In North America we live in a fast paced world and so we tend to exalt “BUSY.” We are fascinated by the ability of some who manage to juggle many balls in the air all at once—labelled tasks, expectations, responsibilities, obligations. We applaud the “busy bees” in our lives as they flit to and fro trying to check off an often impossible to-do list. Many of us get stuck on that “hamster wheel” where we miss so much quality time. We are proud to be “busy, busy, busy” (notice the need to say it 3 times in response to the question “how are you?”). We rush through fast food, pencil in time with friends. Sound familiar at all? Inevitably we drop the ball(s) and have to make changes because this kind of behaviour isn’t sustainable. It’s not healthy mentally, emotionally, spiritually or physically. Coping suffers. It’s exhausting!!!
I know this from experience. Almost ten years ago I led a group at my church called “The Worn Out Woman” based on a book by Dr. Steve Stephens and Alice Gray—recognizing even then the dangers of overwhelming busyness. We called ourselves the WOWs. By then I guess I was tightly wired to “busy” and didn’t plug in the recommendations we studied and discussed. Four years ago I moved to a much slower paced Zambia taking my busy ways along with me. I absolutely love my work with a passion and commitment like never before. So what did I do? I overextended, didn’t take restful breaks, dropped the little time I set aside for pleasurable activities that were not work related, didn’t pay attention to proper nutrition, turned to work if I couldn’t sleep, forced myself to be strong always . . . And what happened? I got really worn down but didn’t change until. . . .
I fell and broke my ankle, had surgery on it, and was forced to be still. That’s when I chose to take a really good look at my lifestyle. I was amazed at how neglectful I had become about self care and became determined to make the simple but necessary changes required that would be transferable to life in my beloved Zambia.
The cast is off and with the help of physiotherapy my injured ankle, bone fully healed now, is getting stronger every day. I’m looking forward to graduating from a walker and moving about unaided, moving forward, lessons learned, to a more balanced way of living.
Keeping in mind Matthew 6:34:
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.