Tag Archives: rest

There’s a pill for that

Have you noticed the content of drug ads these days? You may not, because you either tune it out or mute the sound. In a typical 30 or 60 second commercial, about 10-15% tells you all the wonderful benefits of the latest wonder drug. The rest focuses on the side effects that could easily convince you that you will die a horrible death if you take this product.

The Opioid crisis is no joke. Pain medications are responsible for a tragic upswing in addictions and deaths due to the abuse of these drugs.

We are an over-medicated society. Overweight? Take a pill. Can’t sleep? Take a pill? Losing your virility? Take a bunch of pills. Want to spice up your love life? First, get two bath tubs, turn them to face the sunset, you lie in one, your partner lies in the other, take a pill and voilà! Sorry, I don’t get the two tubs.

Before we all empty our medicine cabinets into the trash can, we realize that modern medicine has allowed us to deal with serious physical, mental, and emotional issues with the proper use of medication. There are many of us who deal with depression, anxiety, and other challenges that benefit from the right prescriptions.

I don’t think we were created, though, to fill our bodies with chemicals. I think we were designed to function quite well if we eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, and avoid all stress … Where did you stop on the list? I didn’t get past “eat well.”

There is a deeper problem, I think. Pills won’t make my prayer life more significant. Pills won’t induce me to be more compassionate and loving. Pills won’t convince me that my relationship with God can be so much more meaningful. I won’t find my spiritual life in a pill bottle.

Perhaps we just need to accept an invitation. Read the words Jesus spoke two thousand years ago and see if they don’t apply today to the hurting, the lonely, the overstressed, and the needy: “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

Sounds like the right prescription to me.

 

 

Slow is good

In 1989, Carlo Petrini launched a global, grassroots organization “dedicated to preventing the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteracting the rise of fast life and combating people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, and how our food choices affect world around us.” Slow food … they have a chapter in Atlanta and involve people in 160 countries around the world.

Slow is good, right? In a hurried world, it makes sense to do more than just take your time eating well. We were not designed to live at this pace. The price tag for our mile-a-minute lifestyles is staggering. Suffering from information overload, we find it increasingly difficult to process what we need to know when we need to know it. The ravages of stress and pressure take their toll, and that’s just with our kids! 72% of adults say they feel stressed most of the time.

Here’s a test: Complete this statement – “I don’t have time to ……”

Often the answer has to do with sleep, exercise, choosing and eating food, time alone, time with friends or family, time to focus on spiritual matters.

Fatigue is not our friend. The physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual strain wears us out. We are more susceptible to depression. The lack of motivation for needed change leaves us feeling sad and hopeless. Our brain function is impaired. Feelings of guilt, resentment, and agitation grow.

I’m no psychiatrist and I haven’t spent a night at a Holiday Inn, but I do know we don’t have to live on this treadmill all our lives. The psalmist urged us to cease striving, be silent and remember who is God (Psalm 46). Why is that important? Because “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Because Jesus invited us: “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Because Paul wrote to the Philippians: “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

It makes sense. The One who made us knows exactly what we need.

Almost made it

I had it all figured out. If I sat on the stairs and was quiet enough, my parents wouldn’t even know that I was there. I was determined to stay awake until Santa came. Almost made it. I woke up on Christmas morning in my bed. My attempts at stealth had not worked. I fell asleep on the stairs, and then dad picked me up and deposited me in the bed. That was hard since I was 16 at the time.

Kids don’t wait well. Do you remember thinking that Christmas would never get here? As children, we knew something was up. Whispers when they thought we weren’t close enough to hear … mysterious rustling near closets … vague answers to pointed questions.

Some of us were pretty good at snooping. Some could open a package and reseal it, believing that no one could detect the damage to the wrapping. Charles Swindoll told the story of checking out the gifts under the tree. He had given repeated hints that he wanted a basketball for Christmas. Seeing a round package with his name on it assured him that his wishes were about to come true. He didn’t bother to examine the present any closer. To his chagrin, when he opened the package the Christmas morning he discovered a brand new globe. Almost made it.

Our impatience spills over when we consider the condition of our world. Few of us like to wait for anything. We look for the shortest line, move toward believing we get through faster. Almost made it. The person at the register decides to go on break or the person in front of you pulls out a folder full of coupons. We (as in me) are in a hurry too much of the time. It affects us (as in me) when we drive so we lean on the horn or have conversations with people in cars ahead of us who cannot possibly hear us.

If I could give us all a gift this Christmas, it would be one of shalom. It is a wish for well-being, for contentment, for confidence that we can rest in the amazing love of God. After all, Christmas is really all about His gift, not ours.

Slow Down

You gotta slow down! In 1825, a letter of alarm and complaint was sent to the British Parliament. In part it read: “What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches! We trust that Parliament will, in all railways it may sanction, limit the speed to eight or nine miles an hour, which is as great as can be ventured on with safety.”

Yes, 2015 is vastly different than 1825. On some days, we wish we could travel as fast as eight or nine miles an hour in Atlanta traffic. In reality, the speed of life these days is an enemy, not a friend. I see it in my life, the lives of children, youth, and families, in church, in business … it’s hard not to notice the rush.

Dallas Willard spoke truth when he insisted: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Carl Jung wrote: “Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil.” John Ortberg said, “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.”

Okay, now that we know the problem, how do we address it?

  1. Do you remember when we were promised a four-day work week? We cannot hurry and buy more time. We have to work smarter, not harder.
  2. Do you remember when we were promised that technology would increase our efficiency and effectiveness? But at what price? Our technology tends to isolate us, not connect us. We talk to devices and machines. We have to break free from screens!

What’s the rush? I hate being late so I get ‘there’ early. So I sit in my car and try to recalibrate. I listen to music or read a book I carry. Sometimes I just think or take some deep breaths. Often, I can turn my hurry into refreshment.

Perhaps we could have screen-free zones like at the dinner table. How often are we guilty of having a phone or a tablet or a television grab our attention instead of focusing on the people around us?

Instead of driving a familiar route, walk it instead. You will notice things that have escaped your attention, I guarantee.

Schedule a ten-minute nap or rest in your day. Many companies are realizing the value of short breaks for contemplation, rest, and renewal. Instead of staring at your computer or reading one more report, get up and walk around for a few minutes. Pick up your Bible and read a Psalm. Make a short list and bow your head in prayer. Push hurry away, if just for a few moments.

Life is too precious to rush through.