Originally posted April 17, 2012, at Halstad Parish. Republished with permission of the author.
I had a great conversation with a friend yesterday. One of the things we talked about was how busy and jammed-packed our lives have been of late. And then of course, we talked about how tired we both felt. It seems like it is not only a common conversation but also a universal experience. Are we are all rushed, tired, harried and harassed?
It seems like it.
When I was young, I remember that summer seemed to stretch on forever; the wait for Christmas was agonizing, and good things never happened quickly enough. Older people commonly talk about how time seems to pass more quickly as we age. And I was willing to accept this as the reason time feels more rushed. And that may indeed be part of what is happening (I can’t deny it, we all do get older!). But that doesn’t explain it all.
Our time really is getting pushed to and beyond our limits.
Commercials now try to sell us new phones and services by telling us how unacceptable it is if our information is 29 or 14 seconds behind. If we are even 27 seconds behind, we will have already missed our chance to participate in a party, give a gift or say goodbye.
The effects of this time compression are aggravated by the fact that the lines between our personal and work lives have become blurred. As our electronic gadgets have become smaller and more portable, people assume we should be instantly available to one another.
Several years ago, there were articles about how we could make better use of our time by multi-tasking while waiting in line or at the doctor’s office. Now it is not uncommon to see people texting while sitting in a meeting or eating dinner with someone else. Young people are exhausted, texting into the night and or sleeping with their phones so they don’t miss anything.
It has gotten hard for us to just do one thing at a time.
This is taking a toll on us, spiritually, physically and emotionally. Tired and rushed people have a harder time being creative and are not as good at problem-solving. Our immune systems don’t work as well, so we tend to pick up all the viruses and bugs going around. We have less patience, less tolerance for change, and we are more irritable. It’s no wonder that stressed people have a lower opinion of their quality of life.
Everything stinks when you are tired! Even when we want to be positive, we have fewer resources to allow us to respond positively.
We need a collective nap.
From the beginning, God modeled a different way. For six days, God worked at creating the universe and all that it contains and on the seventh day, God rested. One of the first commandments given was the command to keep the sabbath day, the seventh day of rest.
And not just those in charge but everyone, including children, servants and work animals.
Rest, time completely away and apart from work, is vitally important to our health. In Deuteronomy, God reminds the people that life without sabbath rest is like their years in slavery. We are a freed people and we honor God by taking holy rest.
Even on our “work” days, we need to slow our lives down and give ourselves and others the gift of grace. Our worth and value do not depend on a life lived in increments of seconds.
Take time to pray, to breathe, to pause, and to be in relationship, not with a gadget, but with each other. Read Deuteronomy 5:12-15.
Find a link to Christine Iverson’s entry on the blog Halstad Parish at Lutheran Blogs.