The average American each year spends over $3,000 on soda/coffee/energy drinks. That’s $250 a month spent on all things caffeine-related just to stay awake and somewhat alert during the day. 70 million Americans will pop some sort of pill to help them stay asleep throughout the night this year.
In 1967, a group of doctors stood in front of the United States Senate and they gave a report on the well-being and health of American citizens. In this report, 50 years ago, they shared:
“Labor-saving, time-saving technology will change the way Americans work and live. Within 20 years people will be working 32 weeks a year on average, at a rate of 22 hours per week, so they can retire by the age of 40.”
These doctors went on to predict, “The number one challenge Americans will face with no regard to time is what to do with all their excess time.”
Other than those of us who have won the lottery, has this prediction come true for you?
Business Week Magazine conducted a study to determine the number one response to the question, How are you doing? The top most frequent answers were (Survey says!):
1. I’m tired.
2. I’m busy/I’m stressed.
We live in a time where there is 1 minute rice, 1 minute peelers, 1 minute abs (on my Christmas list). There’s a 1 minute Bible-reading plan. We’ve got instant coffee, instant oatmeal, instant replay, instant downloads. People are speed-reading, speed-dialing, speed-dating. People are even wearing speed-o’s and probably shouldn’t be doing that. Society has created things called “speed bumps” just to try to slow us down.
How many times during the course of our year do we say to someone, Hey, you know what? We need to get together sometime! Let’s get our families together or let’s grab coffee or let’s watch the game together. Let’s get lunch, (and we put this word on the end) sometime. That sometime never comes.
In his book, Making Room for Life, author Randy Frazee says that when it comes to most American schedules, they engage in what he refers to as Chaos Management.
We would love to believe that our lives are ordered and organized, systematized and structured. We want to have a grasp on our days. We want to be put together deep down inside our desires. Yet the reality of it is most of us are constantly reacting to life. With all of the things we fill our hours and our loved one’s hours with, all the promises we make, all of the impulsive irons we put in the fire, all of the plates we’re spinning by agreeing to everything asked of us, we are ruled by the tyranny of urgency. If the CELL PHONE SOUNDS with a call or a text, we feel like we have to answer.
Even on the weekend or at night with the family, on vacation for goodness sake, people get an email and they feel like they have 30 minutes to respond or they’re going to be incarcerated. I can’t find out who created these new burdensome, unwritten rules that govern social etiquette but they are ruling our lives and are diminishing the quality of what a healthy, thriving, content life could look like. We now are working more hours with added responsibilities that we agree to which have us run into the weekend with longer weeks, longer months, longer years only to have the quality of our lives and relationships cut shorter and shorter.
We must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives – Dallas Willard.
There are few things out there that will destroy our spiritual growth and our vitality more than always having the feeling of being rushed.
Honestly, when was the last time you sat still and prayed silently about something uninterrupted?
Do you need to slow down before you burn out and ruin something special? It’s easier said than done or we would have slowed down and attained balanced by now. I want to trade busyness in for balance. I want to let go of feeling rushed and embrace feeling restful.
Maybe the most spiritual thing you can do today is fix a bowl of ice cream and then lay down to catch up on some much needed sleep.
Think about a sleeping pill. I don’t know how much 1 Tylenol PM pill weighs. I just know they’re very light. I’ll admit, sometimes I feel like I need them and I take them. A study done by the Sullivan Institute reported Americans consume 30 TONS of these pills every single night. Just to get some rest. People looking for rest are consuming 70,000 pounds of sleeping pills.
What’s more powerful and peaceful than a sleeping pill is this:
God doesn’t sleep so that we can.
God is inviting you to relax. To sit back. Take a deep breath. Pray. Relax. Reflect. Slow down. Enjoy. Be thankful for this incredible life, this incredible world, the great community He’s purposefully put you in.
Maybe the best thing you can do for yourself this weekend or next is to go find somewhere pretty to sit. Drive through the scenery. Go hang out at a park. Maybe take it further and go a week without TV and reflect on the important relationships in your life and how can you make them better. Pick up this thing with printed words on paper called a book. Start a discipline of only checking email in the morning or only looking at Facebook once a day or turn your phone off for an hour a day (not on silent, completely off, Siri will forgive you). Choose to intentionally love someone in a practical way. Sit in your backyard. Get back to reading your Bible daily. Take a second nap. Take a family member on a date. Reach out to a distant friend. Start thinking again about that dream you had back in the day.
Whatever it is that bothers you, whatever you’re anxious about, whatever you’re trying to control, whatever you’re behind on – Would you just take an intentional step to go into a closet, shut the door, sit on the floor, turn your phone off and restfully pray to God about whatever is on your mind. Something like, God, I give you (whatever it is). He would love to take that burden off you so you can rest.
I want to invite you to take one minute after reading this, one minute to sit in silence with your eyes closed to give God whatever is bothering you, whatever you’re worried about, whatever is too much for you right now.
I’ll start us off, God, we’re going to take one minute, to give You whatever is heavy on our heart right now…….(This is your cue: take a minute to pray about what is heavy on your heart or for wisdom to balance your life further).
I’ll close the prayer, God, thank You for listening to us and working on our behalf so we can rest. Continue to ease our burdens. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Now take a nap after devouring that bowl of ice cream. Thanks for reading. You are loved.