Reviewed by: Paul Browne
Date posted: 05/18/2014
Crazy Busy, by Kevin DeYoung. Crossway, 2013. Paperback, 124 pages, list price $11.99. Reviewed by OP pastor Paul Browne.
Kevin DeYoung tells us in the first chapter of Crazy Busy that he wrote this book for himself, to figure out what in himself leads him to be overcommitted, hectic, and regularly stretched too thin. But he is right in assuming that most of us are not very different than he is. Accordingly, his many frank admissions and personal revelations in Crazy Busy make the book a warmly engaging vehicle to consider what might also be our besetting sins.
The strength of the book is that DeYoung recognizes the tendency to be too busy as sin—a problem of the heart, not of the calendar. Therefore he offers, not gimmicks for time management, but targeted faith and repentance. "The antidote to busyness of soul is not sloth and indifference. The antidote is rest, rhythm, death to pride, acceptance of our own finitude, and trust in the providence of God" (p. 102).
The bulk of the book is taken up with seven diagnoses as to why we make ourselves "crazy busy." Before that, he offers thoughts as to how, culturally in the West, "complexity" and "opportunity" aggravate the issue as never before. Significantly, he provides one whole section to brace us with the truth that genuinely loving and serving others will sometimes rightly exhaust us.
In the final chapter, DeYoung leads us to, and leaves us at, the feet of Jesus, with a stirring exhortation to devote ourselves daily to him as the one thing that is necessary. There DeYoung considers what he calls the nearest thing that Jesus gave to a sermon on busyness, the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10. He concludes, "It's not wrong to be tired. It's not wrong to feel overwhelmed.… What is wrong—and heartbreakingly foolish and wonderfully avoidable—is to live a life with more craziness than we want because we have less Jesus than we need" (p. 118). If you read this slim volume, which I recommend, do not expect to do it easily in the narrow space of minutes you allotted to it ahead of time; the issues it raises and the helps it offers are just too timely.