Overworked and Overwhelmed

 Recent studies have shown that, on average, Americans feel more stress now than they did just twenty years ago. We have overscheduled and overworked ourselves to the point that many are simply overwhelmed. It’s no coincidence that the rate of clinically diagnosed depression and anxiety disorders has also skyrocketed in the last few years.

The world has evidently convinced us that we really can “have it all” regarding things, jobs, relationships, and even time. We buy on credit, market our resumes online, and talk on cell phones while we drive in order to “maximize” our time and resources. As a result, we find ourselves frantically rushing from one life activity to the next, never stopping to consider whether this kind of hurried, frenetic life is a good thing.

Are you ready to hear the word of God on this matter? His word is not blaring from an airport P.A. system, nor is it screaming out from billboards along the highway. His voice is found lying on a bookshelf in the quiet, forgotten corners of our homes. And you’ll never believe what He’s been saying:

“Slow down, my hurried servants.”

To a culture that believes in working overtime, God says, “slow down.” To a people who live and die by the clock, God says, “slow down.” To a frantic nation desperately in search of happiness and meaning, God says, “slow down.” To frazzled parents and anxious children alike, God is saying to us, “slow down.”

I’m not making this up. His will has been right there in Scripture all along, but we’ve been moving too fast to notice: “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). “Wait on the Lord” (Ps. 27:14). “So teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). God wants us to slow down our lives so that He can be a part of them. Jesus said the cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches can choke God out of the lives of even the most devoted disciples (Mk. 4:19). Hurriedness is often a sign that Jesus’ warning is coming true in our lives.

Make no mistake: it’s costly to slow down. We’ll be giving up some things the world holds dear — finances, flexibility, and even productivity. But did you ever hear the story of the man who tried to do everything? He failed.

It’s time God’s people started talking seriously about priorities. God cannot be crammed into a crowded life as an afterthought. That’s essentially the same as offering Him a lame sacrifice (cf. Malachi 1:8). He is worth our very best (Rev. 4:11), and He demands the first place in our lives (Matt. 6:33). We cannot worship and serve Him as we ought until we change our attitude toward the world (Jas. 4:4; Rom. 12:1-2). We desperately need to slow down.

Slow down! A hurried life is often evidence of a life too much in love with this world (1 Jn. 2:15-17). God commands us work hard and do our best (Eccl. 9:10; 1 Cor. 15:58), but He never asked us to try to do everything! How arrogant we are to buy into the lie that we can, “have it all.” If every spiritual blessing is found in Christ (Eph. 1:3), then why do we spend so much time in pursuit of more? Are we not satisfied in Him?

If God could schedule how you spend every second of your time each day for the next month, what would change? May more of us turn to Him as we resolve to be still in His presence (cf. Ps. 46:10; Hab. 2:20)! JB