Friday, August 2, 2013

The Sped-Up Life

I’m sitting here at my computer, watching the clock spin around and around. Well, perhaps not quite that fast, but it’s still spinning like there’s no tomorrow. Or at least that everything has to be done today.

But does it?

One area of life that I think many of us are stumbling on in life is just that. We are unable to separate out the items that truly have to be done today from those that can wait. Our world has become so instant that we want everything at the speed of light.

What do I mean?

Remember waiting until all the way after an event to see the pictures? Especially if you only took 12 on a 24-shot roll? I can remember wishing Mom had a 35mm instead of that blasted 110, because then we could have used the 1-hour developing. Of course, once I had a 35mm and found out the price difference, I still didn’t do 1-hour!

Now, my kids move so fast after I have them say “cheese” that sometimes the picture hasn’t taken. Why have they moved? Because they want to see the picture on the viewscreen and voice their opinion on it!

This pace of life is challenging for many of us. And, in all honesty, it’s not sustainable. I’ll use that word, even though it’s such a buzzword these days, because it is an accurate depiction. Sustainable.

As in, can you keep this up?

Can we keep this up?

Human beings are complicated beings. We are physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational creatures. Yet we run at such a breakneck pace that we are constantly neglecting at least one of these aspects of who we are.

  • Physical: do you have to not exercise? Not eat right? Do you have to compact in your exercise rather than having a natural life that keeps you fit? Stop and think about this: how much time do you work to pay for compacted exercise and to contract out your healthy eating? Or, how much time do you work keeping you from fitness, healthy eating, and saving up to pay off the cardiologist?
  • Emotional: let’s cut to the chase here. Many people are so frenetic in life that they need emotional recovery that takes weeks at a time. Why? Sometimes because we’re so busy working for the weekend that we miss life in the meantime. And you could shave a few minutes every day, come home sane at night, and then? Find out that your lower-cost weekends are actually more relaxing than you expected.
  • Spiritual: we want to microwave our relationship with God. That just does not work. We want a full-out, totally immersive once-a-week experience to set us up spiritually, and then just to go on with the week. Really? A lower-pace, less nutty experience that you bring your full self into builds into your heart better. It really does. We want church leadership to spend hours planning the ultimate worship service, but really should spend time every day ourselves preparing for gathering with the body.

And then there is how we want God to zap us into perfection rather than growing into it. That’s a whole additional subject.

  • Relational: let’s all hurry up and do something together. We have to play a game or watch a movie or go somewhere. Or we could do and do and go and go….and then we wonder why we don’t really have a relationship with the people around us. Instead, we have functions alongside each other, but we don’t really know one another.

And through all of this, we wonder why our social structures and societies are breaking down. We marvel that children turn violent, that parents harm instead of heal, and that leaders pillage rather than protect.

Somewhere along the way, we need to find some space in our lives. Not a complete abandonment of life nor a return to the cave.

Just a question: if you ended your sped-up life and took more time to do and be, what would your benefits be? What would your costs be?

What are the costs of not?

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