Living the Overloaded Life
Going Through the Motions
Is it possible to become so busy in our lives that we can’t really live? Can we really become too busy to truly live life and enjoy it to the fullest? Perhaps the problem is that too many of us are simply going through the motions. We have allowed life to take over and we are no longer truly living. We no longer take control of our days, our schedules, or our choices.
Life easily can take over living. Making conscious decisions in regards to setting margin and boundaries in our personal and professional lives, however, takes effort and intentionality. Developing a clear and healthy understanding of our priorities will give us a healthy perspective of life. In doing so, it’s easier to make decisions based on those priorities instead of guilt, peer pressure, or status. Do you have the freedom to take a deep fresh breath and simply breathe? Are you really living life to the fullest?
Take a good look at your day, your week, your year. Have you been simply going through the motions and allowing life’s pressures to consume you? Have you been moving mindlessly from one activity, one project, one meeting, one carpool turn, one task to the next? If you find that you’re more existing than living then it’s time to take back control of your time. Take your life back into your own hands. Life isn’t something that just happens to you; it’s something that you should be able to have an active part in every day. It isn’t about rushing from appointment to appointment or jumping through hoops to try to get ahead or please outsiders. It’s about having time to enjoy life, to connect with God, to love your spouse, to parent your children, to be a friend, and to take an active role in society.
One of the reason’s we’ve allowed our lives to take over our time is that we’ve developed a lifestyle of accumulation. This lifestyle of accumulation has become so attractive that most of us have never learned the secret of contentment. As a society we have become dissatisfied with ourselves and our possessions. We are unhappy and restless. Everyone wants something more and more and more. No one is satisfied with what they have.
We have been conditioned to look out for number one at all costs. We are surrounded by others who will work harder, longer, less ethically to get ahead, and to compete in this never ending game of one-upmanship. We have been taught to strive for success by our parents, by our educators, and by our employers.
This attitude of discontent has created a lifestyle of accumulation and busyness. “If I just had this, then I would be satisfied.” “If I just had this, then others would see how important I am.” The problem isn’t in the getting the “just one more thing”, it is in wanting the next “just one more thing” and the next and the next. Our lack of contentment has caused us to pursue this game of accumulation far beyond our means and common sense. We have become addicted to our own materialism. As Randy Frazee says in his book, Making Room For Life , “The ones who have more actually have more with which to destroy themselves.” (Frazee, 17)
The American dream of owning a house with a two car garage has increased to include a pool, a boat, a vacation home, and all the fun toys and electronics we can imagine. Without contentment, we will never be satisfied and we will forever be slaves to our own desires. Until we learn to be content, we will continue in this downward spiral of greediness and want, busyness and dissatisfaction, and going through the motions. We must learn to be satisfied with who we are and what we have.
Taking control of your life is vital to your well being, your health, and your happiness. But how do you do it? Where do you start? How do you get out from under this burden of busyness, materialism, and stress and set clear, reasonable life boundaries?
Some Steps in the Right Direction
The first step would be to accurately assess the situation. Ask yourself what areas of your life you are struggling in the most. Are you overcommitted at work, at home, or both? Have you over booked your children in activities and that’s causing your to run yourself ragged? Just putting the problem in perspective is the best place to start.
Once you identify the areas that need improvement, look for ways ease the overload. Are there tasks that someone else can do? If so, start delegating. Are there projects that really don’t matter? If so, eliminate them all together. If you’re kids are over committed, then start paring down their activities. Limit them to only one activity or sport at a time. Take some time off from all the extras for a while; enjoy spending time together as a family.
Take a look at your possessions. Are you working so hard to keep them that they are now possessing you? Start purging. Keep the things that you really need or give you pleasure and sell the rest. Give things away; release the burden, and resist the urge to start accumulating again.
Reexamine your priorities. Are you spending the bulk of your time and energy in the things that are the most important to you? If not, why not? Make a list of your priorities and give them precedence in your schedule. Then as new things come up and compete for your time, balance them against that list. If they have nothing to do with your priorities, turn them down.
Remember that life is a gift. Take a deep breath and search for the passion in your heart that you once had. I’m sure it’s still there somewhere. Live your life; live it to the fullest.