Book Review - 10/21/13

Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem, Kevin DeYoung, 2013, Crossway, Wheaton, Ill., ISBN 9781433533389, 128 pages, $11.99, softcover      

Crazy Busy delivers on its subtitle-it is a mercifully short book on a really big problem, barely over 100 pages. Pastor and author Kevin DeYoung has written enough books, posted enough blog blurbs, and given enough sermons to know that to talk about the ubiquitous problem of busyness in 500 pages would be unhelpful to many readers. This is specifically why he focused on writing a "how come" book rather than a "how to" book. You probably won't come away from reading with an action plan, but rather with some convictions about pruning family schedules and checking your motivations for activities and commitments. For those who may want these ideas fleshed out in more detail, the book's intentional brevity may be its major flaw.

If you've read other of DeYoung's works (Just Do Something, What Is the Mission of the Church?, Hole in Our Holiness, etc.) you'll know that he has an gift for being terribly funny and at the same time terribly serious (he's quite blunt about biblical truths). It's a hard thing to pull off as a writer, but it's become DeYoung's trademark and it's why people appreciate his gracious teaching style.

Crazy Busy deals with a cadre of issues that plague those of us who see the world with "Western lenses"-personal pride, stressing out about our kids, obsessing over our gadgets, lack of rest, not setting priorities, striving after what God does not expect of us. Obviously some chapters hit me harder than others, but each certainly gave me a lot to chew on. For instance, in Chapter 5 he says our "daily goals" too often involve just keeping the plates spinning long enough to survive. The goals are unstated (we would never admit to others we run on mediocre or bare minimum), but our lives can often reflect those "goals" every day when we mismanage our time and priorities.

We don't want this to be us, but DeYoung says our expectations are low because our motivation for being busy is usually wrong-we tend to be much more man-centered (appearing to be important and sought-after) and not Christ-centered (laboring well with a focus on eternal things, which may or may not get noticed by others). His graciousness in calling readers to reflection and repentance shows in how he pinpoints our errors while also giving a healthy dose of "I've-been-there-man" to let you know the struggle to recapture your time for the Lord is worth the fight.

For all the things Crazy Busy diagnoses on how we got here, it's not a guilt-induced exercise on excising things from your life. As an extrovert myself (like DeYoung claims to be), I feel like I am always on the go whether I want to be or not, so it was comforting to for him to remind me that it's okay to be busy, but be busy about the right things! He encourages us to build discipline and rest into our lives (and into our children) so that we can rightly prioritize what God prioritizes within the limits of who He has gifted us to be.

Rachel Lonas

Target: All
Type: Practical Theology/Christian Living
Take: Recommended

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