This morning, as I was driving my kids to school, I realized I am not very good at sitting still. As I was driving, I was thinking of all sorts of things in my head. “What will I feed Cole for breakfast, what will I eat for breakfast, how many people will make it to prayer group this morning, where will we have group this morning, when will I work out today, I can work out at home, what’s the weather going to be like today?” …This is where I went to reach for my phone and check the weather. Then the light turned green, and I was annoyed that I would have to wait for another red light to find out whether or not I could workout outside today. I realized, at that moment, how “busy” I am all of the time. By busy, I am referring to my mind needing constant stimulation. I cannot sit and just be still or keep my mind still. Maybe even worse than that is the instant gratification I expect. I was annoyed this morning that I should have to wait another 5 minutes to check the weather. I mean, how in the heck did we ever make it until the 10 o’clock news to know the weather report?!?! That would be pure torture! My phone has helped make me impatient. I have screens full of apps that help to fulfill my constant need for action. I can search for information, order anything from groceries to school party supplies, and even check on anyone I’ve ever met just to see what they are eating for lunch if I can’t think of anything better to search for or buy. It is madness! Yet, it is the norm today. Now what happens when I do not have this little gem of an invention? I get anxious during down time. I get restless. I wander and search for something, anything, to feed my overstimulated brain. The trouble is, for me, the only thing I feed is my mouth to numb my brain. Food is my go-to. Others have TV, cleaning, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, or other habits. I believe we are doing too much, too often, and it will destroy us. I don’t think we understand the chain of events we are setting in motion. There will be consequences for all this busyness as with any unwanted action we take. It rolls over to our family life as a short temper with your children and spouse. We get road rage, because someone wants to be let in during a traffic jam, and we think we cannot wait for even ONE more car to go ahead of us. Where’s the fire; what is the rush? We aren’t taking care of ourselves; we are running ourselves ragged. We need down time with prayer, music, or the beautiful sounds of nature. Stillness to reboot, refresh, and energize or bodies, mind, and most importantly our spirits.
I get that our phones, computers, and TVs are useful. I’m just saying we are over using them, and are too dependent on them to make us happy (as fast as possible). I have ideas how to recover from our addiction to stimulation and immediate gratification. I challenge you to pick a few, or all, and give them a fair chance to change your life. 1 week won’t be enough; I need you to commit for a month, minimum. Watch your life calm down. Watch your productivity skyrocket, because you will no longer be constantly exhausted, but energized! Notice your children relax in your presence and enjoy being with you more. I am sure that some of these ideas I am about to suggest will instantly make some of you feel uncomfortable at the mere thought of trying them. To that, I say, those will be the ones you will need to start with.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
- Time with God spent worshiping and praying. This is the most important part of my day and the most refreshing and rewarding. At first, it was easy to get wrapped up in my day and push aside this time if I didn’t do it first thing. I carved out a time every day, so I wouldn’t forget. Now I can’t wait to go to bed, so I can get up and spend that time with Him. I suggest starting with 5 minutes and doubling it every week. Get a prayer journal, read from the Bible, or listen to worship music. Anything that connects you to Him.
- Go for a walk. Somewhere quiet and calming. The point is to slow down. Do not turn it into a workout. You can do that another time. Make this a time for relaxation and reflection.
- Get in the slow lane on Friday afternoon on your way home from a long week. If you are sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, do not pull out your phone to entertain you while you wait.
- Pick the longest line at the grocery store and wait. No phone!
- Sit outside on the porch and just listen to the sounds around you. Again, no electronics!
- Practice breathing exercises. Slow breathing is more beneficial than you think. Oxygen is the wonderful medicine for tension, anger, digestion, muscle tightness, and so much more. Bonus: it’s free!
- Remove social media from your mobile devices. I know that social media is now a huge part of many of your businesses. I am not suggesting that you delete, and remove them from your lives completely. I am suggesting that you distance yourself from them. You do not need them at your fingertips 24/7. Take a break. See what is going on around you. How about actually visiting a friend for lunch instead of swapping pictures and comments about what you are having? We are so disconnected from real life because we are constantly lost in the virtual one.
Each of these exercises will help you slow down and recover from your dependence on constant movement. Like I mentioned earlier, give one or all of these a fair shot to make a difference in your life.