Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 24—When Good is Bad

Take time to relax and enjoy life.

            Do you feel overwhelmed and overworked?  Do you have problems remembering anything because your brain is so overloaded with information that you are "supposed" to remember?  Do you sometimes pray when you get up in the morning, "Lord, please help me get through this day?  I've got too much to do"?

            Then you are one of the hundreds of people today who are doing too much.  Sometimes we overwork ourselves for selfish reasons—to get material things we do not need.  Other times it is for "good reasons."  Honestly, in an effort to fight apathy, certain people prod others with comments such as, "If you can make a positive difference, then you should do it."  Innumerable ways exist to make a positive difference—to do something good.  Yet, if you concentrate on that mentality, you will drive yourself crazy.  I mean that literally.

            Twice in my life I have nearly suffered a nervous breakdown because I had overloaded myself too much—that combined with a nearly perfectionist attitude.  Once was when I was a teenager; the other time, when I was a young adult.  I still work on finding balance.  Although my life does not seem to reflect it, I have said "no" to some good things this past year in an attempt to keep my sanity.  Realistically, I am in a season of my life that demands I am stretched to the limits, so it is even more important that I take purposeful steps to not add to my responsibilities, even if they are good things to do.

            What does the Bible say?  At the moment, I cannot think of a passage that describes time management, but I can look at an example in the Bible that occurs more than one time.

            Mark 6:31-32—Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'  So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place."

            Jesus had been healing many people with various diseases from blindness to demon possession, and he had been preaching words the crowds hungrily devoured.  Wouldn't it have been "good" for Jesus to have healed more people?  Wouldn't it have been good for him to stand on a high hill, waive his arms, and heal hundreds of people at one time?  Wouldn't it have been better for him to work night and day preaching and healing rather than heading off to quiet places to rest and/or pray? 

            Through our short-sighted human vision, we would say, "Yes," to all of these questions.  However, that is not what Jesus chose to do.  He did not come to do all the "good" things that humans thought he should do.  He did what he was meant to do.  When it comes to our own lives, maybe we should stop using human perceptions of what we should be doing and instead do what we are meant to do.

            Your Turn:  Which describes you better?  The first paragraph or Jesus' example?  If it was the former, then figure out what you can cut.  This will be a frustrating choice because everything you are doing is probably a "good thing."  Yet, it is worth the choice.  Then look at your kids' schedules.  What can you eliminate?  Are you getting family time, too?  Begin teaching your children that they cannot do everything.  They have to make choices—and doing it all is not one of them.  The goal should be to match Jesus' example, not the stressed out lifestyle.

            I have made huge progress in reducing the amount of overload I will put on myself, but compared to how far I need to go, I may have only made a dent in the problem.  This became more apparent a couple of weeks ago after my colonoscopy.  Afterwards I said, "What a great nap!  I feel great." I guess it's back to evaluating my full, and maybe overloaded schedule, and figure which extras have gone from being good to do to bad for interfering with what I am meant to be doing now.

            If you would like more ideas on helping your children (and yourself) develop a Biblical worldview or to find out how to win a Wal-Mart gift card, go to the 31 Days Giveaway (Intro. Part II) post for more Touching Families blog links.  If you want to check out other 31 Days' topics, see The Nester.

*All verses quoted are from the New International Version:  THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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