The Barrenness of a Busy Life

“Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.”

person-woman-hand-smartphone-mediumWith this short, often quoted phrase, Corrie Ten Boom places her finger on the pulse of a continual challenge that seems to have a life of its own. Many of us have been subtly trained by the culture to think of a busy life as a fulfilling life.  More is better, faster is sooner…you catch my drift.  There are times when these cliche’s are true, but like a merry-go-round spinning pel-mel on the playground, busyness accelerates quickly.

Bear with me for a quick definition of the word “barren” that will add dimension to my mental travels on this quote:


1. not producing or incapable of producing offspring; sterile: a barren woman

2. unproductive; unfruitful: barren land

3. without capacity to interest or attract: a barren period in American architecture

4. mentally unproductive; dull; stupid

5. not producing results; fruitless: a barren effort

Everything about this word is counter-productive to living a meaningful life.


How do we recognize the warning signs that our frantic activity has a taxing cost?


  • When our busyness leaves us no time to rest, reflect, and rejuvenate….our vibrancy and energy become empty spaces in our being.  We trudge and plod, just trying to make it through to the next item on the To-Do list.
  • When our busyness keeps us running and doing to the extent that we have no time to pray or to mediate on God’s truth, we will quickly find ourselves spiritually barren and unprepared for the challenges that invade in our high-paced days.
  • When our busyness tempts us to neglect our physical exercise or healthy eating, we can become physically or nutritionally barren.
  • When our busyness causes us to sacrifice what is important for that which is urgent…again…and again…we are bombarded with the guilt and frustration that arrives with unfulfilled roles.
  • When our busyness consumes our time and we have no time to spend with family or friends, we bear the loneliness of relational barrenness.

Have you noticed that barrenness in any of these areas can cause other loads to become heavier?

Our vision becomes near-sighted–we can only see as far as…

the next task

the next event

the next due date

the next day

the next hour…

Misplaced priorities, over-scheduling, and an under-valued power to say no have a way of sneaking up on us.  Before we know it, we are caught in the clutches of busy life in a busy world, trying to build or maintain relationships with busy people.  At the end of the day, this is no way to live.


Let me ask you this, if we are too busy to invest in quality time and focused attention on the things that matter in life, the things that keep us healthy and invigorated, what are we doing?

 If we are too busy to pray, too busy to take care of ourselves, too busy for family and friends, too busy to grow and renew, too busy to learn, too busy to accomplish…what ARE we doing?


But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and  all these things will be added to you.  Matthew 6:33

Make time to enjoy the things fill your life with the richness of joy.



  1. And again Ginger, my sweet southern friend~you hit the nail of my life’s current issues squarely on the head with the hammer of God’s Truth! Thanks for your timely insight…for your vulnerability in going to the “hard places” in our lives, and for the gentle and firm “re-orienting” of God’s Word. Here are 2 quotes that I put in my journal recently with regard to this specific issue of frantic busy-ness…”You don’t have to change your location to find the refreshment you are longing for-only your orientation.”~Nancy Guthrie. And my favorite one from Ann Voscamp, “Contemplative simplicity isn’t a matter of circumstances, it’s a matter of focus.” Thanks for lifting our focus once again from all the things we think will bring us joy, to the true Joy Giver! Now I am going to endeavor to Seek my Jesus and allow Him to drive this new day, filling it with what’s important rather than what seems urgent! 🙂

    • Thank you for your insightful encouragement. Thanks for sharing two great quotes! I am going to be chewing on the idea of my orientation for a while.

  2. I love this post Ginger, it is so easy to get caught up in the “good” that it soon turns into the busy and urgent but not the important. Relationships get pushed aside in order “to get it all done” Thanks for the reminder today, I needed it.

  3. I live in the busy world, so it is important to be remineded. Thank you. You are great and offer great insight.

  4. Great words, Ginger. God has been taking me on a path to “prune not balance” and it’s been good. Hard, unexpected, but amazingly refreshing for my walk with him, our family life, my health and ministry. I’ve shared this blog on the region’s FB page.

    I love your thoughts – keep them coming.

    • Thanks for sharing this. Please do so anytime you like:) I love being in touch with the Asia girls!! Hope to see you next week.

  5. Ginger, this post really resonates with what God is doing in my life right now. Thanks for the insights! Blessings, Edie

  6. Ginger- I heard you speak at the PWOCI conference. This is my first chance to take a look at your blog and I am amazed at what I am reading. It’s as if you are speaking right to me. I am that busy mom that finds little time to do anything for herself. I am active duty air force and my husband works out of state…a lot. We are the parents to the most sweetest, gentle and polite Autistic 4 year old boy you will ever meet. Our daughter is 14 months and I swear she is going on 14 years. She has attitude BAD!!! but I would not trade either of my kids for the world. Between work, daycare pickup and rushing my son to and from therapy appointments I am just drained when we finally get home in the evening. Then it’s start laundry, make dinner, feed bathe and put kids to bed before I even get a chance to sit and relax. Hoping to get in bed before 11pm only to waken up at 4:30am and start the same process all over again. I trying to get into the Word daily but find it hard at times. Sometimes the only free time/quiet time I have is while I am sitting at a therapy session waiting on my son. This is usually the time I take to read passages on my iphone Bible. Thank you for sharing your Godly wisdom’s with us and I look forward to reading more of your blog.

    • Sweet friend, God has you in a BUSY season of life for sure! I love how you are making techonology work for you by reading scripture on you phone when you have a down moment. I know that God will honor your efforts! I can’t help but think of the poor widow who gave out of her need and was commended for it as a greater gift than those who gave out of their plenty. I am honored that you would make the time to check out this blog–it is my sincere hope that you will be encouraged and blessed each time you do. I am praying for you and your family:)

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