The Freedom to be Disinterested

Yesterday I read a compelling blog post by Andre Torrez in which he writes that he no longer tells people he’s busy. Instead he gets to the heart of the matter.

So the final piece I have been working on is never telling people I am busy. Because no, I am not busy. Yes, I have a lot of stuff to do, but I leave it at the office after work and on the weekends. I have many things I am interested in, but I can always make room for something if it is worth doing.

Rather than say: “I am too busy, I don’t have any time for X.” I realize I can be honest and say I am not interested enough in X to do it.

I see this as a huge paradigm shift. Instead of blaming my unavailability on my schedule, making it the villain and me its helpless victim, I could take ownership of the decision by making a value statement. Of course this approach could end up making me the villain, right? I imagine that’s why it seems so radical. Who wants to voluntarily put themselves in that position?

Well, I do. I want to learn how to give myself permission to express disinterest without fear, doing so as graciously as possible. The observation Torrez makes is true: I can always make room for something if it’s worth doing. My metric for evaluating worthiness isn’t perfect. Quite the contrary, and that’s really what tends to get me into trouble. Last week I wrote that I’m challenging myself to say no without hesitation. This is a felt need of mine precisely because I’ve had a difficult time assessing the worthiness of my participation in so many endeavors.

I’ve had a history of getting myself into deals where my involvement far outweighed my interest. Usually the culprit is my desire to please people. It’s the primary way my measure of what’s worthy of my time has gotten out of whack. Maybe you can relate. All too often I subconsciously determine that I’m only as valuable as people say I am. I lose track of the truth that my identity and value is found in Christ alone. If I could live out of that reality, if that were my consistent starting point when I made decisions, maybe I could honestly communicate my interest in an opportunity, or lack thereof, free from fear and full of grace.

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