africa · Intentional Living


Yes, I know. You’re probably too busy to read this. I get that.

Moving to Africa meant I gave up a lot of things I was accustomed to in my American life: running water, cow-free commutes to work, paved roads, monolingual communication, not looking like a freak show blending in, temperature control, etc. Some things I struggled with giving up, but one I embraced was the slower pace of life often found in the developing world. I went from being a full-class load college senior with many activities and two jobs to living in rural Africa, where “busy” is not the norm.

Relationships took priority over “being involved”.

Relationships first. Culture exchange-Xibelani dancing!
Relationships first. Culture exchange-Xibelani dancing!

After an intial adjustment period of being bored (filling journals, watching my floor dry after mopping, and going to bed at 8pm out of boredom, etc), I began to love it. Yes, there was still stress, and yes, I was sometimes busy. But I didn’t have a planner because appointments weren’t done. I didn’t plan out my week because I never knew what opportunities might pop up. I grew to appreciate this lifestyle. There were definitely downfalls, and significant amounts of time were wasted waiting because things simply weren’t planned.

But I appreciated the slow pace of life.

Fast forward to being medevac’d and being suddenly trust into the American lifestyle. Where I quickly started working and became busy. And now some days I barely have the chance to breathe.

To this Sunday, where the pastor spoke on busyness. And I felt convicted.

Psalm 39:4

You see, few people are able to move to Africa for a few years and truly experience the slow pace of life there. I’m blessed to have that experience, and yet I so easily allowed the lure of being busy to drag me in again. I’m less equipped to deal with the stress of busyness now, and some days I want to fly right back to Kudunkgwane and slip back into the village life, pit latrine and all!

“Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important”

Tyranny of the Urgent-Charles E. Hummel

 One of the biggest takeaways for me was that saying “no” is okay. Not every “good” activity is something you have to be involved in. I’ve let myself become spread to thin before, and things start to fall through the cracks. I’m no going there again. I learned in Africa that I do need some quiet time, both to spend with God and to spend with myself, destressing and relaxing.

We only have a limited time here on earth. How are you spending it?

Friends, are you letting the busy take over your life? <-Tweet this!


2 thoughts on “Busy?

  1. I wtote about this very subject yesterday! God is at work in both of us here. Thank you for sharing your Africa experience through your writing. I can’t begin to imagine all you’ve learned! Thanks also for your reminder that I don’t have to be involved in every good thing that comes along! Bless you, Jen!

    1. Julie, apparently we are thinking along the same lines! I’m off to check out your post….thanks for coming by! Blessings to you too 🙂

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