Ask someone how they are going these days and it’s most likely you’ll get a reply that includes how busy they are. Everyone is busy. The uni-student is busy. The business owner is busy. The stay at home mum is busy. The tradie is busy. The school teacher is busy. Even the teenage online gamer is busy. Everyone is busy. Busy is the new happy; it’s the new normal. We were told in the nineties that scientific and technological advances would lead to a greater quality of life. That we would find more margin in our schedule and life would be made simpler. It appears just the opposite is true. Life is more complex. People are more stressed, less happy, unfuliflled and just flat out exhausted. Something isn’t right and we know it. We feel it.
We Feel frustrated by life – We design things that don’t work, build things that don’t last, teach things that don’t stick, and serve people who aren’t satisfied. What used to be easy now seems difficult. Basic decisions become frustrating decisions. We’re quick to anger, and slow to joy.
We Feel controlled by life – We get stressed and worried; moody and irritable and take it out on people we love. We feel the pressure of timelines and standards. We feel the pressure of paying off the mortgage. We feel the pressure of keeping the house clean. We feel the pressure to get kids lunches ready and homework done. We feel the pressure to be married and own our own home by a certain time. Sleep can be difficult, switching off is rare and impulses are out of control.
We Feel defined by life – We allow our salary, our position, power, possessions and prosperity define who we are. When we get that job, get that salary, get that house, marry that spouse, have those children – then we feel like we’ve made it. We feel we have value and meaning. But when we don’t get that job or salary, or worse, when we lose our job, it can destroy us.
We Feel tired by life – we work and work and work, giving all our time and all of energy trying to BALANCE ALL OF LIFE. We lack motivation, avoid being with people and can’t remember the last time we laughed and enjoyed life. Now we tolerate it, we learn to endure it.
Surely there’s more? Surely there’s a better way to live?
A common solution to the busyness problem is to live a balanced life. I’m sure you’ve heard it or read it somewhere. You need to eat a balanced diet; have a balanced exercise routine, plan a balanced budget, balance our relationships, balance our work/family life and the list goes on. IF YOU WANT TO LIVE A HEALTHY LIFE, A HAPPY LIFE, YOU’VE GOT TO LIVE A BALANCED LIFE!!!
What if the problem isn’t just that we’re too busy? And what if the solution isn’t living a balanced life.
Busyness can be a real problem. I don’t want to dismiss this reality. However the biblical narrative would tell us to look deeper, and see what’s underneath the busyness; to look further and see what’s behind it. Is it possible that the real problem is not just busyness but distractedness and restlessness?
- Distractedness – There are 10080 minutes in each day. An equal resource for every person. Yet due to the fast paced, complex nature of the culture we live in we too often get distracted and do not make the most of our time and energy. Have you ever attended a funeral? Notice its unique ability to remind us what truly matters in this life. Funerals put things into greater persepctive and highlight areas of distractedness.
- Restlessness – We are a culture that doesn’t know how to rest. We don’t know how to be content and satisfied. We don’t know how to switch off. Many nights our heads hit the pillow all to aware that our latest finish line just became the new starting line. Tomorrow is just another day we have to tackle life all over again.
Surely there’s more. Surely there’s a better way to live?
The good news is there is a better way to live. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30
28 Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
God has a great design for your life. A life that is restful, a life that is purposeful and a life that is enjoyable. We’ll look at how we can experience this in the next post.