Slow Down

What is life? Is it a series of events on a long and winding road? Is it a game of chance where things happen for no apparent reason? Or are we just pawns in a game being played by alien overlords? Whatever the case, we all have to go through life together. Here’s the rub, though: some of us go through life way too fast.

Many of us rush through life trying to get to the next step or moment. When doing this, we often miss out on some of the best parts of life. As students, it’s really easy to live and work for a paycheck. After all, classes and work aren’t fun! I’ll often sit in class and think about my schedule for the next day and count the hours before they even happen. This way, I can figure out when I will get out of class and when I can relax again. It seems there is this rollercoaster of going up on the weekdays and down on the weekends.

Even if that’s not the case, it’s that we’re always busy. As a society, we’re going a mile a minute (which is really impressive, when you consider how fast that actually is) and we don’t seem to be slowing down. Even our relaxation time has been encroached upon by things to do. Can you believe that? We consider it relaxing to do things! I’m not talking about reading a book or playing video games. I’m talking actual activity. As Relient K puts it, “Lately, it just seems to me that we’ve got the letters A.D.D. branded into our mentality.”

I get this guilty feeling quite often when I’m doing absolutely nothing at all. I feel like I should be doing something. I feel like relaxing and doing things that really aren’t productive is bad. We have this engrained into our minds: if we’re not busy, we’re not productive and we’re lazy. I can’t even remember where or when I got this idea. I just remember going from Saturday morning video games and cartoons to freaking out if I sleep too late on Saturday, worrying that I’ve wasted the day.

While all of this is not inherently bad, let’s take a look at what all of this busyness actually does to us. In 2011, the American Psychology Association posted the results of a study done on stress in America. The causes of stress are not nearly as important as the symptoms. Some of the biggest symptoms include irritability or anger, fatigue, lack of interest, anxiousness, headaches, depression, and the list goes on and on. Furthermore, in order to cope with stress, people turn to unhealthy habits. Things such as drinking, binge-eating, smoking, and the like have been used to self-treat stress.

Obviously, there’s a problem. The problem isn’t stress, though. Stress is merely a byproduct of a lot of different things. The biggest perpetrator appears to be busyness. While laziness is indeed a sin, I would say that busyness is one as well. It hurts our health, puts a strain on our families, and, most notably, hurts our relationships with God.

On Wednesday nights, I work with the teens in the youth group at my church. The most common excuse I get for not spending time with God is busyness. They all talk about how, thanks to school and dozens of extracurricular activities, they cannot find the time to spend with God. I feel like that’s how it is with a lot of us. Imagine if we treated our significant others the way we treat God. I doubt my girlfriend would be cool with me postponing our plans because I was just too busy.

I once heard a pastor say that if you’re too busy for God, then you’re too busy. And that’s just it: we’re too busy! We like to busy ourselves, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s to escape the reality of life or a bad situation. Regardless, it’s literally killing us as a society and it hurts our individual relationships with both God and man. So… Slow. Down. Take a breath. Take a break. Remember to relax. If need be, schedule time to relax. Schedule time with God and family, too. Spend time resting, however it may be. You’ll be surprised to see how much it actually changes your life.

Written by Alfred

Image credit: clipartbest

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