Billboards, background noise, school, smartphones, our seven favorite TV shows, a social life, infinite extracurricular activities, THE INTERNET. With such full lives, we can often feel over-stimulated and not as good at multi-tasking as we wish we were. None of these things are inherently bad, but added all together they make for a crazy chaotic existence with no breathing room whatsoever. And I don’t know about you, but I rarely hear from God when I am already striving to divide my attention by twenty-five other tasks and distractions. I hear him in the quiet when I turn off the radio, hide my phone and put my life on pause. As much as I like to think I can do everything well at the same time, I can’t. Multi-tasking doesn’t lead to success in all the things, it only leads to mediocrity in a few of the things.
Trust me, I understand what it means to be a teenager in today’s society. We are made to think that if we are not sleep-deprived, stressed out and caffeine-dependent, that there is something wrong with us. That we are lazy and that we are most certainly wasting our potential because we are not willing to work ourselves to death. Can I take the liberty to say that that is a lie from the pit of hell? We were not made to live that way. We were made to work hard with our hands in God’s creation and in the home, and then rest. We were made to sleep way longer than we actually do. We were made to have peace in our hearts because of God’s promises, not stress and anxiety because of man’s expectations.
I was at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and they had this video that grabbed my full attention. The film was animated, with no dialogue, and it portrayed this man dying in a hospital bed. When they showed the insides of his body, he was comprised of objects that represented stress instead of organs. His stomach was a ringing telephone, his heart was a ticking clock and I think there was a typewriter somewhere in there. The point of the video was that his cause of death was not necessarily a specific disease, but stress.
I can definitely relate to this conclusion because I have realized how many of my health problems are exacerbated by stress. I have really been working on learning how to fight a workaholic society’s expectations and find true rest and listen to God’s voice.
If you are thinking that this sounds great, but you don’t know how to slow down, here are some practical tips that have helped me.
Limit TV show series that you are trying to keep up with to 1 or 2 at a time. Make sure they don’t drag you down with stressful drama or unwholesome morals.
Delete social media apps from your phone and block them on the internet browser on your phone using parental settings.
Set up something like the Cold Turkey program on your computer so that it can block distracting websites for a certain period of time.
Practice being alone. Just you and God and maybe a pen and paper.
Use time that you spend in the car anyway as a time for reflection and prayer. Sometimes I turn off the radio and talk to God out loud. It’s so fun!
- Practice focusing on one thing at a time. I used to feel anxious if I was watching a movie and not doing something else at the same time. I’ve had to learn how to be okay with just enjoying what I’m doing and finishing it before I go to the next thing.
This is part 2 in Michaela’s new mini series, Renewing Your Heart. Look for more soon!