Living an Overworked, Overwhelmed, Busy Life?
Are you tired of an overworked life, a busy schedule, and overextending your time? If so, you’re not alone. Some days just seem like they’re too exhausting, with too much to do, too much information, and too much pressure. We live in a time where the tools of productivity are improving daily and that causes us to produce more. And if this isn’t enough being busy is a status symbol. It makes being tired considered the proper way to live. But being tired isn’t the way we were designed. So, maybe it’s time to figure out how to change our lives so being too busy and tired is not a way of life.
Maybe we need to recognize that being tired might be the result of being busy and it’s a matter of reprioritizing the way we live. Or perhaps being tired is the result of numbing our pain with the drug of work. Henri Nouwen said that “our culture has become most sophisticated in the avoidance of pain, not only our physical pain but our emotional and mental pain as well. We not only bury our dead as if they were still alive, but we also bury our pains as if they were not there. We have become so used to this state of anesthesia, that we panic when there is nothing or nobody left to distract us. When we have no project to finish, no friend to visit, no book to read, no television to watch, no record to play, and when we are left all alone by ourselves…”
Too Tired to Rest
I must admit that I like being busy and find it difficult to slow down. It is a rare occasion that I do nothing. And if I am honest, I don’t like to “do nothing.” For when “nothing” is on the agenda I find myself looking for something, scheming a project, or dreaming up a list to do. What about you? Do you find it difficult to take a break, and find a quiet place to rest? Is this why we seem to be tired most days?
Faith Popcorn, a futurist and author claims that compared to the rest of the world, the US suffers from a condition called “vacation starvation.” The average employee of a large business gets about 2 weeks of vacation a year. The average employee of a small business gets only about 8 days off a year. Yet, in Europe and Australia, the average employee gets 4 – 6 weeks of paid vacation a year. Can you imagine what you would do with that time? Or do you immediately begin dreaming and scheming up projects to do if you had that time available? Sometimes we even make our “vacation” time stressful. As we try to see and do all we can in the short amount of time we have. It is just tough sometimes to rest and relax. And it seems that Jesus and His disciples can fully understand how that can feel.
A More Effective Way
As difficult as it might be to rest and renew, we need to, so we can be effective. Christ knew this which is why He often went off by Himself so He wouldn’t be too tired to do God’s work. Not only did He prioritize periods of rest for Himself, but He also insisted that His disciples do so as well. When we get on the hamster wheel of work, work, work, even doing God’s work, we develop a mentality of grinding for grace. But this is not how the Kingdom works and it is not the example that Christ set for us. Being tired because we are busy is not the way of life that God intends for us.
“Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat. Mark 6:31 (NLT)
Why are We so Busy and Tired?
Most of the time being busy and tired just isn’t essential to life. Certainly, there’re things to do and people demanding of our time. But believing that we are always busy and tired because there is just too much to do is false and unhelpful says, business psychologist, Tony Crabbe. Crabbe points out that there are 5 reasons that we’re busy and if we examine them closely we realize that they’re not helpful to us mentally, physically, or emotionally.
1. Easier – Being busy is an easier option to choose than having to make a tough decision of prioritizing. We allow others to decide what we’re going to do rather than making the choice ourselves. We fear being lazy and so we run “helter-skelter” in the opposite direction making tremendous time getting nowhere.
2. Avoidance – We often choose lots of busy things to do so we don’t have to do the hard thinking things. We often choose the easy but busy work over the hard which contributes to our tiredness.
3. An addiction – Too often we attempt to multi-task while doing other things. This creates a sense of even more busyness and false security fooling ourselves into thinking we’re doing more. This often results in us scheduling more and more as we just can’t seem to get enough.
4. About time – The more we do, the more overwhelmed we feel which contributes to our tiredness and busy lives. So, we try to take control of our busy schedules by managing our time making us feel more in control. This time management focus creates us being more efficient which causes us to add to the schedule creating a never-ending cycle of busyness leading to being more and more tired.
5. A success strategy – We live in a world that has consistently strived for more. Because of this, we do this in our work too, falsely believing that being busier will deliver us more success. But we don’t need to be more productive, we need to do less in a better way.
The Cure to Tiredness is Rest and Renewal
No matter what our excuses of busyness and the result of being tired are it is clear that getting the rest and renewal we need isn’t always easy, but it is necessary. Christ sets an example of how we need to schedule rest or prioritize it into our list of “to-dos” as much as we schedule in all our other “stuff.” It is important to recognize that resting and renewing isn’t being lazy but a needed part of life that makes us more effective. And if we will remember, even God rested one day a week.
Won’t you challenge yourself to not being so tired as a result of being way too busy? Find your convictions for necessary rest and renewal by the example that Christ set for us. Allow your motivation to be in the fact that being busy doesn’t make us more effective and instead holds an opposite effect. Lastly, surround yourself in knowing that scheduling in rest and renewal, no matter what kind of “work” you do, is not a recipe of laziness but one commanded for life as it was intended. It is time to stop being tired from grinding away and start living a life of healing grace that God freely gives.
Love in Christ,
Humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing. We worry too much. We don’t allow our bodies to heal, and we don’t allow our minds and hearts to heal.Thich Nhat Hanh
What are Your Thoughts?
Are you tired from grinding away at life? Do you live a life that lacks in priorities because of false beliefs? Share your thoughts on the example Christ gives us for rest and renewal and how this priority can or has changed your life.
Credits Crabbe, T. (2016, May 11). Five Reasons Why Everyone is so Busy. Retrieved from Personnel Today: https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/five-reasons-everyone-busy-tony-c