There are no easy answers to the problem that stress poses to our lives, just difficult decisions. Many of us are experiencing what I like to call “Overload syndrome.” There is a space called “margin” that exists between our load and and our limits. Margin is the space between vitality and exhaustion. It’s our breathing room, our reserve, our leeway. Unfortunately, few people have much room for their margin in their overcommitted crisis-mode lives. We work hard, play yard and crash hard.
You probably already know if the overload syndrome is plaguing your life and your family, but just in case, answer these questions,:
- Have you stopped enjoying your life because your too busy?
- Have you stopped developing new friendships!
- Are you exhausted most of the time?
- Do you and your partner have a regular date night?
- Does you family have an enjoyable dinner together on a regular basis?
- Do you get enough hours of sleep?
- Do you take a restful day off?
- Do you have regular proactive family time?
- Do you have credit problems or a large debt load?
- Are your children showing signs of stress?
If you struggle with many of these questions, then you are among the majority of individuals who are living in crisis mode. Being blunt: you are flirting with disaster. The disaster is either yours, your partners, or your children’s. Crisis-mode living can paralyzed you.
Crisis-mode living is when you spend every waking moment of almost every day trying to figure out how to keep running fast and faster, if you stop you fear you will crash. But if you don’t stop soon, your physical, emotional, and spiritual health of you and your family. Healthy individuals and families have figured out how to live with balance and margin.
Crisis-mode living is dangerous to your health. Here’s what happens when we live in crisis-mode for too long. We begin to skim relationally . If you are married, your bond with your spouse that was once strong and intimate becomes weak and distant. Virtually all our relationships are damaged by hurry. We starve because of over-commitment and fatigue. Sometimes our children are wounded because they are run over by our high speed intentions. We skim rarationally friendships slip away. We quit spending time with people who support us the most, we miss family outings. We find our relationships fading. Friendships that were deep and meaningful are now shallow. Casual relationships hardly exist. Pretty soon no one has access to our souls.
Crisis-mode even causes us to skin spiritually. What was once a burning desire to serve God has become regulated to a few prayers and a dull faith the kind of faith we said that we would never have.
In Romans 9:32 Paul is talking about you and me. “They were so absorbed in God projects that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling.”
Crisis-mode living also causes us to skim emotionally. When we are too busy, we tend to ignore the emotional side of our lives. You may find your anger flares up more than it used to, and you don’t take time to figure out why. Our patience with others around us wears thin. When we are in crisis-mode, we quit paying attention to feelings like hurt, sadness, or guilt. We become mechanical soldiers marching through our days just maintaining, doing what’s necessary, and stuffing our feelings deeper and deeper into ourselves. We are emotionally depleted, but we keep on pushing. The results aren’t pretty.
“If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy”
Most individuals are so busy doing good things that they miss doing what’s important. We seldom take the time to deal with our life issues and problems, instead we just keep on pushing, hoping that things will get better or that the subtle negative signs were seeing will disappear.
Overcoming overload syndrome takes work and that work starts with making some difficult decisions. What kind of decisions? Here are a few to get you thinking:
1. Deciding what will be your top priority. Family, business or career? If you done have a family them yourself.
2. Deciding on which commitments and activities to cut back in efforts to regain the margin in your life.
3. Deciding whether or not to pursue solitude and time with God to refresh our souls.
4. Deciding on which commitments and activities to cut back in your children’s lives or others to protect them from overload.
Removing stress from your life and building margins begins with choices. The sacrifices are real, but the payoff relationally, emotionally, and spiritually are well worth it.