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Getting Off The Treadmill

My life can get pretty over-scheduled. From the moment I wake up until late in the evening, many days it seems that there’s no real end to my personal work treadmill. If I’m lucky, there are at least pauses along the way for me to catch my breath.

This has become the new normal. Many of us live at 110%, constantly connected to work through smartphones and computers. The line between personal life and work has become blurred beyond the point of recognition. Just getting through the day without going totally crazy can seem like a real accomplishment.

As if this weren’t enough, Holy Spirit calls us to serve our neighbors in ways that stretch us and take us outside of our comfort zones. Loving Jesus means demonstrating his love for people – often people who, quite frankly, wouldn’t be my first pick if I were doing the choosing.

Living into this calling is hard enough when I’m fully rested and have a lot of time on my hands, much less at the end of a long day at work when all I want to do is go home, eat some ice cream and watch Netflix. After spending my day at 110%, where can I find the strength and energy to linger at the fence, talking to my next door neighbor? Where do I find the motivation to invite co-workers out to dinner, or to mentor someone in their walk with Christ? What could motivate me to sacrifice my precious me time and instead focus on the needs of others?

In my own life, I’m discovering that if I really want to follow Jesus, I may have to reevaluate my 110% lifestyle. When I am so keyed into the very important things that I am up to, it is hard for me to switch gears and stay open to the unexpected opportunities that the Holy Spirit offers throughout the week. The wind doesn’t blow through a house with closed windows; in the same way, I have a much harder time experiencing and responding to the movement of the Holy Spirit when my life is completely locked down with a full agenda of pre-determined commitments and projects.

How can I leave space in my life for those unscheduled moments of connection and service? What would it look like if I lived my life at, say, 80%? What kind of changes might start to happen my life if I was more intentional about leaving an open space for the Holy Spirit to move and play? This might involve making less money, slowing down my career. It’s not called sacrifice for nothing!

But I wonder, what kind of joy might I experience if I began to step off of the accomplishment treadmill? What relief might I find in leaving space for God to order my days, rather than the demands of all my self-driven projects? How might it feel to re-focus my life around human relationships, caring for others who are struggling just like I am?