Book Review: Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung

How are you doing today? Are you busy? Somewhat busy? Crazy busy? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you are not alone…in fact, you are in good company – I answered this way for many years.

Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan has the same problem – he is busy, maybe Crazy Busy, so he wrote a book about it.

He says,

”I do not write this book as one who has reached the summit and now bends over to throw the rope down to everyone else.

More like the guy with a toehold three feet off the ground, looking for my next grip.

I don’t know any other way to write on a topic that has been such a personal struggle except to make this book very personal.”

Can you relate to Kevin? I sure can.

This book is written from a pastor’s perspective, but not just for pastors. It is written for all of us.

The Trap of Busyness

Busyness seems to suck the life out of us without us being aware of the issue. We let our time become overloaded with doing good for others that we neglect our own being. This happened to Kevin. His staff forced him to slow down, take a break and reflect.

Our calendars are stacked with meetings, events, family commitments and there is no margin for anything extra and that includes rest.

Kevin shares, “When our lives are frantic and frenzied, we are more prone to anxiety, resentment, impatience, and irritability.” Is this what we want for our lives? Do we want to hurt the people closest to us, because we don’t know how to slow down? My guess the simple answer is NO.

We must remember that busyness is like a disease, it can take away the things that are most precious to us like our joy, our spiritual fervor and our love.

Fixing Our Busyness

Once we recognize our busyness, we need to put a plan in place to slow down. Kevin shares that you cannot will yourself to change simply by thinking about the change, you have to prioritize the change.

Think about that for a minute. You need to prioritize the change. If you want to lose weight, your schedule might reflect eating meals before 7pm or going to the gym. These are your priorities if you want to lose weight. The same thing must be true for your schedule.

[Tweet “”Jesus says the work of the Word is swallowed up by the desire for other things”. @RevKevDeYoung”]

Kevin didn’t write this book after just one bad year of busyness, he wrote the book after wrestling with the same problem year after year after year. He asks himself this question:

“What’s going on in my soul, so that busyness comes out as my chief challenge every year.”

It starts with acknowledging your busyness, because the busyness may lead to other issues that are hiding below the surface that you need to deal with it.

[Tweet “”The disorder of daily life is a product of disorder in the innermost places of the heart.” @RevKevDeYoung”]

4 Common Issues That Lead to Busyness

Busyness attacks every part of us and some might be more prone to it than others. Do you have any of these issues?

  1. People-Pleaser – you find it hard to say NO because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
  1. Possessions – we work and stay busy to acquire more things. We get exhausted trying to keep up with the Jones’.
  1. Pity – We want people to feel sorry for us for being busy. We do it to ourselves so people give us sympathy.
  1. Poor Planning – We don’t know how to prioritize and schedule the most important things so we take on everything and get exhausted.

[Tweet “”Am I trying to do good or to make myself look?” – @RevKevDeYoung”]

Think about that question for a little bit. Are you ready to make the necessary changes to get out of the busyness trap?

Jesus Was the Model For Us Today

Think about this for one moment:

”[Jesus] spent thirty years in training and only three years in ministry. He did not try to do it all. And yet, he did everything God asked him”

Why do we think we can do more than Jesus?

Jesus had a mission. He had a purpose and He lived each day of His life here on earth to fulfill that mission. He healed people, cast out demons, made the lame walk and the blind see, fed thousands of people and raised someone from the dead.

Kevin points out that Jesus was busy, but He knew what was important and what was urgent. We, on the other hand, think most things are urgent including the non-important things.

To beat busyness, we need to know what is important and urgent and if this is something only we can do. Kevin shares “Jesus knew the difference between urgent and important. He understood that all the good things he could do were not necessarily the things he ought to do.”

[Tweet “”Jesus understood his mission. He was not driven by the needs of others though he often stopped to help hurting people.” @RevKevDeYoung”]

3 Truths to Set You Free

Kevin shares three truths that we must embrace if we want to beat busyness.

  1. Set Priorities: You Cannot Do It All – Take a look at your schedule and ask yourself if this is something you need to be doing or can someone else do it. If someone else can do it then give it to them.
  1. You Must Set Priorities If You Are Going To Be Effective in Helping Others – When you are tired, you are not giving your best to others. People need you. They need what only you can give. Make sure the things you are doing are the only things you should be doing.
  1. Let Others Set Their Own Priorities – When we schedule too many things, we often leave people in a lurch if we have to cancel. When you know your priorities, you know if their request fits with your priorities. If it doesn’t fit, you can kindly decline the request.

[Tweet “”Making goals is not enough. We must establish what tasks and troubles we will not tackle at all.” @RevKevDeYoung”]


It all comes down to priorities. When you know your priorities, you can begin to formulate a response that best fits you. Priority management is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It is an only you solution.

Crazy Busy is full of research and biblical principles for living in a hectic and fast-paced world. We need to slow down long enough to take stock of our own hearts, and ask ourselves the tough questions related to our schedules and priorities.

Busyness can ruin our lives if we don’t deal with it and address it. This was a good book for helping me to reframe my own thoughts about busyness.

Question: What truth do you need to focus on so you can be set free? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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I help facilities manager and planner create spaces that are backed by research, engage employees of all generations, and drive business objectives. I am also the founder of Dave's Book Club – a once per month reading experience designed to help professionals grow their influence.

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