How addicted are we to busyness? Having raised eight children, I know life can be pretty busy, but are we human beings, or human-doings? In the “olden” days people would send cards and letters to loved ones, writing the joys and sorrows of life to each other.
I grew up with that in the Netherlands, and still like to communicate that way. Nowadays, if they take time for this at all, many are more likely than ever to mention how busy they are.
“But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebr. 13:16).
Friendships are sustenance, just like food. Do we still have time for each other? We can find out that by doing less, we’ll get way more out of life! All this noise and rush and stress are often to cover up some fear at the center of our lives.
Satan is trying to speed us up to keep us from reflecting, from praying and loving God, from daily opening the Father’s gift to us all: LIFE! Jesus tells us “The thief cometh for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).
Seriousness is proudly overrated – Let Him “fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing” (Job 8:21)! Albert Schweitzer once wrote “At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
We’re all depressed at times – whether we have faith in God, or not! Instead of taking “anti”(?)-depressants (which have serious side-effects like severe weight gain, an increase in suicidal thoughts, and even death), or digging deeper into our negative life experiences, thoughts and emotions – we could write a letter of gratitude to another person, or keep a “gratitude-journal.”
It unshackles us from toxic emotions, and even if that takes time, it has a lasting effect on the brain. Even to reflect on how the day could have gone better, or that we could have been more thankful for all our blessings, helps.
Our mind seems eager to remind us of all the things that went wrong in our life, and all the things we don’t have.
But Psalm 100 is a good reminder: “Know ye that the Lord is God: it is HE that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture – be thankful unto Him, and bless His name!” Instead of continually checking our phones, we’d take Paul’s advice who urges the believers to “pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances” (1st Thess. 5:12-28).
Writer Linda Stone has coined the phrase “continual partial attention” to describe the modern impulse to always need to know what’s happening ‘out there’, to make sure we’re not missing anything.
If that sounds like it could produce chronic anxiety, you’re right! Paul writes “Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Marita Hayes is a Del Rio resident and regular columnist.