Are you scrambling to keep up with all the demands of the day? Do you think being successful, being a “good Christian”, or being an awesome mom means being eternally busy? With humor, passion, and self-reflection, Alli Worthington challenges these pervasive beliefs in Breaking Busy. She leads women through all the hectic, shallow, distractions of the day. So that you can focus on what really matters.
About the Author
Alli Worthington is a blogger, founder of the former international blogging conference BlissDom, and mother of five sons. In X years Alli Worthington went from financial ruin and foreclosure, to founding an incredible business helping moms online. Though she retired from BlissDom (read the book to see why), she is still helping women succeed as the executive director of Propel Women.
Structure of the book
In 10 chapters, Worthington tells her personal story of transformation and her hard-won advice for finding the good life. Each chapter interweaves her personal story, anecdotes, and scriptural reflections. All of Worthington’s advice is not only practical, but strongly rooted in biblical wisdom. You will find it hard to read, if you don’t consider the Bible a source of timely guidance for the modern woman.
She also provides a free, super sweet, digital toolkit to complement the book on her website. This includes discussion guides for sharing the book in a small study, or to further contemplate and put into action on your own.
This book is so comprehensive. It delves into a multitude of reasons for busyness, and truly will have something for everyone. Instead of taking it chronologically, I’m studying three themes from the book. These were all personally relevant to me. Sometimes I even felt Alli Worthington must have been a fly on the wall at my house! She really knows women.
Relationships: People > Things
In the spirit of radical honesty, Worthington tells her personal story of failure. She and her husband, devastated by unexpected job loss, dealt with foreclosure. Shortly after the birth of their fifth son, they lost their home and sold or gave away most of their possessions.
I was so impressed by the grace and perspective she shows when reflecting on this trial. My base inclination would be to wallow in shame, embarrassment, and material insecurity. Instead, Worthington has learned to appreciate all the more the immaterial bounties in life.
Get to the heart of the issue. Where does your white-picket-fence dream come from? These ideas don’t descend on us out of the ether. Are you recreating the idylls of your youth? Perhaps you’re making up for deficiencies in material comforts or relational connections. Discovering the source of your material hungers is the first step in eliminating it.
Sometimes God asks us to give up something good, in order to receive something great. Great by his eternal standards and perspective. Not the tiny piece of the plan we see on Earth. Not measuring success by our flawed, worldly standards. God’s gift is for our soul.
Boundaries Are Healthy
Living over your capacity isn’t required to be a “good Christian”. Being afraid to say no isn’t a cardinal virtue. It’s a recipe for disaster.
God has given us all limited resources. We are called to stewardship, not overwork. You wouldn’t over-cultivate a field until the soil is barren and fallow. In the same manner, be a good steward of your internal reserves by limiting the work people farm out to you.
Alli Worthington’s most edifying use of scripture is on this very important topic. Jesus wasn’t afraid to disappoint people. He didn’t work 24 hours a day to heal everyone, minister to everyone, fix everything. Jesus respected the limits of the physical nature, which He chose to share with us. Why do we feel the need to work harder than Jesus?
This is pretty much the root of all busyness. We decorate like crazy, because we think having the most Martha Stewart home will make us matter. We bake organic, non-GMO, locally-sourced kale cake to prove our good mom status to Facebook. We accept every, single, last birthday party invite, because that’s how to win friends who tell you you’re worth something, right?
Your worth doesn’t come from anything you do. Your worth comes from who you are: an image-bearer of God. Anything that distracts you from God can only serve someone else: the Enemy.
Why this book?
First of all, Alli Worthington is genuinely funny. Not in a vague, apologetic mom-joke way either. Worthington is funny in a don’t-read-this-book-in-public way. I was snorting out loud in the first chapter.
Worthington also writes with a voice of experience. Few people have flown so high and been brought so low. Even fewer praise the Lord for it. She’s down-to-earth about her successes, honest about her shortcomings, and encouragingly real. She hasn’t swept the sticky bits under the rug. Worthington learned how to step away from unnecessary crazy, and encourages others to study her cheat sheet in Breaking Busy.