all areas, I have some that focus on just one area. In addition, I’ve told my wife at any point she has the right to say, “No” to any and all opportunities that come my way. This has helped to guard my heart and keep me focused on what God has called me to do.
This word by DeYoung is one I pray many heed – “Most families could use a big basket where all phones and tablets and laptops go to rest for certain hours of everyday. Most of us are long overdue for screen Sabbaths—segments of the day (even whole days) where we will not be “on the grid” or in front of an electronic device. And most of us would find new freedom if we didn’t check our phones as the last and first thing we do every day” (87). After stating this, DeYoung goes on to explain how we can bring our Christian theology to bear on this issue by stating, “Because we understand our worth as image bearers and our identity as children of God, we will not look to the Internet to prove that we are important, valuable and loved” (88). DeYoung rightly asserts this happens by “making consistent time for the Word of God and prayer because being with Jesus is the only thing strong enough to pull us away from busyness” (117).
Crazy Busy by Pastor DeYoung is a needed word for many of us who have no margin in our lives and who never take a day off. Reading Crazy Busy is to read a book that is driven by a conviction that what is needed most in our lives is for our attention to be God-ward, guided by the Word and focused on the mission of God. Furthermore, this book will give you practical tips and moreover, that author provides valuable diagnoses designed to help you understand where your time is going to and therefore what your life is devoted to. Books like this are needed in the Church today, books written not from experts but from pilgrims on the journey of grace. Understood from this perspective Crazy Busy is an important book that will cause you to evaluate your life through a biblical lens to see if what you say matters most, truly does matter to you. This is a book for every Christian to read, digest, and apply that they may not only find rest in Christ, but more importantly, encouraged to live a life that harmonizes with biblical rhythms to the glory of God.
Author: Kevin DeYoung
Publisher: Crossway (2013)
I received this for free from Crossway book review program for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.