When is the last time you talked to someone who shared with you about how balanced and calm they felt?
I feel like every conversation I have these days is about how “busy” people are and how much is on their plates. We are caught in the rat race of life and can’t seem to get ourselves off or figure out how to slow the wheel down.
Isn’t it interesting that WE are the ones who put the load on our OWN plates in the first place?
And then we complain about it, get completely overwhelmed by it and act as if we are some sort of victim to this “busy, stressful, full” load that we are carrying.
What are we all trying to achieve by making our lives so full?
Is it success? What amount of success is enough?
Is it financial, or parental, or vocational significance? What amount of whatever type of “success” you are looking to achieve is ever enough? When will you know that you have arrived?
The problem with striving to build our own kingdoms of success is that eventually the kingdoms we build become cages of our own making.
And there’s a point when it ALWAYS breaks down.
Our bodies were not meant to continuously live in a state of stress and overload. Either our physical bodies will break down or we will break psychologically.
When we had our first baby- one with extreme colic- and at the same time were beginning to get very serious about leaving both our jobs and moving to another city to plant our church, I developed a tumor in my parotid gland that ended up being diagnosed as cancerous.
A year later, As we went into planting the church and now with a newborn and a 17 -month old, Phil was diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases that the doctors said are specifically triggered by stressful life events.
Thankfully, my cancer was successfully removed by a delicate surgery and Phil seems to be healed from at least one of the diseases (an incredible story for later), but the point is this: I do not think those huge physical issues happened in that season of life by accident.
The stress we were both carrying and the unhealthy amount of pressure we were putting on ourselves took a huge toll on our bodies. And we aren’t the only ones I know who’ve experienced this sort of outcome from stress. I’ve had countless friends and families who have developed high-blood pressure, autoimmune diseases and whose health has taken a huge hit because of the pace of life and their self-induced stress.
If it isn’t your physical health that’s affected by stress and a plate too full, then we all know it will take a toll on our psychological and emotional wellness. When we are tired and run down and feeling so much pressure, we tend to engage in compromising behavior. This is when we can have anxiety attacks , or have emotional breaks.
If by some amazing miracle your health and emotional well-being aren’t affected by the self-induced stress, there is slim to none chance that your relationships are not negatively affected by it. When we overload our lives with work, tasks, and activity, it doesn’t leave much margin for meaningful relationships.
Pushing yourself past your limits will cause a break at some point.
Is it worth it? Is it worth your health and overall well-being to build the kingdom that you are trying to build? When will it ever be enough? When will you arrive at the place you are working so hard to get to?
SO what do we do?
We say no to the lie that we are not okay as we are. We say no to buying into this idea that when we get there, whatever there is for us, that we will then have happiness and all that we’ve been looking for.
We say no to building our own empires for our own success and begin to live our lives for the building up of others as well. We say no to arrogance and pride and dig into the beautiful person God has created us to be, with all of our flaws and inadequacies.
We say no to pushing and pushing our bodies and emotions past their limits and we embrace rest and rhythm. We say no to running ourselves ragged and we pick back up the things that give us life and fill our souls. We say no to delayed gratification of the things that matter most- soul care, loved ones and taking time for gratitude.
We say no to the pressures that society puts on us– whether its’ signing our kids up for too many activities, buying things we don’t need in order to “keep up”, or over extending our budgets to maintain a perceived success or image.
We say no to what defines success in the first place. We are already enough, enough, enough. And that, my friends, is enough.