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It’s a broken record! You ask someone how they’re doing and their response is “fine, thank you.” Well, not anymore! The new “fine, thank you,” has become “BUSY!” It seems like everyone I talk to is overly committed with too much on their plate. How did we get like this?
Technology: Our lives have been hijacked by the gadgets that are supposed to be our servants. We spend more time in front of our laptops, smart phones, and tablets, and less time living life.
No Boundaries: Learning to say “No” is one of the most important skills you can learn. The problem for many of us is that we’re faced with such “great opportunities that might not come our way again.” At least that’s what we have convinced ourselves of. So more and more stuff, keeps piling on our plates, and as a result we have had to learn new techniques to juggle more tasks.
Lack of Self-Awareness: The biggest problem for many of us is we don’t even realize this is happening, which is why this last issue is probably the most difficult one to deal with. It requires the type of work that most people are terrified of! But trust me, if you lack self-awareness, we are likely to become unlikeable, unmanageable, and unable to connect deeply with God and others. Probably the biggest problem here, is that everyone thinks they’re self-aware.
Being busy and overstretched leave us feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted; so we shut down. It’s no wonder more people are
becoming increasingly withdrawn from each other, relationships (of all sorts) are suffering, health issues and diseases are out of control, and contentment is at an all-time low. Although we have more toys, greater accrued wealth, a longer list of “friendships”, and more spiritual & religious activities than we know what to do with, we may find ourselves still feeling tired! So what do we do? “Maybe I just need to get away.” The Truth is, no matter how many vacations or “mental health days” we may take, the issue runs deeper. You can listen more about this in a sermon entitled WHY WE NEED SABBATH REST.
“Have you lost your mind? I already can’t keep up, and you want me to slow
down?” No, I have not! But the reality is if you don’t slow down, you will likely not only lose your mind but everything you consider truly valuable. Take a deep breath and think about what you value most. Probably right up at the top of your list are things like:
1. Your relationships with God, your family, and your friends
2. The position of influence or vocation you find yourself in
3. Your Health
Slowing down is the key to loving well, leading effectively, and living longer.
So, what does slowing down look like?
“Can we just be friends? It’s not you, it’s me!” Like most of you, I developed a very unhealthy relationship with Siri. Breaking Up with my cell phone was a long time coming, but our unhealthy attachment to our smart phones is killing our sleep, affecting our ability to connect deeply with people, and impacting our productivity.
“Sorry, but I just can’t make it.” With so many wonderful events, meetings, job opportunities, and relationships at our fingertips, it’s hard to say no to everything. But saying no – setting boundaries – is the starting point for learning to define what we really care about most. Establishing healthy boundaries will help you start saying yes once again to things that matter deeply to you.
“I did what?” There is nothing more embarrassing than leaning against a wall with wet paint and then spending the rest of the day walking around
with a white streak down the back-side of your black robe (or whatever color robe you prefer to wear). A combination of two things can really help out here. First, make sure to pause and reflect for about 15 minutes each day. Think about what you did well, what you could have done differently, what you’ll change for tomorrow, and the biggest lesson you learned from the day before. Second, make sure others are comfortable letting you know when you “have paint on your backside.” Sometimes we have blindspots, which is exactly why we need friends and family members who feel safe letting us know when we’re wreaking havoc on the things that matter most to us.
Take steps today to start slowing down so you can love well, lead effectively, and live longer.