Friends, I have SUCH a treat for you today. Today I’m talking with the one and only Alli Worthington about her new book Breaking Busy. If you don’t know Alli, GET TO KNOW HER, because she is killing it. Alli is the Executive Director of Propel Women, she co-founded BlissDom, the single largest international women’s small business conference in the world, and the first time I ever saw her was on Good Morning America (true story!).
Alli kicks butt at pretty much everything she does, but she is also fun and funny and super down to earth. In the time that I have known her she has been SO generous and kind, qualities that are no doubt a secret to her success.
And now, she’s bringing her wisdom to the masses! In her first book, she takes on a topic we all struggle with–busyness–while sharing her own story and lessons along the way. I hope you will check this book out for yourself, but in the mean time, here is my interview with Alli to whet your appetite!
Sharon: When you first told me about Breaking Busy, you described a moment when you realized, “This is a book about God! It’s got to be a book about God!” Can you tell me a little bit about that journey?
Alli: When I first was researching busyness I bought all of the books on time management, scheduling and balance that I could find. I discovered that busyness wasn’t primarily an issue with time management. If it was, we wouldn’t all still be busy. The answers to how to manage our time aren’t new. Managing our time is still important, and I have a whole chapter with the best methods, but it wasn’t the heart of the issue.
To my surprise I discovered busyness is related to our own sense of worth. We sometimes live out of a place where we don’t feel like we are enough or that we need to prove something. And because of that we get stuck in cycles of saying yes to everyone and everything out of guilt or obligation.
Our culture continually tells us that we have to be more, do more, and achieve more to be enough. God never says you need to be more for me to love you. He only says that you are already enough. Internalizing that truth and learning to live from a place of actually believing it was life changing.
I am a mother of two small boys, so I’m always busy doing the basic stuff of keeping my kids alive, fed, and relatively clean. I barely have any time for myself. Throughout your book, you mention the exceptional pressure of this life stage, so I’m wondering—what does “breaking busy” look like for moms with small children, who have so little margin to begin with?
My advice to mothers with young children is to temporarily edit out everything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Unless it keeps the family healthy, is for your spiritual health, or your happiness- feel free to let it go. The world won’t end if you start to graciously say no and take better care of the things that really matter to you.
I’m just so glad Pinterest wasn’t around when I was a mom of tiny kids. I would have completely felt like a slug for mom. Back in those days I gave myself a lot of grace because Social Media wasn’t around. I wasn’t tempted to compare myself or berate myself for what I ‘should’ be doing. (I’m no fan of the word should, but that is a rant for another day.) Pinterest and mommy blogs full of professional quality photo-shoots would have driven me crazy back then.
I’m sure I spent years of my life when my boys were younger only showering once a week. The last thing I needed was the self-imposed pressure to build a cake that looked like Olaf from Frozen.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that caring for young kids is only for a season. It will end, but until it does, it’s key to give yourself lots of grace and fill your free time with things that fill you up.
In one of your chapters you talk about a MAJOR step of faith—walking away from a job that you loved and that you were good at. You left your position, simply because God called you to. How does being “crazy busy” affect our ability to hear from God, and follow His call?
Many of us live our lives at such a fast pace, just sending up occasional “Help me, Jesus” prayers, and not spending enough time to really listen to His voice.
My hope is that Breaking Busy functions like a big permission slip to help women clear out the unnecessary crazy in life and create enough breathing space to be able to connect more with Him. We don’t do that well when we’re living loud, fast, and tired all the time.
So often we think busyness is simply about how we manage our schedules. However, you point out another important cause of “crazy busy”: shame. You write, “The life of shame serves one purpose: to distract us and keep us busy trying to prove to the world that we are perfect.” That is such a powerful truth! What are some signs of shame-based busyness?
For me, shame-based busyness looked like constant striving. Nothing was ever enough. I used to say yes reflexively to almost all new obligations that popped up. I said yes to every conference or gathering because of FOMO (fear of missing out). I worked way too many hours. And I spent so much time on Social Media trying to make myself look important. All of these things were coming out of a deep sense that I wasn’t enough. I was believing lies.
Every day the enemy lies to people, trying to distract us from the life we are created to live. But continually Jesus reminds us that He offers life- a rich, full, wonderful life- free from needless striving for our own sense of perfection, a life resting in the assurance that we are already enough because of the work done on the cross.
Ahhhh so much wisdom! Thank you, Alli, for sharing your thoughts! And now for the really fun part–I’m giving away ONE FREE COPY of Breaking Busy! To enter to win, post a comment about how you would like to “break busy” in your own life, and I will draw a name early next week!