Why does it have to be so hard? Why can’t things be simpler, easier, less complex?
Is it just me or are you finding this to be the case? ≡
There was a promise several decades ago that life was going to become easier. The promise was that all the new technologies and time saving devices were going to make life much simpler, less complex, less stressful. Our hard work and effort was going to diminish and there was going to be so much more “free time.”
It seems pretty far fetched these days.
As a matter of fact, life appears to be more complex.
The decisions we have to make seem harder. The overload of information and attention grabbing headlines, the continual bombardment of “stuff” have made things fuller not simpler. Time saving devices have turned into time consuming ones and there is the constant feeling we can’t keep ahead of it all.
This is not an “anti-technology” rant. I embrace many of the new technologies and use them daily. The have made some tasks much easier and have reduced the storage of paper immensely.
Yesterday was National Relaxation Day. That’s right a day set aside to focus on doing little, on taking a break. It began in 1985 when a 9 year old boy in Michigan saw that working all the time was not good, so he determined we need to set aside a day to relax, a day to be lazy.
In the midst of trying to make life simpler the complexity and stress of life has seemingly increased. So much so that we need a day to have permission to rest.
I can usually tell when things get beyond the point where I can manage. There are signs I have which tell me that my mind has become too full. Where all of the “stuff” and the continual bombardment of issues to address reaches that overload place. I can usually tell when I am overwhelmed and need simplicity as opposed to complexity.
I can usually tell because of how I respond.
I look for diversions.
I find when those moments come I pursue things which keep me from thinking too much and too hard. I play games – computer or video ones, I do crosswords or Suduko, I cook, I watch movies. I do things I enjoy but don’t have to spend much thinking space doing them.
What I find is I spend more time on diversions the greater the stress I feel. The more overwhelming by the work load, the more I want to retreat to what frees my mind from focusing on what can be taxing. The greater the pressure, the more I crave these mind numbing pursuits.
It has helped keep me manage over the years. I think…
However, I have also noticed after years of being continually bombarded with issues requiring attention and action that rest is hard to come by.
There is a difference between sleep and rest. They are not synonymous.
Some can fall asleep quickly and easily but are not at rest. They dream and their minds are continually filled even though they are asleep. Others have difficulty shutting their minds off and so sleep is hard to come by. However, they can “rest” by doing things which free their minds – like diversions.
Being at “rest” is not only the amount of sleep you get. It helps but is not the only measurement.
Most of us wake up each morning with our “Inbox” full of messages. We start our day feeling behind before we get out of bed. And it doesn’t stop. There is always the “latest” story or message which clamors for our attention. I get tired just thinking about it… or I look for a game.
And yet, rest is something which God has given to us. It is for us. For recharging, refocusing, reenergizing our lives, for finding life. There are two distinct ways I find God gives us rest.
One is He has given us a Sabbath – a day to turn off the pressure. One day a week was given as a day of rest. This day wasn’t given just so we could fill it with other activities to keep our lives full or add to our stress. It was so we could release the stress life brings.
Unfortunately, it seems we have missed how a day a week needs to free our minds and spirits, not increase the demands we feel.
And secondly, He offers to give us relief through trust.
If everything is up to me then I feel the weight of the world. If I don’t have to lift that burden I can feel relief. Jesus offered just that.
Jesus made this statement to people who were searching and struggling to cope with the weight of life. He said,
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28–30 (NLT)
Sadly we tend to think these words are for when we are in over our heads or faced with huge mountains. In those moments we decide we will take Jesus up on His offer for rest. But, the offer is not just for those extreme circumstances. It is for the everyday things which overwhelm and cause stress for us.
In those moments, daily, we can “come to Him” and find rest. We can find it through trust. Letting Him carry life’s challenges with us. Where we are not on our own. He promises us rest.
Have you found rest? Jesus said, “Come to me…