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Are You Overwhelmed By Busyness?

When I was relaxing, I took this picture.

I hadn't returned the call of one of my dearest friends in a week. I was busy. Busy wrestling with life decisions, business challenges and trying desperately to 'hold it together.' Outwardly all appeared calm, but inwardly there were questions and scenarios being run through in my head, all to the cacophony of two kinds of cicadas.

I wasn't effective in solving any of that stuff, but trying to do it all that week was, ironically, immobilizing. In doing too much, I was accomplishing nothing at all, including talking to those whose laughter causes my heart rate to go down, and my common sense to go up.

Are you attempting to cram too much into each day? On my calendar one day was a visit to a friend in facility, a fundraiser, planning for meetings, and I was going to try to squeeze in a podcast recording. Why? Because pride tells me I should be doing MORE; relaxing and savoring the beauty of life is a luxury I can't afford. Why not? Because if I slow down I might: (a) miss a business opportunity, (b) fall behind in my desire to look better than anyone else (at my age, in my position, with my education -- you choose), (c) have to surrender my ideas about controlling what I can't control, or (d) all the above.

You answer for yourself, and I will answer for myself. But as you consider how much you are doing this summer, consider the following statements:

"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

"Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom." (Psalm 90:12)

Some of you may feel a sense of urgency to complete things you have put off far too long. Older workers may feel that time is short, so you must hurry up and do today what you didn't do in the past. Ironically, our attempts to make up time for things we wished we had done, create the same stress for the future. While we're making up for the past, we are neglecting the present, which in the future becomes the past. The cycle continues.

Here's another irony: I miss the enforced slowing down we experienced during the pandemic. I saw families riding their bikes together, and people slowing down to take walks. I suspect many have lost the lessons we learned during that time and become unbalanced again. Could our need to be so busy speak to an unsettled place in our souls?

What season of life are you experiencing now? Think about it: is this your time to continue the hamster wheel designed for "20-years-ago-you," or might you find greater fulfillment in helping someone else navigate the perils of that wheel in their time? What is driving your activity: fulfillment, fear or something else? What would happen if you slowed down or stopped to listen, both internally and to the external sounds around you? Would you sense peace or pressure? If you don't sense peace anywhere, I suggest committing to quieting all the noise around you until you find it.

Here's my last thought: when you realize one day that you haven't done what matters most, how will you make up that time? This is not meant to be condemning but awakening. Slow down until you know what really matters in this season of your life.

That’s the post.

Michele Aikens is currently trying to slow down, so don't ask about her title.


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