Omid Safi begins his powerful and important blog post at “On Being” with a stern warning that is a sobering reminder to all adults who interact with children.

In his blog post “The Disease of Being Busy,” Safi cautions adults to remember that,

Horribly destructive habits start early, really early.

We adults model for the children we encounter behaviours that instill habits in their lives that may reap a painful whirlwind in their future.  The behaviour about which Safi is particularly concerned is “the disease of being busy.”

The “disease of being busy” he writes,

is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.

Our busyness Safi warns is causing us to lose

the ability to live a truly human life.

Safi longs or a world in which

kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored… where we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill.

What is the solution to our over-busy lives?

We must be willing to look honestly at where we locate our sense of identity.

The root of over-busyness is the false belief that we are defined by what we do, how we appear, or the impact we make on the world.

We have come to believe the heresy that whoever does the most has the most meaningful life. We believe we need to create ourselves. We have bought the lie that whoever accomplishes the most, owns the most, or has the biggest impact on the world, has the most worthwhile life. We fill our lives with clutter in the futile belief that our accumulations have the power to give us a sense of security, safety and well-being.

We are driven by the need to demonstrate that we are competent, capable and in control. We rush from one frantic activity to another in a futile attempt to keep one step ahead of calamity. We fear that the world might discover that in fact we are not keeping up. We worry that our vulnerability might show.

It is only when we begin to face the lies that drive us perpetually to do more, seek more, achieve more that we will begin to find an adequate answer to the “disease of being busy.”

When we find an abiding sense of identity within ourselves rather than in the external circumstances of our lives, the compulsions that drive us begin to ease. Space starts to open. We discover that there is a deeper rhythm to life that we can connect to and that leads us not to be being weary and overwhelmed, but to a place of steadiness and peace.

Jesus said,

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you…..

… not more frantic busy activity, not a life of oppression and burden.

Jesus promises that those who “come” to him will find

rest. (Matthew 11:28)

It is “rest” for which our hearts long. We may think that our true desire is to make a good impression; but no impression we make will ever be adequate. We will always need to polish the veneer of our lives just a little more.

“Rest” comes only when we give up the whole good/better/best exercise and simply trust in the abundant goodness of that deep well-spring of life that is our true nature.