We are a stressed-out nation. Very often, we wear our stressed-out, over busy, crazy lifestyles like a badge of honor, all the while knowing that we are losing something very important in the chronic insanity of our culture…our sanity and soul.
There are many reasons that stress is so prevalent, but according to the American Psychological Association, the following are the key issues at hand:
* Money, work and the economy continue to be the most
frequently cited causes of stress for Americans, as they
have every year for the past 5 years. In addition, a growing
number of Americans are citing personal health and their
family’s health as a source of stress.
* Significant sources of stress include money (75 percent),
work (70 percent), the economy (67 percent), relationships
(58 percent), family responsibilities (57 percent), family
health problems (53 percent), personal health concerns
(53 percent), job stability (49 percent), housing costs
(49 percent) and personal safety (32 percent).
* The percentage of adults reporting that family health
problems are causing them stress (53 percent) increased
in 2011 compared to the last 2 years (47 percent for both
2009 and 2010).
An unhealthy pace of life has become an addiction in our country, and is something we desperately need to address if we are to regain our soul, and most importantly, listen to the voice of God. When our lives and minds are drenched in over-stimulation, over-communication, and excessive busyness, the voice of God becomes a distant memory, and we begin to justify why God is no longer speaking. No matter the theological gymnastics and/or other reasons we create to comfort our unease concerning the seeming silence of God, the truth is that He is still speaking, all around us, all the time, but our minds are too full to discern His still small voice in the storm of noise.
I love how Toki Miyashina re-wrote the 23rd Psalm and reminds us that the Lord needs to be our pace-setter:
The Lord is my Pace Setter, I shall not rush,
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals,
He provides me with images of stillness,
Which restore my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency,
through calmness of mind; and his guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for his presence is here.
His timelessness, his all-importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity,
by anointing my head with his oils of tranquility,
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruit of my hours,
For I shall walk in the pace of my Lord,
and dwell in his house for ever.
It’s okay to live with balance…
It’s okay to have moments in your week that are not crammed with rushing around…
It’s okay to still, slow, and even stop in order to breathe more deeply and practice divine awareness…
It’s okay to say “no” to the requests that don’t align with your purpose in life, for if you don’t, you will miss your purpose in life…
It’s okay to be healthy and unable to “one-up” your friends who are trying to impress you with their busy schedules…
It’s okay to have joy in your soul, hope in your heart and serenity in your mind because you choose to allow God to determine your pace, and not the culture or the people around you.
May you have a life that responds to God’s grace with energy, His voice with delight, and His love with service.