Coping with life in the fast lane

We live in a fast-paced, hectic stressful world. Do you ever feel like you're rushing through life' Our society helps us to hurry with fast food, expressways, Jiffy Lube, Express Mail, drive-through lanes and express checkout.

You are probably familiar with the type A personality characterized particularly by a sense of time urgency and impatience. This is demonstrated by people who, among others things get frustrated while waiting in line, interrupt others often, walk or talk at a rapid pace, and are always painfully aware of the time and how little of it they have to spare.

Perhaps, you didn't know where the term type A personality got its start. It was coined by a cardiologist named Myer Friedman who noticed that all of the chairs in his office needed re-upholstering. When the upholster arrived, he quickly called Dr. Friedman to show him something peculiar about the chairs. He pointed out that the chairs were only worn out on the edge of the seat. Everything else looked fine. Friedman concluded that his patients were generally inpatient and frustrated that they had to wait to be seen and consequently sat on the edge of their seats eager to be seen and get out as quickly as possible. Friedman saw a direct correlation between their heart disease and hypertension and then type A behavior. He commented, "We suffer in our society from hurry sickness, a disease that kills us both physically and spiritually."

This hurried lifestyle results in an exhausted society. According to a recent survey over 70 million Americans suffer from insomnia more than two nights a week. In the same survey they asked Americans what they would do if they were given one extra hour each day to use (25 hours vs 24 hours) what would they do with it. The #1 answer was SLEEP, not climb mountains, do great deeds, or live life to the fullest.

Many of us have a difficult time disengaging from work. It becomes our preoccupation as well as our occupation. Our minds are racing day and night concerning how to handle work-related issues and problems. We even bring our work home with us.

I recall a story I heard about a father who always dragged his briefcase full of "homework" back to the house every night. Right after dinner he would immediately gravitate to the study to focus on his work for hours. His six-year-old son, observing this night after night became frustrated with the lack of quality time his dad was spending with him.

One day he asked, "How come you always bring work home with you, Dad'" His dad responded, "Because I couldn't get it all done at the office." The boy contemplated his father's answer for a minute and then asked, "well Dad, couldn't they just put you in a slower group or something."

I bet a lot of us wouldn't mind being put into a slower group on occasion. And God is interested in our lifestyle as well. He states in Psalms 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." God also created the Sabbath for us to take a day off each week, and recover from our hectic schedule.

Allow me to make a distinction to help clarify this. There is nothing wrong with having a good work ethic and being busy. A good work ethic is emphasized in the Scripture as a positive trait. However, being a workaholic to the detriment of family, friends and other priorities is unhealthy. Likewise being continuously in a hurried state and rushing through life are hazardous to our health.

God's own Son was constantly busy which is our external condition of the body. He traveled extensively teaching and healing. But he was never hurried which is a condition of the soul. You can't listen to people in a hurry. You can't effectively love others in a hurry. When your life has become so frantic and preoccupied, it constrains you from receiving love from the Father and giving love to others.

So, today I encourage you to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. Things will never settle down if you wait to get around to what really matters. You will never do what God made you to do. You will never become what God made you to become. Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual resiliency, and only you can eliminate it -- not your spouse, not your friends, not your boss. Start today! Your spiritual health will benefit. Have a fantastic day.

Command Chaplain (COL) Doug Kinder

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16