Remember this song?
It was the anthem for our rushed, fast-paced, crazy busy world. Now, let me ask this question. Do you know when it was released?
Let’s put that in context.
Twenty two years ago there were no cell phones. Oh, we had them but we didn’t call them cell phones we called them car phones. That’s because they would only fit in your car! And even then we all thought it was a little silly. “Why would anyone ever need to get a hold of me in my car?! I’ll just talk to them when I get where I’m going.” Now we carry them around in our pockets and we’re available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Most of us look at them first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.
We certainly didn’t have any smartphones. We only used our phones to talk to people. Not email them, text them, surf the web, watch videos, check the weather or get the latest scores. If you wanted to access the internet you had to use a dial-up modem. Remember that sound? Wait 30 seconds for the connection and hope no one called in on the land line while you were on the net. There was no hope for streaming video or graphic heavy sites.
Twenty two years ago there was no texting, no social media, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no YouTube, no Pinterest, no LinkeIn, no WordPress, no Blogger, no laptops, no tablets, no iPads, no Kindles, no Netflix, no Hulu, no Google, no Yahoo. Get the picture? Life was slightly different in 1992. Just think how much those things alone have added to your schedule?
In one sense, Alabama was right. We were busy twenty-two years ago. We were rushed and hurried but now we’re rushed and hurried on a whole new scale. We’re not just busy. We’re exhausted. We’re over-committed, over-scheduled and over-accessible. Alabama had no idea (and neither did we). Who knew all that time-saving technology would become so time-consuming? And then there’s this…
Twenty two years ago there were no travel sports. Not like today. Baseball was a sport played in the Spring. If you were lucky enough you made All-Stars and traveled to a district tournament. Other than that you spent the rest of the Summer swimming. Now baseball is a year-round sport. There’s no off-season. Tournaments are every weekend and for every imaginable sport. Our schedules are now packed with practices, games and “but it’s such a good opportunity” events for our kids.
We need to take a break. Take a rest. Slow down. But we can’t. We know that but we can’t. We’re scared we might miss something. We’re scared Junior will get behind. He might lose his starting position or lose some ground to someone else’s Junior with the college recruiters. We’re afraid slowing down might cause others to think less of our parenting. As if productivity and busyness are the marks of good parenting. We’re afraid we’ll lose out somehow. So we keep going with one hand on the phone and another on the steering wheel.
And here’s the kicker. We planned it that way. We’re not busy because we’re working double shifts on the job trying to feed our family. We’re busy because we choose to be busy. It’s our weekends and free time. We fill them up because it somehow makes us feel better and more productive. Then we fuss about it in a way that sounds like a complaint but is really a boast in disguise. “Oh man, you won’t believe our weekend. We’re crazy busy. Listen to this schedule…” We’re not looking for your sympathy. We’re looking for your admiration.
It needs to stop. We need to learn the principle of rest. We need to schedule some time to relax. Actually put it on the calendar and protect it like you protect the soccer match or the dance recital. We wouldn’t dare miss. So schedule some rest that you wouldn’t dare miss. Spend time with your family. Put away the phone and actually talk to each other. Play a game. Go swimming. Or…if you’re feeling really bold…do nothing. Just rest.
“Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway?” Jeremiah 2:25 (MSG)